There’s nothing more difficult in life than being a parent. You don’t get instructions. You don’t get a manual. What you do get is a small person who relies on you for absolutely everything in their life (and way too much conflicting advice from everyone you know).
Unfortunately, even though you don’t really know what you’re doing, everything you’re doing for and with your child will affect them for the rest of their life. The good things that you do teach them, stay with them for a long time, and shape who they become. Unfortunately, so do the not so good things.
What Decisions You’re Making
There are plenty of things that you decide for your child when they’re small. You decide what they’re going to wear, what they’re going to eat, what toys they’re going to play with and even who they are going to play with. But these things aren’t doing quite as much as some of the other things.
Sure, telling them they can’t play with one child over another may lead them to jump to conclusions about why you don’t want them playing with that child. Telling them to play with one toy and not buying them a different one may do the same. But, there are other areas to be more concerned about.
The Punishments You Give
The punishments that you give your child for doing something wrong can greatly affect them. It’s not just about the punishment itself, but about what you punish them for and how severe the punishment is versus what they’ve done to ‘deserve’ it.
If you spank your child every time they cry, they’ll eventually learn not to cry. But, that’s not something you really want to teach your child. You want them to know it’s okay to be upset and it’s important to let those feelings out. Some parents, however, don’t feel this way. Being said so, they train their child not to show these types of emotion, which makes it harder for them to show the emotion when they’re grown up.
On the other hand, not punishing your child when they do something wrong can send a bad message as well. Even if you’re not actually rewarding the bad behavior, neglecting to punish it can teach your child that there are no consequences for their actions. This may lead them to do whatever they want, which definitely carries over into their adulthood.
The Praise You Give
On the other hand, giving too much praise to your child can actually be a bad thing as well. You may think that there’s no way you can build up your child’s self-esteem too much, but that’s actually not the case. Teaching your child that they can do no wrong, and that they’re always perfect makes it harder for them to accept criticism later on. It makes it harder for them to make compromises in relationships and even in work.
What You Need
The key is working with your child to help them develop strong self-esteem that can stand up to criticism and that helps them feel that making a mistake isn’t the end of the world or being not the best at something won’t destroy them.
Giving your children both punishment and praise is important to their childhood and it’s going to make them stronger as adults. Without the right levels of each of these, your child will struggle with some of the things you likely think of as normal parts of life– losing friends, losing jobs and relationships, getting new jobs, interacting with people and a whole lot more.
For those children who don’t get the positive levels of praise and punishment, it can be difficult to assimilate in the adult world. Those are the children who need the most help.
If your child needs help or if you need help understanding what you can be doing for your child will get you exactly what you’re looking for.