How to raise a child in the 21st century

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“ It takes a whole village to raise a child” African saying.

In the 21st century, parenting feels like a congested lifestyle; so much to do, so little time!! and most times we don’t even know what to do. It reminds me of a weaver bird-filled tree house!! noisy, extremely busy, congested and mostly individualistic.

Parents feel like it’s a nightmare every time children are home for holiday. This should actually not be happening. This is because parents have been left with the whole burden of bringing up children (of course with the assistance of school teachers and club coaches). The rest of the world seems to walk by unaware of your call for help. It is no wonder we all send them to grandparents house at the smallest opportunity, send them to summer camps or even boarding schools!! 🙁

Parenting should be and can be fun. It is just a few simple steps away.

  • Plan private time with the kids where you open a forum. during this timeshare about feelings, opinions, challenges, and everything else but chores. This helps the child to learn self-expression as well as how to bond. Note that it should be a two-way channel. I usually refer my time as TQL( time, quality and love). Always close this session with a positive note such as commending good work done or an encouraging word. Remember that your child has emotions that tend to overload; just like you, and he/she may not know how to express them. This is a perfect time for sharing such emotions. If a child can connect with you as a parent, he/ she will find it easier to connect with the rest of the world while at the same time remaining true to self.

  • Be up-to-date with the current trends, vocabulary, lifestyles and internet sites that your kids may be accessing. This is probably the most common challenge among parents with teenagers. Children, today are referred to as ‘dot-com’ generation, the Y-generation, the internet generation… meaning that they were born into a generation of the internet and thus information explosion. Parenting this generation makes us feel like the stone age people living in a futuristic age!!! However, we can handle this by doing our homework as well. Take time to get updates on what is trending, research, watch music, videos and games together. Allow them to update you on what the friends and peers are up to. Avoid immediate criticisms against their information, but instead, have pros and cons talk about it. You will be amazed at how well they can evaluate themselves.

  • Share chores in the house: The aim of sharing chores is not to fill up their piggy banks, but to train them on responsibility. Although most counselors advise on the reward system, I feel this should be used as sparingly as possible. Monetary reward and other items rewards can eventually affect our children to be conditioned to a reward system. When they grow up, they will tend to seek rewards in order to carry out obvious responsibilities. It is always good to remember that different chores enhance different life skills that they will eventually need in their adult life.

  • Set mutually agreed upon standards, and goals regarding school performance, sports, individual behaviour and social behaviour. This is made way easier when the parent is also a role model. Follow the “do as I do” model rather than “Do as I say” model. The former model makes the parent a mentor as well. This, in turn, boosts the child’s self-confidence and trust. Allow room for discovery, self-challenging, social interaction with the rest of the world. I consider this to be the best part of parenting; because you get to see your children interact with the world, make decisions and carry out duties without your influence. Involving the children in charitable work, community activities, religious functions helps them a great deal. Philanthropy helps them develop social skills, empathy, love, and understanding. It opens up a domain in which parents cannot access on their own. It also teaches them to learn about abundance, poverty, social challenges and other disabilities/limitations human beings face.

  • Encourage spiritual growth to help them be aware of their inner power. The inner man has infinite power over the outer man. Once the inner man is strengthened, no challenges can win over the outer man. I cannot emphasize this one enough. Teach them to meditate, pray, reflect…. and they will never depart from it in their older age. Their spiritual compass will have been set.

  • Grow up together with your children!! There is no such thing as being childish when it comes to your children. Speak like a child with them, play children games, sing kid songs, dance chicken, duck, cat and dog dances!! sleep on the floor, roll over… Have another chance at being a child and they will love you for that. When they reach the questioning age, answer their questions and ask them some of yours… suitable for that age and let them give you answers. When teen age comes they will have gotten used to you being there for them and automatically will continue to come to you for help!!

  • Pray for your children ALWAYS!!! If you are constantly facing challenges in your life, always remember that your children are going through challenges in their world as well, albeit, different level and kinds. It is so comforting to seek the universe’s guidance and protection for your loved ones, especially when they are away from you. I always ask Angels to protect mine as they go to school, play, learn, and anytime they are far from me. The comfort I get is, simply put, Peace of mind.

  • Don’t forget to have fun. Children are like flowers in your garden; here today, all grown and gone tomorrow. Each stage happens but once in their lifetime. Do not miss it. Be there; Be present; Be aware and participate!!

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