A lot of parents tend to overthink about what to do with their kids, but the most important thing to the child is to spend time with them regardless of the activities. Kids won't remember every little thing you did with them, but they'll remember what you didn't do with them, or when you weren't there for their sporting event. The worst thing you can do is to ignore your kid or never spend any actual time with them, their assumption will be that they aren't good enough and leads to multiple issues.
How many of you have sat down and had a real conversation with a child where you didn't talk to them like a child? They are constantly thinking and trying to figure out the world around them, and they learn MUCH quicker than adults do. Children usually can't just learn something on their own though, if you teach children to do real things they'll learn real things. Treat a child like a child, they'll act like a child, treat them like an adult they'll act like an adult. It seems so simple, but it's true, same with adults, talk to them like a child they'll act like a child.
Children may not be able to learn skills naturally, but they are naturally VERY good at watching, listening, and interpreting. They pick up body language and certain cues that tell them what's really going on. Children don't know spoken language very well but they are masters at body language. They can feel it if you're stressed or upset, it in turn makes them feel stressed or upset. You have to be as positive as possible around your kids, but you don't want to hide other emotions all the time.
Being honest about most everything is very important to establishing trust for the future. If your teenager is rebelling, one factor could be them learning white lies you told them as a child weren't true. That can lead to questioning everything you've said and rebelling against you, this isn't the only factor but it plays a big deal. Teenagers just need someone to talk to and trusting you is incredibly important to maintain a healthy relationship in that time. If your kid ask you something that they shouldn't know about yet, just be honest because they likely won't know what you're even talking about and move on. They'd do the same if you lied, but they'll eventually know you lied, it's pretty rare that kids don't eventually figure out lies they were told as a kid.
Mistakes are the absolute best way to learn something, if you fail at something you know what doesn't work so you can try again. Kids who's parents did everything for them as a child become helpless adults, and most of us know people like that. You don't want you kid to be that college freshman that doesn't know how to do laundry or do anything to support themselves. There's plenty of adults like that in America today, spoiled growing up, parents did everything for them. It's perfectly healthy to allow your kid to make mistakes, the goal is to let them make little mistakes while preventing them from making BIG mistakes. Getting cuts and scrapes is part of being a kid, but you want to do your best to prevent them from breaking a bone, or worse. Life doesn't do everything for you when you get older, the government can't take of you, and life will throw more than cuts or scrapes your way. You allow kids to make mistakes and learn how to overcome them is a CRUCIAL skill for their development.
There are more toxic foods than not at this point, almost all the food in your chain grocery store has some sort of toxic chemical in it. Some worse than others obviously, but it's become like driving a tank through a minefield. Avoid giving formula to your child at all costs, it's made with GMO soy, corn, and other toxic ingredients that destroys your child's gut and leads to colic and numerous other health problems. I've found that so much of the food that marketed/made for children has high amounts of sugar, and numerous harmful GMO ingredients. Do everything you can to breastfeed your children, ensure your own health to give your child the purest breastmilk possible. Do a full detox before you get pregnant to remove any chemicals or toxins in your body that you would pass onto your child, or cause birth defects. This is an excellent article from Harvard that discusses a number of toxic additives and chemicals that are common in food, many are in all foods not just children's food. You should also pay attention to these for yourself as well, you have to stay healthy and set a good example for your child in the future. As for you the parent, be aware of what's in your body pre-conception as many toxic chemicals are passed to the child in utero. This should tell you all you need to know about the state of chemicals in our bodies today https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2005/12/toxi-d07.html
All too often, it is assumed that young men do not want to be involved in their children’s lives. This perception can prevent young fathers from being involved in decision making regarding the young man’s baby. The reality is that most teen fathers do want to be involved in their child’s life and are concerned about their child’s future; they just need to be given a chance to grow in the role as a father. ” Due to a number of factors, many young dads will never receive adequate support or opportunity to develop a relationship with his child.
The Link listed below is a very interesting article about fatherhood from The Telegraph, please read.
The National Center for Fathering - http://www.fathers.com/statistics-and-research/the-extent-of-fatherlessness/
63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (U.S. Dept. Of Health/Census) – 5 times the average.
