Agnes is a 33 year old mother to 7 year old Linda. One of the youngest mums in her daughter’s class, she has severally received comments from other older mothers about how ‘liberally’ she brings up Linda. Her own mother also thinks that her granddaughter is enjoying too much freedom and privileges for a child. With good explanation, Linda gets almost anything she asks for-so long as she can explain why she needs it. Other parents think this is ‘spoiling’ the kid while Agnes feels her daughter has the right to have what she wants if she can afford it and if she has a good reason for it.
The truth of the matter is that there is no perfect way to parent and all of us can use parenting tips from time to time. That said, the battle of old school versus new school parenting tips and styles continues to rage and each parent has their two cents on how to raise up their kids. Regardless of which end of the discipline spectrum you are on, there are a few parenting rules we can all agree upon and most of them are not new but they could use a little refreshing.
Here are parenting rules that could use a revamp to help us all do better in raising our kids,
- I’m not your friend
It is true you should not try to be like a peer to your child, but research shows that parents who communicate, respect and show empathy towards their kids are going to receive the same in return. And isn’t that what part of being a good friend is anyway?
- Seen Not Heard
Modern kids are a great part of major decision making in many homes.
A recent UK survey found that nine out of ten parents include their children in major decision making.
- You can’t leave the table until you clean your plate
It is suspected that part of the reason for the past generation’s obesity is that many of you parents were part of the “clean plate club” when we were kids. The ability to stuff yourself beyond the point of satiety is not something you want to teach your kids. Who knows? You might just reverse the obesity epidemic by simply letting your children learn to listen to their internal cues.
- Because I said so
Long gone are the days when parents would make rules with no explanation and they pass because they said so. Attempting this today will make you frustrated because kids seem to want explanation for everything you tell them to do or not do. They want answers. This should be a last resort response. Sure, coming up with an explanation as to why you are not allowing them to go outside takes effort and it might come down to an honest conversation in which you admit you’re just too tired to play outside right now but a genuine dialogue with your child is always the better option. Recent research shows that an authoritarian parenting style could be linked to later substance abuse.
- Don’t speak unless spoken to
This rule is not one we hear much anymore, thank goodness. Kids who are brought up to be submissive and subservient in this manner often struggle with communication skills later in life. In addition, their self-respect and self-confidence can take a hit.
- Spare the rod and spoil the child
As much as study says that spanking impedes mental and emotional development in children development, African parents will always be African parents. Although many are adopting alternative methods of punishment, there is still a larger percentage that swears by spanking their kids.
This leaves a debate between whether to spank or not. However, it is a parent’s individual decision on which approach they should take while instilling discipline in their children.
- Home before dark
These days, it is a sad fact that very few parents feel safe letting kids play outside by themselves during the daytime let alone at dusk! We can no longer just let our kids run freely throughout the neighborhood without supervision. It is sad but true.
- Don’t Cry!
There’s research supporting both sides of this one, which you can easily file under parenting skills 101. The good news is that either way you deal with fussy babies and bedtime, isn’t likely to be harmful to your little one. It’s simply a matter of finding a solution that works best for you and your child.
- Don’t talk back
Of course you want to teach your kids good manners and respect for others but, if you are doing your job right, they should also feel comfortable expressing opinions even (and maybe especially) when they are different from those around them.
- No Television
Between computers, smartphones, tablets and TVs, technology is and will always be a large part of your children’s lives. Limiting tech time is a personal decision for each and every parent to make for their own families but it’s no easy task.
- No dating until college
Experiencing some relationship turmoil before the age of 18 is probably a healthy thing. Just encourage your teenagers to be careful while dating, and guide them into not engaging themselves in activities that they will later regret.