5 foolproof philosophies to raise children in a fast and ever-changing world (your most important jobs as a parent)

Toddler learning how to walk

Parenting methods can be a sensitive topic. Most of us learn from how to parent from how our parents parent us. If we thought it was good, we would try to replicate a similar parenting. If it was bad, we would either try to do the opposite, or still try to replicate (some of us don’t know better). This was great pre-internet. As a millennial, it’s easy to feel the pressures of the whole world judging our parenting and it is so easy for us to compare our parenting methods with other parents too (thanks to the internet and everything it brought like social media).

I don’t know about you, but this to me can get very confusing. On top of your child going through a new developmental stage every so often, it sometimes feels like the “superior” parenting method changes every other week! You will inevitably learn and change (this is what humans do) and you might lose yourself or get lost in the process. But don’t worry, here are 5 things that I believe are in the core of parenting. The 5 things that I hope to keep at the core at all times (even when everything changes around us) so we don’t “get lost”.

Mother and two sons

Value 1. Consistency

Imagine you are taking a test, and the answer changes every single time you go back to a question. How difficult, confusing and frustrating would this be?
That’s why, before we start with anything else, this is the most important. We are one of the most important if not their only gateway into the real world. We, as parents, are our children’s entire “society” – particularly in those first few months/years until they are ready to go into kindergarten or when you go back to working full time.
Children are learning & experimenting every day and they pick up on things more than you would think! They are already learning so much – from how to make audible and coherent sounds, how to operate their limbs to even how and when to smile, cry as well as developing ways to express other emotions. How do they learn all this? From watching you! So do your children a favour and keep the answer to their tests consistent.
You may be wondering, how do I do this? Well, keep with you a set of core parenting values (for example, the 5 things mentioned in this post) that you can keep consistent. Then, when faced with decisions, make them according to those core parenting values. Your parenting methods may change as your child(ren) goes through different stages in life (and you will learn more through study or experience, as well as other lifestyle changes), but try and keep a consistent set of core parenting values with you at all times.

Value 2. Provide a safe home

As I’ve said in the “consistency” section, children learn through watching us (and later other people they look up to) and through experimenting. The number two thing is to make your children feel like they have a safe home to return to no matter what. Whatever storm is brewing outside, ensure they can count on you to be a constant safe home to take cover. This is not to say to protect your children from everything at all times (i.e. confine them in a safe bubble – in fact, please don’t) but somewhere to return to when some of their adventures inevitably go wrong.

Value 3. Inspire and guide

So far, we’ve given our children a platform to experiment and a safe home to return to. Next is to give them encouragement to seek their own adventures and learn from the world. When they need a little help, guide them, let them learn and become good at challenges for themselves. Of course, use your common sense and safety should always come first. For example, don’t “let your child experience and explore” what it’s like to touch fire (that’s just silly). Otherwise, never tell them what to do or even worse, do it for them!
Whether we like it or not,  we can’t live forever and therefore we can’t always be there to support our forever growing bundle of joy. We also can’t teach them everything there is to know about the world. We must let our children experiment and learn from their own adventures.
We should NEVER shut down their dreams – no matter how big or small. Inspire them to always try to do better than the last time. Guide them through the tough times. Adding values 1 and 2, be their constant and provide a safe home when things don’t work out.
Toddler happily playing with their parents

Value 4. Lead by example

In other words, don’t be a hypocrite. If you want to show your children to keep their room tidy, make sure yours is always tidy before you expect your children to do the same. Show them how you tidy your room and see if they can do the same with theirs. This is just an example but this could apply to all areas of life. Show them how you get back up every time you fall, how to deal with adverse situations (or any situation for that matter) and how to treat those around them. All children watch and look up to their parents. What examples are you giving your children right now?

Value 5. Listen

Children are human beings too! They have real and valid thoughts, feelings and curiosities. Spend time to listen to them. They might also show these rather than directly talking about it to you. Make them feel that their thoughts, feelings and curiosities are completely OK and just as valid as yours. This will build their self esteem and confidence – both are very useful and important “armour” to have out in the real world.

You may notice “love” and “family” (which both are very important) are not on the list. It’s because I believe (and my parents have proved) that these automatically will come naturally if you have core parenting values similar to these that I have listed in this post. I believe these are what makes a family a great and loving family. Just saying “I love you” a million times doesn’t cut it (at least not to me – but this may be because of my love language being quality time).

I believe you still need to discipline your children and all the rest of it. But when I do, I will always remember these 5 core parenting values.

What are your core parenting values?

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