As I mentioned in last week’s blog, many children today lack boundaries, consequences, and consistency as they grow up. At this time of the year, many of us become all too aware that we overindulge our children. Our society feeds the irresponsibility of our children with a lack of accountability, acceptance of poor decisions and easy accessibility to damaging choices. Unfortunately, overly emotionally invested parents and excessive care-taking prevents children from experiencing the satisfaction of learning self-care skills. As the children become young adults, many are emotionally immature, have not learned responsibility, and feel entitled to special privileges. So what can be done?
Obviously, sooner is better than later when it comes to changing children’s behaviors, but it’s never too late. For starters, provide your children with structure and consistency, probably some of the best gifts you can give them. Consistent mealtime/bedtime, daily chores, consistent rules/discipline, consequences for misbehavior, and praising specific positive behaviors will help create security and stability in your family. Remember our children are like sponges, so be sure to model responsibility, healthy conflict resolution, and positive self-worth. We should expect accountability from our children by teaching them that for every action there is a reaction. Teach your children healthy ways to express their emotions and validate their feelings. Lastly, encourage ownership by allowing them to complete their own projects while we provide guidance and encouragement.
Our children will positively mature when we avoid micromanaging through overprotectiveness or providing no direction and then being intolerant of failure. When their achievements are a result of their efforts, internal confidence will emerge. The greatest gift that you can give is allowing them to fail, but continuing to love them. People grow the most during times of hardship; don’t take away the opportunity for growth.