A lot is being said every day about how to raise good kids, super kids, best kids, smart kids and so on. There are multiple articles suggesting how to raise the smartest kids and what not to do during parenting.
Frankly, parenting is an overwhelming journey with new challenges every day for both parents and kids. With the world becoming faster and more complex, it goes without saying that the problems parents face now are absolutely different from how they were a couple of decades back.
There is a lot of exposure at an early age for kids and they too are smart enough to cope up and learn fast. For example, while we struggled to learn ‘algebra’ and ‘a for apple’ back then, today a kid of 6 years can actually create something new, upload a video on YouTube explaining what he has done – all by himself. That’s how smart and intelligent they are!
||But should kids be that smart, that intelligent and excel at every damn thing? ||
The answer can be yes or no and it is perfectly fine based on individual lifestyle and preferences.
There are, however, few qualities that they should acquire from an early age so that it becomes their habit and personality and can help them in the long run.
- The street-smart person
“My son is 7 years old and still needs me to sit with him and tell him what to do.” – a worried parent.
Say no for any wrong actions or unreasonable demands from an early age. Let your child think how to logically win what he desires rather than crying and throwing tantrums. This will pave the way for a healthy conversation and sharpen his persuasion skills to handle bad situations.
Involve kids while going to important places like a post office, grocery store and so on. Ask them to bring small stuff like bread or milk from the nearby supermarket. Ask them to dial your number on the phone whenever they want to talk. Give them the responsibility to water the plants. All these are starting points to make them independent and responsible.
Leave them with grandparents sometimes just to know if they were able to manage things themselves. Don’t give them all the comforts in life. They need to know what struggle is and where the money comes from!
- Love for family
Both parents should create a positive and loveable environment at home. Any conflicts should be resolved when kids aren’t around. From an early age, kids should respect and love their parents, know about the importance of grandparents, care for them and help them.
“My four-year-old brings my mother-in-law’s spectacles when asked, helps her get up from bed, goes walking with her and cuts fruits for her!”, one of my friends said!
The importance of family and relatives is something to be inculcated from childhood so that the bond only becomes stronger as days go by.
- Respect everyone
Love and respect for family are sure on the top of the list, as is respecting everyone else. Respect for friends, teachers, women and anyone you see is important. If you have a son, teach him all the household chores as you would teach your daughter. They should understand from the beginning itself, why it is important to respect women and how they are equals in society. If you have a daughter, still teach her about leadership, riding a bike or how she should pursue her dreams, yet balance her personal life.
- No losing is equal to no learning
Over pampering leads to children getting used to success. When failure suddenly pops up, kids are not able to cope. This is an unfortunate situation that needs to be handled delicately. If your child did not win a Badminton game, or did not get 100% marks in an exam – it is just fine! Make them understand that losing is just a way to hone their skills and there are new opportunities everywhere. Life has its ups and downs and everyone deserves a chance to win!
- Understanding he is unique
What one child can do at 3 years, another will do at 5 years. It doesn’t matter. Each child is unique and definitely there is no comparison. Most of the time, parents get tensed when they see another child of same age as their own having better health or doing better in studies. It could be because of comments from elders and other people. Just don’t bother. You know what is best for your child. Have faith that your child CAN DO. Life is not a rat race to run behind each other and learn everything at once! One of my colleagues says –
“My elder one started talking when he was 1.5 years old, but the younger one is already 2.5 years and hardly speaks anything! But in all other actions like wearing shoes on her own, eating what she wants or getting things done her way, she is smarter than him! She is more independent and knows what she wants!”
There is something about every child that’s not present in another one. God has created everyone equally – believe in this and outgrow all these unnecessary emotions and worries. Let them grow at their own pace – they will be more independent, mature and will figure out ways to handle things in a better way – themselves.
- Courage to say the truth
This is better told in action than words. Speak always the truth with your child. Be patient and explain to them why it is important to tell the truth. If they have done something wrong and are confessing to you, before reacting say 5…4…3…2…1, and instead of shouting back, ask them why they did wrong. Provide a solution or what you would have done if you were in their situation. If they are confiding you, this means they trust you. If you don’t handle this situation well, they may not tell the truth again. Be the person with whom they can share their ups and downs.
Disclaimer – saying the truth in today’s world doesn’t always help. One has to be diplomatic and know the right time to speak the truth. This habit can be built in the child with guidance and support of the parents, with logical and convincing explanations for the same.
There are more than just these qualities – like being strong, knowing how to spot danger and defend self, differentiating good from bad and so on. The list of learnings never stops and it never should. These are just the fundamentals to start and whether or not your child becomes the most intelligent or successful geek, he sure will become a good, compassionate human being!