Being a parent of an eighteen-year-old that has just started university, I again realise how important it is for us as parents to set them up for success but also allowing them to fail along the way. Now I am sure you are saying – why set them up for failure?
To be able to function in an adult world one day we need to have learnt that life in general has consequences. If as an adult, you don’t meet deadlines etc. you will ultimately be fired! We all want what’s best for our children but sometimes we lose the plot a little and forget that we are training them to be independent, well-functioning adults one day.
At 18 months we can start to teach them about life. It’s very easy to start giving your child the incorrect message very early in life – Its fine – mom will do it if you can’t cope! But remember mom won’t always be there and can’t go into the workplace to sort out her child’s life for her.
I am sure we have all heard parents praise their children excessively. Mia picks up her toys and is such a clever girl! Mia was not “clever” when she put away her toys, she did what you would expect her to do and the more appropriate praise is to thank her for putting away her toys. Do you do the hoopla when your husband puts his coffee mug into the kitchen sink?
Teach your children about choices very early on in life. Do you want an egg, or do you want cereal for breakfast? Be careful of not saying what would you like for breakfast …? as the answer might be chocolate! Giving them the opportunity helps them to be able to make choices one day when they are older. Don’t fret when she wants to wear the pink dress over orange pants. Everyone will know you did not dress her. More importantly does it matter. She feels great and confident in her choice.
Life has consequences. If you don’t pick up your toys I will, but they will go into a black bag not to be seen for at least a few weeks. If you choose the summer dress and it’s raining you will get cold. I can guarantee next time she will take your advice and take a jersey and NO she will not get sick, you get ill from viruses not just a few goose bumps. Consequences learnt!
Lack of discipline can impact on a child reaching his full potential and will most probably contribute to a lower self-esteem, as he thinks he can’t do this without help. Raising a confident, well-adjusted child takes guts from you as a parent to allow them to face the consequences of their choices.
It’s too late to start at 13 you have by then lost the window of opportunity. How can you expect a teen to make the right choices if she has never been allowed to make any choices in her life? She has to be confident that she can choose and cope with the consequences of a wrong choice. It’s not easy but I know you can do it! After all you want what’s best for your child.