No matter how much your little darlings were wanted, wished and hoped for, planning for children is very different from actually being equipped to parent them. Yes, you may have read every pregnancy and baby book going but once they are here, who has the time?
Of course an athlete, musical prodigy or the next Einstein would be fab but when it come down to it all we actually want is to have happy children and provide them with the skills they need to become happy adults.
I’ve done the leg work for you and compiled ten ways to ensure you raise happy, well rounded offspring who will hopefully still like you enough to ensure you get a decent retirement home when the time comes.
1) Let them be themselves…not you
Hopefully this is a given but trying to raise a clone is not a good idea. Give your children the freedom to develop their own personalities, preferences and style without fear of judgement from you.
2) Embrace failures
Children will make mistakes, lots of them. Use these as opportunities to figure out what went wrong together. Learn from it and move on. No good will come from comparing them to someone who did succeed.
3) Help children find ways to express themselves
In the same way you will teach your child to ride a bike or dress themselves, you can also teach them to identify and manage their emotions. This isn’t something that will come naturally to children and will take perseverance and practice. Big emotions such as anger are hard to control as an adult and so even trickier to navigate as a child.
4) Be Fair
Of course life isn’t fair but within the family unit they should feel valued and listened too. Make sure any punishments fit the crime and consequences are carried out consistently.
Something they have earned will be far more valued than a gift that is just given. Teach children the joy of anticipation and excitement as they try to get something they really desire. The skill of delayed gratification is one that will serve them well into adulthood.
6) Be Real
You are not perfect. Make sure you show them your flaws. Children are growing up in a world of insta-perfection and filters. They just want you…not a perfect version of you so don’t be afraid to give them that.
7) Follow Through
Your children believe what you tell them. Don’t make empty threats that you won’t carry through or offer impossible rewards that you can’t deliver on. Show them you can be trusted and they will trust you.
8) Love them their way
Show your child love every day with small actions and gestures. You know your child best. Which acts of love are they most responsive to? Maybe they really appreciate hearing you say loving things or maybe they crave your physical touch such as cuddles. Figure out what works for them and do it every day.
9) Work Hard
Whether though your career or even a hobby you are passionate about, teach your children the importance of hard work. The best things in life don’t come easily but they will learn the satisfaction of achievement.
10) Let them fall
Don’t try to protect them from every disappointment or clear their path of all obstacles. Falling and getting back up will teach resilience and build character.
How are you feeling? Did you find these tips for raising happy children helpful? Are you reassured that you’re doing OK or fearing you may be screwing them up. We are all doing the best be can. You’ve got this.