What skills do parents need to raise future-ready kids?
MANILA, Philippines – As our way of life continues to evolve, so does parenting.
Amor Arandia, a licensed psychologist and psychotrauma counselor and therapist at the University of Santo Tomas Psychotrauma Clinic, paints a picture of how parenting norms have changed in just a few decades: where Baby Boomer and Gen X parents were more focused and hands on, their millennial counterparts now usually attempt a work-life balance.
Prevailing norms, technology, and the media are some of the major factors that influence parenting, according to Arandia.
Things are expected to evolve even further so the way parents are raising their kids right now might even differ a few years down the road. There are no hard and fast rules to parenting, but the key is to identify the constant, most basic skills that will withstand time.
Arandia, who has experience working with children, adolescents, adults, and caregivers, offers some suggestions so parents can prepare their children for whatever the future might bring.
The art of balance
These days, parents are busier than ever. Driven to excel, millennial parents usually juggle several roles at once. Unfortunately, demands from their career and family can get too much, and at least one tends to get sidelined.
Balance, then, is key.
Moms and dads must learn how to manage their time correctly. Arandia says that they must always be present for their children, and suggests to not rely too much on helpers and relatives in taking care of them whenever possible. It makes children feel more secure.
Parents must also strike a balance between discipline and love, firmness and warmth. Now, this might let you think that being a friend to your child is enough, but it’s not. In fact, experts claim that this can actually negatively affect their growth.
It’s up to parents to find the parenting style that will work for their kids. But once they find that perfect balance, children can form good character and habits, and will most likely find it easier to understand if ever their parents would call them out for their missteps.
“Children need to know that their parents love them deeply because if they don’t, they might look for it elsewhere,” Arandia explains.
Lastly, parents need to ensure that their kids will have holistic growth. They must make sure that their kids’ IQ (intelligence quotient) and EQ (emotional quotient) are equally developed.
Because while it’s vital to stimulate their intellect, it’s also just as important to develop their well-being. Children with good EQ “tend to control and handle their emotions, respond to challenges and frustrations, and bounce back better [than those with] good IQs (intelligence quotient) [alone],” as Arandia puts it.
A hands-on approach
Arandia observes that technology has a great impact on children. This is true especially now, when gadgets, day care centers, and other similar services somtimes serve as substitutes for parents busy with their work.
But of course, nothing replaces quality time. By spending time with their kids, parents will have the chance to observe their kids closely. They should listen not just to what their kids are saying, but to what they are not saying as well. Moms and dads must stay attuned to their kids’ personalities, attitudes, and behavior so they would always know how to properly respond and help them grow.
Parents must make sure their children are receiving proper nutrition as well. A well-balanced diet that’s appropriate for their age – which includes milk, fruits and vegetables, and other nutritious food items – can help support their mental, physical, and social learning milestones.
They must be mindful that their children need a combination of unique brain nutrients for their cognitive development, antioxidants to help maintain their body's natural defenses, dietary fibers to support their gastrointestinal health, and growth nutrients to support their weight and height. It’s a critical factor in ensuring their gifts are nurtured.
While there are no fixed how-tos in parenting, it doesn’t need to be a “trial and error” thing. Keeping up with the latest developments in raising children is easier today, since information from both experts and experienced alike is easily shared and received.
“As parents, we need to be humble enough to admit when our knowledge is limited in terms of raising children. We need to be open-minded,” Arandia stresses.
Building the right foundation
What values do children need? Good character is important. Arandia says that it is a “building block of success” and can help children thrive anywhere.
“They learn the good value of hard work and make better choices on how to handle setbacks [instead of] just grumbling, giving in, or blaming others when things go wrong,” she adds.
Having a godly character is just as important because “we need something greater and deeper in terms of helping us form a good character – God,” Amor says.
Optimism is another lesson that parents should impart to their children. This will help them develop an “I can” rather than “I can’t” mindset.
Children should also learn how to prioritize tasks, and say no to things that could push them to breaking point.
Parents should lead by example and practice these values themselves.
Good parents, good citizens
In sum, Arandia says that there is no such thing as “perfect parents,” only good ones.
“When I say good parents, it means that we know raising kids is challenging, but we never back down or delegate it to others. We strive hard to provide for our family but we also give time and love to them. We expose them to the world in a good way, and teach them how to handle things as much as they can and not to leave it to chance alone,” she says.
Most importantly, parents must raise their kids as closely as they can.
“We are raising the future generation of our family and society, and they need examples of good parents so they can be like that to their future children,” Arandia says. – Rappler.com
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