Parents are entrusted with the very important responsibility of assisting their children in shaping of their developing personalities. Some parents take this responsibility casually and permit their children to grow up with little or no guidance that would have enabled them to make the most of their personal capabilities. Are you training your children in what is right, or are you allowing them to flounder about on their own? Do you think they will know automatically what is right? Children need to be taught. Other parents approach to the matter of child training may be arbitrary and heartless in their dealings that their children misunderstand their good intentions and rebel against what they believe is wickedness on the part of their parents.
Between somewhere in these two extremes there should be an ideal parental attitude which is considerable that there can be no misunderstanding of the good motives and wisdom that the children should be spared the mishaps and heartaches which comes to the young persons who have to explore life on their own.
Success in child training involves the development of an attitude of mind of the child, in such a way that he respectfully accepts the counsel of the parents and welcomes their interest in his decisions and welfare. Parents must therefore implore such methods and approaches as will give the child positive proof of their unselfish interest in his affairs because it is during teens that he builds the framework into which his later life must fit. The opportunities that will come to him in life – both social and material will depend upon what kind of character he chose for himself while in his teens.
From childhood to adolescence a child craves the affection of his parents. Parental affection is to the developing child‘s personality as sunshine is to the developing plant. With affection the child’s personality becomes healthy, symmetrical, and colorful. Without affection it is dwarfed, distorted and drab.
Nothing is more pitiful than the children who are deprived of the evidence that they are loved and wanted. Such children feel alone in the world, and insecure. When in trouble, they have no true source of comfort. They naturally resort to using childish and questionable means of attracting attention and demanding recognition. Even as they grow into adulthood they are haunted by unconscious conviction that they have been deprived of their human rights. They are constantly on the defensive as they harbor the grudge that the world owes them something. This is the feeling that normally leads to criminal activities.
But the set of children who have experienced the continuous warmth of their parents’ affection develop a friendly attitude toward those around them and toward the world in general. They feel secure in their parents’ love and harbor no misgivings as they reach the age when they must make life’s major decisions.
Some parents have been confused in their thinking and have assumed that the best way to show affection for their children is to avoid any form of discipline allow the children to grow up as they please. Actually, children who are allowed to follow their own inclinations without parental supervision and guidance leave them at such disadvantage in their dealings with life’s problems that they find themselves constantly in trouble in the world. They not only fail to respect their parents, in spite of their indulgences, they also fail to respect constituted authority. They develop the habit of being in conflict with the norms of the society. The parents who indulge all their child’s wishes may call it love but the family therapist will call it irresponsible parenting.
It is vital that married couples are in agreement concerning the discipline of their children. Lack of unity presents confusing picture to the children, and soon they discover that their parents don’t enforce the same rules. Insecurity ultimately develops in the children because they don’t understand what is expected of them. They tend to alienate themselves from the stricter parent and disrespect the lenient one. Because children learn best from repetition, it is important that you not only agree on rules of discipline, but be determined to carry them out each time the need arises.
The start some rich parents give their children amount to setback. I have heard some of them say: “I am going to see to it that none of my children will have to struggle in life.” This kind of thinking can only lead to disaster. Your children need to stand on their own feet instead of being provided with crutches. They need self-reliance if they are to be strong and sustain success.
The three areas of discipline are progressive. First educate, then warn, and then correct. Children don’t know what is best for them, but as a parent you do. Children must be taught what is acceptable and what is not. That is the education part of the training. Point out to them the advantages of accepting life’s responsibilities at an early age. Your goal is to make your children to be wise. Eventually they will make the right decisions without your instructions, but while growing up they need to be trained In right thinking.
As the children grow older, the amount of responsibilities entrusted on them should be increased and the magnitude of the decisions they are expected to make should be enlarged. They should be shown how to benefit by their mistakes, and be brought to the realization that an occasional mistake is inevitable. But to repeat the same mistake is an evidence of immaturity and instability. Train your daughters to be good wives and mothers. Begin when they are young as they mature, give them one night a week to prepare the family’s meal. This will give them invaluable experience and self-assurance. Chances are that they will turn out to be good wives and mothers that know how to run a home.
Some children have been dominated by their parents to the point that they are so frail and do not have the energy and the drive to explore the outlets for their energy and therefore have been forced into a rigid regime. These children are being deprived of the very training that would give them the stability of character necessary to meet the problems of the future. Or the children may become conformists and accept the domination of their parents as being the best way out. With the conformist attitude they will be in a poor way to direct their lives once their parents’ influence is removed. For lack of other direction they will accept the decisions made for them by associates and would-be friends. They will be susceptible to following the crowd and their friends will have no trouble enlisting their support. Thus they will be tossed to and fro by the whims of others and driven from one mistake to another without the ability to square themselves with the demands of life.
It is good for parents to treat their children as though they were a little older than they really are. This will please the children and stimulate them to cooperation and to the development of the more mature habits of conduct. When the children are given full recognition of their progress toward maturity, they feel freer to confide in their parents and thus give opportunity for their counsel.
Parents should be extremely careful never to embarrass their children by repeating to someone else the things that they were told in confidence or the intimate questions that have been asked. It is also the parent’s duty, however, to help the children understand the difference between facts and fantasies.
The parent’s example is unquestionably the greatest single influence in determining the children’s policies of living. When they observe that their parents unhesitatingly tell the truth, in spite of consequences, they will willingness adopt the same policy.
When the rules have been laid down, stick to them. Be consistent, and punish when necessary. Be honest when you have made a mistake, apologize for it and expect them to do the same. Children and teenagers learn more by what you do, than what you say, so discard, ‘don’t do as I do; do as I say,’ policy.
In order for parents to deal justly and successfully with their children, they must present a united front in matters pertaining to home policies and parent to children relationships. Even when one parent disagrees with the method used by the other, he should refrain from expressing his opinion until the two parents can be alone. In counseling together, they should agree upon a policy by which their children are to be reared. And in the development of such a policy they must be willing to give and take, realizing that if they take counter decisions their best efforts will only be defeated. A compromise, as long as it is within reason, is better than the unhappy results which are sure to follow the children’s knowledge that their parents are not in agreement.