90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes – 32 times the average.
85% of all children who show behavior disorders come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average. (Center for Disease Control)
80% of rapists with anger problems come from fatherless homes –14 times the average. (Justice & Behavior, Vol. 14, p. 403-26)
71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average. (National Principals Association Report)
Father Factor in Education – Fatherless children are twice as likely to drop out of school.
Children with Fathers who are involved are 40% less likely to repeat a grade in school.
Children with Fathers who are involved are 70% less likely to drop out of school.5% of all adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes – 10 times the average.
Father factor in Drug and Alcohol Abuse – Researchers at Columbia University found that children living in a two-parent household with a poor relationship with their father are 68% more likely to smoke, drink, or use drugs compared to all teens in two-parent households. Teens in single mother households are at a 30% higher risk than those in two-parent households.
70% of youths in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes – 9 times the average. (U.S. Dept. of Justice, Sept. 1988)
85% of all youths in prison come from fatherless homes – 20 times the average. (Fulton Co. Georgia, Texas Dept. of Correction)
Father Factor in Incarceration – Even after controlling for income, youths in father-absent households still had significantly higher odds of incarceration than those in mother-father families. Youths who never had a father in the household experienced the highest odds. A 2002 Department of Justice survey of 7,000 inmates revealed that 39% of jail inmates lived in mother-only households. Approximately 46% of jail inmates in 2002 had a previously incarcerated family member. One-fifth experienced a father in prison or jail.
Father Factor in Crime – A study of 109 juvenile offenders indicated that family structure significantly predicts delinquency. Adolescents, particularly boys, in single-parent families were at higher risk of status, property and person delinquencies. Moreover, students attending schools with a high proportion of children of single parents are also at risk. A study of 13,986 women in prison showed that more than half grew up without their father. 42% grew up in a single-mother household and 16% lived with neither parent.
Father Factor in Child Abuse – Compared to living with both parents, living in a single-parent home doubles the risk that a child will suffer physical, emotional, or educational neglect. The overall rate of child abuse and neglect in single-parent households is 27.3 children for every 1,000, whereas the rate of overall maltreatment in two-parent households is 15.5 for every 1,000.
Daughters of single parents without a Father involved are 53% more likely to marry as teenagers, 711% more likely to have children as teenagers, 164% more likely to have a pre-marital birth and 92% more likely to get divorced themselves.
Adolescent girls raised in a 2 parent home with involved Fathers are significantly less likely to be sexually active than girls raised without involved Fathers.
43% of U.S. children live without their father [U.S. Department of Census]
Children with involved, loving fathers are significantly more likely to do well in school, have healthy self-esteem, exhibit empathy and pro-social behavior, and avoid high-risk behaviors such as drug use, truancy, and criminal activity compared to children who have uninvolved fathers.
Studies on parent-child relationships and child wellbeing show that father love is an important factor in predicting the social, emotional, and cognitive development and functioning of children and young adults.
24 million children (34%) live absent their biological father.
Nearly 20 million children (27%) live in single-parent homes.
43% of first marriages dissolve within fifteen years; about 60% of divorcing couples have children; and approximately one million children each year experience the divorce of their parents.
Fathers who live with their children are more likely to have a close, enduring relationship with their children than those who do not.
Compared to children born within marriage, children born to cohabiting parents are three times as likely to experience father absence, and children born to unmarried, non-cohabiting parents are four times as likely to live in a father-absent home.
About 40% of children in father-absent homes have not seen their father at all during the past year; 26% of absent
fathers live in a different state than their children; and 50% of children living absent their father have never set foot in their father’s home.
Children who live absent their biological fathers are, on average, at least two to three times more likely to be poor, to use drugs, to experience educational, health, emotional and behavioral problems, to be victims of child abuse, and to engage in criminal behavior than their peers who live with their married, biological (or adoptive) parents.
From 1995 to 2000, the proportion of children living in single-parent homes slightly declined, while the proportion of children living with two married parents remained stable.
