Last week, I talked about the seemingly alarming state of the kids nowadays. By saying “kids”, I mean teens and pre-teens between the 10-19 year old bracket. As compared to what I’ve experienced during my time, these kids nowadays have greater power when it comes to decision making. These days, I see more parents shudder at the thought of their kids throwing tantrums rather than the kids shuddering at the sound of “Because I say so!”
Although I might not be a huge authority when it comes to parenting, years of teaching and being with kids (yes, I taught kids, teens and young adults from 4-24 years old) tells me that it’s not the end of the world. And slowly, we can begin to turn the tables around. Here are my proposed actions:
Make Your Intentions Clear
Sometimes, we think that kids are too young to understand principles. Due to this, we tend to hide our intentions so all they see is our actions. As much as we can, we must try to tell them our intentions behind our actions. We must go beyond “I’m only doing this because I love you”. Tell them what will become of them afterwards if you don’t take action now. If you think something is really expensive and you feel like giving in to your kid, tell him about the other more important things that money can buy from that money. Moreover, say it to them in such a way that you’re putting your concern on center stage, rather than fear. Lastly, remember to make an effort to explain things to him without having to use complicated words. A kid’s most basic principles are developed at a very early age. For example, when they play, they get to have a feel of how leadership, fairness and teamwork feels like.
Reward with Less Money
Of course we can’t take the old “reward and punish” principle when we’re dealing with our kids (or younger siblings) but I think we should put less focus on money because that will be the only currency that’s important to them. Ask favors lovingly, without promising them a certain gadget or amount of money. You can still reward him with material things but don’t focus on the expensive ones. Maybe you can even include yourself in the “reward” so s/he can associate you with positive feelings. For example, treat him to a vacation if he lands great awards. At the end of the day, give him/ her a confidence boost that he won’t get by having money and gadgets. Tell him he’s the best, that he did a good job (and how good that feeling is) and that you believe he can do so much more.
So you got the good stuff figured up. Congratulations. Now the next feat that you’re supposed to get over with is being consistent. Remember that kids have a huge tendency to take things at face value so you have to set a good example for them. Be consistent with the values that you teach and the principles that you want them to take on. Avoid using sarcasm to get your point across. This will only make them angrier and may even spark rebellion. The more that they see how dedicated you are to being a good parent to them, the more that they will be motivated to return the favor. And trust me, these kids, they’re always looking.
I’m not gunning for a Smart Parenting feature but I think I covered the most important ones. Have more advice about dealing with those little emperors?