It is every parent’s dream to raise the perfect children. We all want our children to succeed – to lead happy, healthy lives full of love. The thing is, the path to accomplishing this goal isn’t always clear. Luckily, the psychologists at Harvard are here to help. They have shared these 6 simple tips to help your children become the best they can be.
1.Spend time with your kids.
Do you want your children to understand how much you love them? Spending time with them says it all. Make memories that will last into your children’s elder years: read to them, play games with them, laugh with them. By practicing active listening skills and getting to know your child, you will make the bond between you two stronger than ever. The more you listen and learn about your child, the better example he or she will have to look to when getting to know others.
2. Tell them how you feel.
Don’t keep your emotions to yourself. If you love your children, let them know. If you are concerned for their well-being, share that with them. You will be surprised by how much their emotional intelligence will grow from just these simple cues. According to the researchers at Harvard, “Even though most parents and caretakers say that their children being caring is a top priority, often children aren’t hearing that message.” Show your children who you want them to be by acting out your ideals.
3. Work through problems with your children.
One of the biggest obstacles a child faces is learning how to make decisions. Walk through this process with your child. Help them consider the consequences, and the effect their actions will have on the other people involved. If your child wants to quit a club or sport, help them consider the cause of this desire and the commitment they made to the group. Teach them to weigh the options and find the best solution to each problem.
4. Highlight the value of helpfulness and gratitude.
As your child’s role model, it is up to you to act according to the values you wish to instill. Show gratitude daily, and practice being helpful with or in front of your child whenever you can. Psychologists have found “that people who engage in the habit of expressing gratitude are more likely to be helpful, generous, compassionate, and forgiving – and they’re also more likely to be happy and healthy.” So show some gratitude; it is good for your health, and for that of your child.
5. Teach your child to cope with destructive emotions.
We have all had a moment where we let our emotions get the best of us, but this is never the best solution to a problem. When you notice your children struggling with something, help them to process their emotions in a constructive way. Researchers inform us that “the ability to care for others is overwhelmed by anger, shame, envy, or other negative feelings.” Be sure that your child knows not to let these feelings fester. Solving conflicts and setting boundaries will help them grow into caring, compassionate individuals.
6. Help them focus on the bigger picture.
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It is often not intuitive for children to know how to think about the world at large. Help your child understand how everything is connected, and teach them to think about consequences outside their own circles of friends and family. Research shows that “almost all children empathize with and care about a small circle of families and friends,” but it is important to expand your child’s mind beyond these limited parameters. Show your children new ways of discovering the world such as through hiking, painting, writing, and wandering.
Parenting is never easy, but it can certainly be rewarding. The proudest moment of a parent’s life is when he or she raises a successful, caring, happy and healthy child. These six tips will help to make that complex process a little easier.
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