Have you heard these statements? “When I was young, I just listened to my parents and did what they asked “ or “Kids today are very disobedient.” There is no doubt that the world has changed since we were children and even more so since our parents were children. As times have changed, so has the ability to access immediate information from all over the world through YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. The ability to see new ideas on a minute-by-minute basis is overwhelming. What are ways to adapt to this new world while at the same time raising well adjusted, successful children?
1. Give them choices and let them make decisions often. A person will on average change their job 11 times in their lifetime according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). It takes more time to give children decision-making authority but if a child is constantly directed, he won’t learn how to direct himself. Starting at young ages a child can be asked if he or she wants to wear the red of blue coat for example. Make sure; however, that you can live with the choices you offer.
2. Encourage creativity and flexibility. Not too many generations ago, much of the American workforce was employed in factories for most of their lives where what was required for the job remained consistent. Now there are so many job choices and many people are entrepreneurs. Children are born with the natural need to build, draw, dance and sing. Allow children to lead play for a significant amount of every day and look for preschools that do the same. If a child wants trees to be purple and horses pink, let them do it. When we stifle creativity, we may prevent a future Michelangelo or Bill Gates from blooming.
3. Intentionally teach social-emotional skills. Due to the frequent job and career changes, people in the workforce are required to work with new people often and interact in different ways. This requires the basic skills that comprise an Emotionally Intelligent person: self-awareness, self-regulation, social-skill, empathy and motivation. According to Gerald Mount, in the Role of Emotional Intelligence in Developing International Business Capability, 2006, “Emotional Intelligence is more than twice predictive of business performance than purely cognitive intelligence.” Please see http://www.examiner.com/article/the-importance-of-building-emotional-intelligence-children?cid=db_articles for more information about teaching social-emotional skills.
Parenting is a challenging and dynamic endeavor today. It is sometimes hard to change and parent differently than we were parented and making those adjustments may cause us to feel like we are betraying how we were raised. Instead, we can adopt the philosophy that we want every generation to have it better than the one before and adapt our parenting style to the needs of who we have in front of us.
For more information on ways to improve relationships with your children, parent coaching, workshops and classes, contact Julia Kozusko, LPC at 970-688-4578 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Like Elevated Parenting at www.facebook.com/ElevatedParenting.