Raising Children With Common Sense
Being a good teacher is not an easy task. Raising children is not something they teach you in school. It is something you have to face when it is your turn to be a father or mother.
Children also didn’t come with an instruction manual that tells you everything you have to do in certain situations or how we should act when they are anxious, angry or sad. We tend to repeat what we have seen in our homes all our lives and think that since our parents raised us that way, that’s the correct way.
Unfortunately the way our parents raised us is not always the right way. Knowing that the times are changing, as parents, we must adapt.
Ways to raise children
There are many ways to educate, but in order to provide you with an overview of such, we could categorize them, more or less, into three groups:
Authoritarian or controlling parenting
Authoritarian parenting is often used by those parents whose thinking is “to spare the rod is to spoil the child.” They believe that using fear and intimidation will make children obedient. It is true that authoritarian education can make children obey, but always with fear, which will not make the child understand the reasons for limits and rules. We also teach them that problems are solved aggressively.
They will be children with low self-esteem, who will not feel accepted by their parents. In many cases, they end up becoming aggressive and anxious people who end up being rejected for their behavior.
It is completely contrary to the above. Permissive parenting means that parents provide love and affection to their children, but are not able to set clear limits. If not, they confuse the child with vague rules that ultimately are not fulfilled because they themselves end up giving up.
They overprotect the child by their own fear that something might happen to him. But in doing so, they keep him from developing his skills, and becoming responsible and mature.
Children raised in a permissive way also have a very low self-esteem because they feel unable to solve their own problems without help from anyone.
Democratic parenting takes into account that children do not come into the world knowing how this works, so parents are here to explain it to them. In democratic parenting, you do not yell at or hit the child because that does not teach him anything. Rather you converse with him until he understands everything. You give him the opportunity to fail and to fix his mistake, you accept him unconditionally as a human being and show him a profound love, but without being overprotective.
Some techniques to be democratic parents
As we said, being democratic parents implies dialogue, unconditional acceptance and above all respect for the child. It requires that we, as adults, control ourselves, although it may be difficult in many cases. Some techniques you can start using with your child may be:
Negative punishment is to withdraw a source of pleasure or happiness from the child if he or she violates any rules or exceeds a limit you have set. For example, if our son had to pick up his room and has not done so, we have to take something that is very appealing to him (a toy, his favorite TV show, going to the park, etc…).
The most important part of this technique is not the technique itself, but how we carry it out. There is no point in giving a negative punishment if you yell and threaten the child because he will become more nervous and will not understand. We must do so in a calm way, without getting heated. In this way, the child will learn that in life there are consequences when you break certain rules.
Just as we use negative reinforcement when there is misconduct, we have to reward the right behaviors. There should never be punishment without reinforcement and vice versa. If the child has met a standard or has done something appropriate, we must always reward him. It is more important that we remember to reward before punishing.
We can do this through a system of token economy if it is small, by earning points for each correct behavior and then exchanging them for prizes or by praise, hugs and congratulations if they are older.
Overcorrection applies when the child has misbehaved and we want them to fix their mistake and learn something new. For example, if you have thrown all the food on the floor, you will have to collect the food and also help mom and dad to clean the entire kitchen (dishes, table, floor…)
Guided exposure to their fears
If we are very overprotective with our children, we will make them fearful and this is not positive at all. To help them overcome their fears, we have to teach them to deal with them. To make it easier for them, we can associate those fears with fun things.
For example, if your child is afraid of the dark and cannot sleep alone, we’ll play with them in the dark room, hiding a chocolate bar in the room that they must find while mom and dad are waiting for them outside and giving them clues. The child associates the dark with play; something they enjoy as they face it and observe that nothing bad happens.
These are some techniques you can begin to use to raise your children, but the most important thing is how it’s done: always with love and acceptance, very patiently, at the child’s pace and controlling our emotions.
Tell Me How You Educate and I’ll Tell You What Kind of Child You Will Have
How do you raise your children? Do you consider yourself to be authoritarian, democratic or permissive? Depending on your educational style, your children could develop a personality type… More »