Raising happy and healthy children

happy home

They say when a child is born, a mother is automatically born; a father is born. I want to believe that just as the child learns through milestone development, the parents learn, too, by different unfolding to manage situations to the best of their capabilities and knowledge. After all, there are no cut rules to parenting and raising wholesome children. We cry together through it. We laugh together through it. We get some right and pat ourselves on the back while we wish we did others differently. In all, with good intentions, we aim to raise happy healthy children and give them a little extra than what we had from our own parents. This doesn’t mean we get it right all the time, yet beating up ourselves about the wrongs doesn’t make the next decision about them right. The joy in parenting is putting our energy into getting it right eventually which might not manifest till much later. Like the Bible says “a wise decision isn’t judged right until it eventually produces the right results”.

I would say children are perfect undeserved reward from God. This is because as undeserving and wicked as our nature is, God still entrust an innocent life with us. I believe He intentionally does this to help us tame our wickedness and help us become beings that show unconditional love to a part of Him which we are unaware of. The song writer says when Mary kissed the face of her baby boy, she kissed the face of God. I listen to that and it makes me want to hold and kiss my little babies every time because I need to believe I can affect God by doing that.

However, there is more to raising children than just adoring them by the day. There’s first the need to be a happy and healthy parent to be able to raise such kind of children. To this effect, there are series of things to put in mind as a parent who want to put the right energy into raising happy healthy children. First, lighten up! Don’t take everything too seriously with children. Joking with your child helps set them up for social success, they don’t have to be too afraid to try new things. When parents joke and pretend, it gives children tools to think creatively, make friends and manage anxiety. Keep in mind too that parents who express negative emotions toward their children or handle them roughly are likely to find themselves with aggressive children sooner or later. That’s bad news because behavioural aggression at the milestone age of 5 is linked to aggression much later in life and that won’t augur well for anyone, not the child, not the parents, not even their future spouses and this can in turn be transferred through generations. No one really wants to breed generations of angry children.

Parental guilt is of a separate industry to be avoided. Once a parent finds it difficult to swiftly recover from guilt, it sets the pace for many more mishaps and ultimately giving up on trying getting it right again. Self-compassion is a very important life skill. It helps people stay resilient in the face of challenges. In this way, we can face almost anything and be better for it. This is a tool parents need to adopt in becoming a strong and loving being to themselves and to their children. Self-compassion is made up of mindfulness; it is the ability to manage thoughts and emotions without being carried away or repressing them for future disaster. It is a self-kindness, recognition of your own suffering and a commitment to solving problems. This is easier said than done as there are issues that weigh us down and make it difficult to be at our maximum love energy but life itself is a learning phase. We get stronger and wiser with every trying situation. Parents can also use self-compassion when coping with difficulties in child-rearing. We all know how tasking and deteriorating child bearing and rearing can be especially in the lives of women. Self-compassion will make the process worth it.

Suffice to note at this point however, if you’re a parent with a significant other, it is imperative not to let your relationship with your spouse fall by the wayside when the babies start coming along with the many challenges of raising them. Believe it or not, parents who suffer from constant conflicts or marital instability, say contemplating divorce for instance, may be setting their children up for an even worse future than they ordinarily want to. If you suspect you might be depressed, please get help for your own sake and your children’s. Scientists suggests that depressed mothers struggle with parenting and even show muted responses to their babies’ or toddler’s cries compared with healthy mothers. I can say I agree with this suggestion. It takes a lot to be in the moment especially in the midst of chaos. Depressed mothers will undoubtedly not have the most or best parenting styles to offer and this may contribute to their children’s disturbed happy healthy development.

I respect husbands who treat their wives like queens and princess. As far as I’m concerned it tells a lot about how that man was raised; it takes a queen to raise a prince and be taught to treat women like princesses. This chain of respect and affection starts with boys’ close relationship with their mothers. It can help keep boys from misbehaving to a large extent. A warm, attached relationship with mothers seems important in preventing behavioural problems in boys. “Parents’ relationships with their children are extremely important and that’s how we develop our ability to have successful relationships as adults, our parents are our models,” study researcher Constance Gager, of Montclair State University in New Jersey, said. “So if kids are not feeling close with their parents then they’re probably not going to model the positive aspects of that relationship when they reach adulthood.” Hmm.

Remember, nobody’s perfect, so don’t torture yourself with an impossibly high bar for parenting success. Make an effort to ignore the pressure, and you may find yourself a more relaxed parent. Everyone thinks they know the best way to raise a child. But it turns out that parenting is not one-size-fits-all. In fact, children whose parents tailor their parenting style to the child’s personality have half the anxiety and depression of their peers with more rigid parents. So relax and enjoy parenting. It turns out that some children, especially those with trouble regulating their emotions, might need a little extra attention. Then it’s fine. Otherwise, don’t form the habit of being a hovering parent. Parents can inadvertently hurt well-adjusted children with too much hovering. So you might want to know your child personally to work well with what’s best for that child.

So many responsibilities to keep in mind but raising happy and healthy children is possible if you let go of your wrongs and embrace the gift of parenting in the first place.

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