Growing strong kids in today’s world
For mums to grow a successful business within school hours it takes a combination of life skills. ‘Staying consistently focused’ and ‘Not allowing fear of failure to immobilize.’ are often listed as desirable strengths when growing a business. So how do we hone those life-skills in our own children?
Today’s child has more choices and distractions than any generation before. Their attention is being vied for – largely by technology. Today’s toddlers already know to ‘skip-add’ on a parent’s phone, today’s tweens play more online than in person and today’s teenagers contend with the world at their fingertips and all the social undermining that comes with it.
Parents are visionaries. We need to be brave on behalf of our children and help them on the journey to self-regulation as we protect their life-balance. It’s counter cultural and it will mean losing their approval from time to time. But here’s a way to avoid technology becoming the focal point of family conflict:
Keep your consequences relevant to the issue. It’s tempting to threaten their iPad, screen-time or phone no matter what poor choice they’ve made. If there’s a ‘time’ issue, make the consequence time related, if there’s a ‘food’ issue make it food related and so on. That leaves you able to focus on any potential tech issues with tech related consequences. They will have more respect for your tech-boundaries if they aren’t frequently threatened with having their screens confiscated over unrelated issues.
By the same token, it’s helpful to model focus – to be present with our children mentally as well as physically when we’re spending time with them. Today’s mum is super-woman; she often runs a business and home as well as doing the banking, holidays, gifts, lunch money and just about everything else from one small gadget in her hand. Whilst these tasks are largely for the child’s benefit, it still all looks like the back of a phone to a child. It takes self-control not to let screens and business hijack our time with our children or interrupt conversations with them. They’re watching and copying us.
It can be uncomfortable to help our children to grow the strong muscle of self-control, but the focus and concentration we hope they’ll develop through life will influenced by the focus and self-control we teach and model in their formative years.
Comfort is the enemy of progress
Phineas Barnum, showman.
FAILURE IS NOT THE END
It’s tempting as a loving mum to save our children from challenges, such as rescuing them from poor choices, protecting them from disappointment or embarrassment and stepping in when they fail – whether that’s whizzing in that forgotten sports kit, making excuses for them, giving them constant reminders or fixing their problems.
Standing back and allowing our children to rise to their challenges can be time consuming and patience-stretching. There are many reasons parents swoop in and save, but doing so will stunt a child’s growth emotionally, practically and mentally.
Today’s university aged children are sometimes referred to as the tea-cup generation. Many of them have been rescued, assisted and supported to the point where their wonderful strategic, problem-solving brains have atrophied.
Allowing our children to walk in the consequences of their own choices, sitting with them and encouraging them as they wrestle with their challenges and consider their options will develop their natural abilities and teach them that their failures are not too big for us. They in turn will not be immobilized by the doubts and anxieties of failure and will develop the quiet confidence needed for the road ahead.
Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.
‘Staying consistently focused’ and ‘Not being afraid of failure’ are great strengths to hone in our children. It takes a little extra time and patience, but the investment in their character will benefit them throughout their relationships, career and life.
About Madeleine Stanimeros
AUTHOR, BLOGGER, PARENT-COACH, SPEAKER, MUM
Madeleine is the author of Parenting For Life and also writes on the topic of parenting for magazines and organisations as well as for her own blog, The Courageous Mumma. She’s often heard on the radio and parenting vlogs and speaks at events and conferences. She regularly presents to parent groups to encourage them to parent effectively through the challenges of social media and technology. She also spends time with individual parents with tools to support them through difficult areas of family life. She and her husband live in Cheltenham and have five children between the ages of 24 and ten.