(OMTimes | Marcia Sirota) Good parents rely on six basic things.
Parenting is one of the hardest thing in the world to do. That’s why, for good parenting, it never hurts to be reminded of a few basic truths. The fact is, children need six things to grow up healthy, happy, confident, resilient, and best able to succeed in life: love, guidance, limits, protection, validation, and respect.
Six things good parents give their kids
Children need love, of course, but not so much that they’re smothered. They need to be adored but they also need to learn accountability and autonomy.
Kids need to feel that they’re special, but not so special that everything they do is okay. They need to see that their parents can love them but also disapprove of their actions on occasion. I grew up with a kid whose parents went overboard in telling him how great he was. It gave him a swelled head and a sense of superiority over the other kids in the neighborhood.
On the other hand, I know some youngsters today who are getting lots of love and affirmation without their parents over-doing it, and these kids are confident, happy, calm and polite. They work hard and get along well with others.
Children need guidance, but parents ought not to be so directive that the kids never learn to think for themselves. Kids need to be able to try things, mess up, and learn from their mistakes. They need to experience disappointment and failure to learn, grow, and develop character.
Children need guidance to become their best selves. They must learn good work and study habits and understand the value of hard work, persistence, and dedication to everything they do.
They need to be taught personal responsibility and accountability so that they can learn from their mistakes and grow as individuals.
Learning compassion for other living things offers a sense of responsibility for their family, community, and planet. They need to learn self-compassion so they don’t beat themselves up for their mistakes or shortcomings.
Kids need to learn how to play fair and follow the rules of their society so that people will want to play with them when they grow up.
Sheryl Sandberg, in her new book, Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience and Finding Joy, talks about raising resilient kids by “helping children develop four core beliefs: (1) they have some control over their loves; (2) they can learn from failure; (3) they matter as human beings; and (4) they have real strengths to rely on.”
Children need limits so that they can distinguish right from wrong and understand what’s expected of them. Saying “no” to a child helps build character, as well as frustration tolerance.
Kids need to be listened to and responded to feel validated, but parents still must be in charge so that their children develop appropriately.
Sandberg says in Option B that when kids are “praised for trying” new or challenging things, they develop a “growth mindset” which enables them to “see abilities as skills that can be learned and developed.”
Sandberg says that kids develop resilience when they matter and that this means: “knowing that other people notice you, care about you and rely on you.”
Children need respect because this is the foundation of their self-worth. Their feelings need to be respected, as well as their opinions, their wishes, and their bodies. This doesn’t mean giving them everything they want or letting them do anything they want, but it does mean always thinking about what’s best for them.
Respecting a child means accepting them for exactly who they are and what they want, even if these are things that the parent doesn’t necessarily understand or agree with.
In the old TV show, Family Ties, two very Liberal parents raised a Republican son and accepted him as he was, even though his political view baffled them.
Heterosexual parents of LGBTQ kids respect their offspring when they accept their gender identity and romantic preferences.
Children need to be protected, both from their own impulses and from the world. Protecting them will enable them to learn how to take care of themselves.
Children need to see their parents standing up for them, defending them and keeping them safe from harm. This will make them feel worthy and deserving of protection.
On the other hand, children don’t need to be so over-protected that they’re spared from any consequences of their mistakes or allowed to get away with just about anything.
Parents need to balance protection with their kid’s need to learn basic life lessons.
Overly protective parents cripple their children emotionally or turn them into selfish young adults who think that they can get away with any type of bad behavior.
The effects of good parenting
When good parents give their children the above six things, the children will grow up with good self-esteem. This includes a sense of confidence, plenty of self-respect, and good self-care.
As good parents, it never hurts to think about how you’re parenting and to make the occasional adjustments. Increasing the appropriate love, limits, guidance, protection, validation and respect you give your kids can only be beneficial for them.
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