Blog 100. Parenting: Are You Laying Down The Necessary Foundations BEFORE Your Kids Become Teenagers?
For whatever reason, parents can sometimes forget that very early on, children need to learn and understand how people really operate and how life really works, especially with regards the choices we make and the long-term repercussions of any bad choices.
If this teaching is left too late, it can be very hard to convince teenagers of anything. In other words, foundations need to be laid down as early as possible, before the tantrums and eye rolling stage.
But why, why do we need to give children a good understanding of the repercussions of what may or can happen?
From my observations and although on the extreme end, a good example of this point is that, often I’ve heard teenagers (and indeed some adult women too) say, “I’ll wear whatever I like and if boys take it the wrong way that’s their problem”. But is it?
Often people don’t fully understand what rape actually entails. Few really understand the violence and the usual life long trauma that rape involves. So what might seem like a perfectly understandable statement and yes, woman of all ages should be able to wear what they want – not all men out there will respect this. This is not to say that all men are rapists. But young girls should be made aware that bad things happen, not only just in the movies, but in real life too. And most women who are victims of rape will agree. Sure, statistics also point out that – it’s not always or only about what a woman wears. There are other factors that come in to play. However my point is, that by being made aware of all the possible repercussions of what we choose to wear, or how we choose to behave, or indeed any of the choices we make, will help us understand that sometimes we DO need to take all angles into account, or the situations that sometimes necessitate that we be more careful – because we live on a planet with many different people who may not always behave or think as we do.
Or to use a different example: Often parents can neglect to explain the results of teenage pregnancies on a young girl’s life. And then, only when it’s too late will she learn the reality of her choices. Sure accidents happen and mostly, we keep our fingers crossed – but awareness at least is better than ignorance.
However, it’s not just girls who need early education – boys need it just as much.
Recently I heard about a child asking his parents about how much money they earn – and he was only 6 years old. Kids start working things out very quickly. And parents need to be alert to this.
Parents don’t have all the answers either. But thankfully with all the books and the Internet, adults can also learn in order to teach – because we often also grow through our children.
Worryingly however, statistics are now suggesting that the suicide rate amongst the young is increasing, and that this is because many are battling to cope. Kids who are spoilt or who are being given everything – are finding it hard to cope. It seems therefore, that children need to be taught how to become independent and capable adults.
It is therefore so important that parents give their children chores and allow them to learn about responsibility. Pay them pocket money, teach them about money and then watch what they do with the money. And when they’re old enough, let them get a weekend job. This will go on their CV and it will help them later on in life.
And it’s now also widely known that it is not healthy to allow children to just sit, either in front of a television set or on their iPhones, for long periods without exercising or participating in other activities too.
But sadly, many parents wish they had started creating a good foundation earlier. Why? Because many now understand that it is a lot easier when children are young and still ready to absorb what you have to say – because then you also appear less of a nag.
Most importantly though, is that by creating a foundation parent can use the opportunity to explain the repercussions of what can happen when we don’t do whatever is necessary for our well-being.
But it seems that parents too, need to realise that their inactivity can have ripple effects on their children – and leaving it too late to start teaching their children is one of them.
© 2018 Deidré Wallace All rights reserved.
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