We all want the best for our kids. But somewhere down the line, we started confusing more for being "the best" and this confusion started to rob not just our parenting experience but also our kids' childhood of the real joys and wonders of life.
William Wordsworth rightly said, "Child is the father of a man" because childhood plays a crucial role in developing a person's attitude, values, and habits that in most cases will pass on and stay with them in their adult life as well.
Considering this significant impact of childhood on a person's life, it's no wonder why parents are so crazy about raising their kids so much sometimes that they tend to overdo it. Why? Love is the answer. Every parent loves their kid and they want to give them all the things that they didn't get to have as kids. And not just the stuff they didn't have but even more and sometimes, possibly everything.
In this article, we aim to look at how this is costing us and what could be a better way to bring up kids that will prepare them for the real world.
- Let your child become independent
Remember holding your little one in your arms for the first time? Remember feeling that faint heartbeat? Remember the tears in your eyes?
When we become parents our hearts are filled with an immense sense of responsibility toward our children. We're there for them in the morning, we stay awake for nights, and we're just a few inches away from this new life because a newborn needs that kind of intense attention. But the problem starts when the child grows but we still act as if it were a newborn. When we're just always a few inches away from them now and then.
We need to understand that once the child grows it's okay to let him/her be by themselves for some time. You must take care of certain precautions and make sure that their environment is safe. And in a safe environment, we must give them some space to explore, because being around them constantly can sabotage their confidence and independence, which can adversely affect their adult life.
- Let your child innovate
We live in a society where our fellow parents and our friends get their kids involved in several co-curricular activities and even entertain them with trips to amusement parks every month.
Maybe it's societal pressure or just love again that makes us want our kids to be a part of every other social group, and extracurricular activities and go for adventurous road trips every week.
And when we come home even after work when we're depleted, we're further weighed down by the moral obligation to entertain our kids. And thanks to Pinterest and social media for making us feel even worse. But it's high time that we take a step back and let kids put their creativity and imagination to work.
Stop entertaining your kids, instead ask them to entertain themselves. They could paint, invent a game, create things out of waste, host a puppet show, make a story or just collect stones and leaves that they find interesting. Give them an initial nudge and let their firework imagination get to work. You'll be surprised by their ideas.
- Let your child explore
In a world of cutthroat competition where every parent wants their kid to attend Harvard, Earn Six Figures, and own a Palatial Penthouse by the beach, planning, and scheduling have become our new obsessions. Apart from what colleges to attend, what courses to take, and what classes to sit for, we've even got their outfits picked for the weekend dinner with the grandparents. With everything so pre-planned and scheduled we chalk out their entire future without considering the possibility of the slightest change.
Your kid will grow, change and quit a lot of different things before finding something that they think is worth committing for life. The bottom line is that planning is good but overplanning can take a toll on the entire family. Plan enough to accommodate some healthy chaos.
- Let your child problem solve on their own
Just at the sight of a minor disagreement, we parents are there to make peace between both parties in case if we don't the world might explode.
But I'm sure you're aware that you'll not always be there to help your kid out and at some point, they'll have to solve their problems. So next time you find your kid disagreeing with someone or just being unable to find their stuff, wait for 10 minutes and observe how they handle it.
Though some of the early arguments with a friend might turn into a fight and that's when you can step in and sometimes they really can't find their stuff and it's okay to help them then. But give them these serious 10 minutes to knock their brains trying to solve their issues. After all, these are important social and personal skills that will take time to develop and childhood is the best time to learn these basics.
- Let your child seek more
Ever found yourself guilty of buying more toys than your kid could handle? And what was the result?
A messy room and you screaming at them for not taking care of their things. We've all been there at some point, haven't we?
A simple cure: Stop getting them toys and games until and unless they start taking care of the things they have. And in the long run, making them value experience more than materials and teaching them to take care of the stuff that matters.
But you've got or cut all the distractions first and it'll all snowball from there.
Apart from the aforementioned benefits, minimalism can be a game changer in another aspect as well. Remember last year when COVID-19 was raging and everyone was locked inside their homes? It was expected that everyone including kids would experience boredom which they did, but surprisingly quite like the virus it had a silver lining to it as well. During this time, kids were craving some entertainment and since the dawn of mankind we've known that necessity is the mother of all invention; so something was certainly in the making.
Kids bored inside the house were forced to use their creativity and come up with amusing ways to kill their time and this led to the invention of various games, stories and activities to pass time.
Superficially, it might seem to add close to no value, but research on this topic has something that points the other way.
Minimalism can lead to Boredom and it is a Blessing In Disguise.
According to recent evidence-based research, boredom is possibly the best activity for your child because of the following reasons:
- It gives the child a chance to introspect, imagine, dream, build up their thoughts, perspectives, identity and come up with solutions to their problems. Goes without saying, that these are all important life skills that will help the child in the latter stages of life.
- It gives them a chance to observe the nature around them. In today's world children are so occupied and are always told what to do that they'll never really care to count the trees or appreciate the colours of the landscape until and unless there's an assignment asking them to do so.
And yet looking around and taking a moment to appreciate the beauty around them will instil in them a sense of responsibility to protect these natural wonders not just because their science teacher told them to do so but because we're truly connected to nature and we need it.
But to make this happen we need to give them a chance to experience this bond and only then will they realize how important it is.
- Life isn't a perfect picture. Some days can be absolutely fun and thrilling whereas others are boring and slow. And it's okay because that's how life is. But these boring days can be a severe blow to a kid who's only had fun trips, activities, and a busy schedule. Ever wonder how they'll cope with this inevitably nothingness? It'll make them miserable, right? And we don't want that. And that's why early exposure to boredom is good for kids, as it lets them know that it's okay to have nothing to do.
- Lastly, it makes the child independent. The child is no longer reliant on television programs, video games, external sources, or attention to feel content. This way they learn to be at ease with themselves which will help them get through some sad phases of life for instance a breakup, losing a loved one, being completely alone, getting fired, moving away from the family, switching jobs, leaving friends, and a lot more.
Gravitas covered this research on their channel as well. For more information, you can watch Gravitas's Report on this subject.
Further, you may also have a look at the benefits of Bordomtunity.
Conclusion: Let's admit this early on, life isn't all rainbows and sunshine. We had some problems in life and so will our kids. Though we can eliminate some of the problems that we face with our experience and knowledge, nevertheless our kids will go through some serious phases too. Heartbreaks, rejections, and failures knock on everyone's door and have important lessons to teach. We can still help them by preparing with the mindsets that help them enjoy not only the best of life but also learn and grow through the worst of it.