Raising a happy and healthy child is one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs a parent can have. However, too many parents don’t approach the role with the same focus and enthusiasm they would if it was a project in work. For most, we role with our gut reactions taking stock from the same parenting techniques that our own parents used, regardless of whether they were effective or not. Well, good parenting works as it promotes intellectual curiosity, motivation, and encourages a desire to achieve. It also helps protect your children from developing anxiety, depression, eating disorders, antisocial behaviour, and alcohol or drug abuse.
To this end the World Health Organisation want to recognise the vital role played by both mothers and fathers in caring for and teaching their children. Regardless of location, gender, ethnic background or standing, parents need to share a set of common values. Values that they need to pass on to their children. The Global Day of Parents is at the beginning of June and is a time to promote principles of good parenting worldwide. In Ireland we have recognised this through a foundation called LIFT that develops a solid foundation, so that the next generation will grow up understanding core leadership values like; honesty, integrity, respect, listening, accountability and positive attitude. As parents, we must remember that we are our children’s most influential role models. Our children constantly mimic almost everything that we do and say. Here are some important behaviours, that we, as parents need to focus on:
Parents should always fully explain all decisions they make in relation to their child. Explaining your decisions indicates respect, and it also helps the child to understand the reasons behind decisions. Listening and hearing the child and answering all their questions truthfully and accurately is also important. If you don’t have the time to answer your child’s questions at a particular time, tell the child why you can’t answer at that time but emphasise that you will answer them later, and make sure that you do.
Honesty & Integrity
Playing games is an ideal opportunity for parents to demonstrate many of the essential principles applying to leadership such as competing fairly and with integrity. Allow the child to set up games and to keep scores thus promoting honesty. Don’t jump in when the child is struggling, give the child the opportunity to figure things out. Talk about winning and losing and why showing respect on both occasions is equally important. Playing games is also fun time and learning how to have fun in life is very important for children. After all, they are still children.
Don’t solve your children’s problems for them, allow them the opportunity to solve their own problems. Of course, help and advise them but don’t solve their problems. Life throws up problems on a regular basis and having the ability to solve whatever problems confront them in life is an essential skill. When parents solve their children’s problems they are not helping them in the long term.
Showing respect is another key factor. And it’s not just showing respect to the child, it also requires parents to show respect to every human being with whom they are in contact. How parents speak about other people, how they treat other people, etc., are all very significant factors in passing on the key principles of leadership from one generation to the next.
It may seem a bit far fetched, but a child that grows up surrounded by a solid value based system becomes a more rounded individual and they are less tempted by the draws of anxiety, depression, eating disorders, antisocial behaviour, alcohol or drug abuse that the world is only too ready to tempt them with. So, as parents we have a fundamental role to play in their development. If you’d like to chat to us, please book an appointment.