Losing Your Temper- Anger is an easy way to assure that your kids will grow up to lash out on people they love, even though it can be difficult you MUST learn to maintain your temper at all times. IMPORTANT to not get angry with your child for something that was accidental, accidents happen all throughout life, and if you get angry with them for simple accidents , they wont come to you for help with bigger accidents or problems later in life. I know for a lot of people this is incredibly difficult, but if you learn to control your anger it will greatly benefit you and your children.
Physical Punishment- Older generations swear by this, but its parenting through pain and fear, your kids will come to fear you instead of actually respecting you, plus its child abuse so it shouldn't be done anyway.
Inconsistency- To take a page from the NFL, don't make random punishments for random things that don't make sense. If your child misbehaves, and 2 weeks later does it again, give the same punishment as you did before, BUT if its something that's ongoing and the behavior doesn't change, increase the punishment until it is corrected.
Bribery- NEVER bribe your children into doing something that they need to do anyway. This will incentivize them to not want to unless they receive something in return. You don't always get a reward for doing good things in life, but it does come back around eventually. Teach your kids to do what's right at all times regardless of personal gain.
Unconnected Consequences- Children respond best when the consequences of their behavior seem to naturally flow. For example, staying out past curfew should have a consequence such as coming in earlier the following weekend. If the child proves that they cannot be trusted to live with a curfew, then they have to rebuild that trust over time. Try to find natural consequences. A child who punches a hole in a wall during a fit of anger could incur the logical consequence of having to pay to repair it or repair it themselves. When the consequence does not fit the infraction, the lessons are not always learned.
Confusing Roles-Always make it known that you are the parent and they are the child, but NOT in a authoritarian type of way. But in the sense that you are older and wiser and have made mistakes that will give the kids good lessons to be learned. This can be incredibly difficult, but staying consistent is important for this.
**Imposing Excessive Guilt- Trying to use guilt almost always backfires. "I slave my life away for you, and you can't even clear your dishes off the table," and similar statements should be avoided. If you make a child feel responsible for things that go wrong in your life, you are acting like a codependent, not a parent. Stay away from the guilt trips and just impose consequences relative to their actions.
**Comparing to Others- “So and so got good grades why didn't you" You must avoid statements like this at all costs, it makes the child feel inadequate and that they’re a disappointment. While it may occasionally be good to reference other children when talking to your child, directly comparing your child to others will not help them.
Not allowing your child to fail-It’s important to let your kid fail, failure is part of the process, cant overprotect from everything, they must learn their own lessons. If they get out to the world and encounter a problem, they won’t be able to handle it and will likely just shut down or have an anxiety attack. You more you “protect” your child, the more you’re setting them up for failure as an adult. Now you much find balance with this like all other things, help out enough to reassure them that you love them, but not so much that they aren’t able to overcome problems on their own.
Use authoritative parenting, the most comprehensive of the "4 styles". For this style you're using a combination of demanding, and supportive. The opposite being uninvolved/neglectful, which is undemanding, and unsupportive. Many parents use an authoritarian style parenting, which the parent demands respect and doesn't try to earn it, this is VERY common among parents and has been for a very long time. There has to be mutual trust, mutual respect, for a healthy parent-child relationship to work.
Have actual conversations with your children. Too many parents get caught in the trap of talking to their children, like children. Which may seem obvious at first, but at a point if you treat your child like a child, they will act like a child. Treat them as an adult, they will act like an adult. I'm not saying dump a bunch of adult problems on your 7 year old and expect them to understand, but converse with your kids as you would another adult. Children are usually open books and if you get on their level and actually talk to them, you'll realize how intelligent they really are. Children pick up on things MUCH faster than adults (besides complex stuff obviously), you'll be shocked how much your children are actually aware of. Also when you have a real conversation with your children, they'll be more likely to come to you when they have problems or just want to talk later in life.
Give constructive criticism when they do something wrong, and praise when they do something good, but not too much of either. This one is very difficult, as we tend to focus on what is wrong rather than what's good. If we criticize too much the child the child will lose confidence, if we praise too much they get a big head. This is something that is almost never perfect and requires constant reassessing on your part as the parent. You also don't want to criticize just to balance out too much praise though, if they're being praised too much, challenge them more. Children need to be challenged or they'll give up when times get difficult later in life.