If gratitude us such an important quality in life, how to you rear children to experience this in their lives. I have a series of three articles, each with a different slant and a bit repetitious, that give guidelines for parents on how to do this.
Each child is an individual. There is no "cookie cutter" formula that works for every child. Children come into this world with their own unique genetic makeup, temperament, personality and challenges.
Each child learns differently and has particular needs. Successful parenting requires enough time, energy, structure and close attention to know each child as an individual. Here are a few pointers for teaching your child responsibility.
1. Draw on your bank account of love. Build on the attachment bond gained through meeting their needs. Then don't be afraid to be strong when there are problems. Sometimes it is unpleasant. Don't be afraid of their displeasure or rejection. Remember it is only temporary.
2. Be a good example. Work has meaning and rewards. Talk about the excitement and challenge of your own work and point out the work you do for the family. Children need to see their parents' work as a contribution to family life, not as a burden or a source of isolation and distance.
3. Teach them basic principles. Explain the purpose and meaning of why certain activities are important. Take time to reason with them. Listen to them. Be clear about standards of responsible behavior, i.e., alcohol and drug use, sexual behavior, automobile use, respect for the law and control of temper.
4. Give them responsibilities to teach them responsibility. Teach them while they are young. Be sure to give them tasks that are appropriate for their age and development. This takes gentleness, energy, time and commitment. Work along side of them. Teach them your standards and help them to take pride in their work. Make family fun a part of their reward. "When the job is finished, we will get to do . . ."
5. Hold children accountable for quality and completion of work. This will take follow through and consequences. The rules and consequences need to be discussed and clearly understood. Consequences need to be applied consistently in a matter-of-fact fashion. Positive reinforcement such as approval, praise, recognition, privileges and material rewards help create work habits.
Work comes before play. There are many diversions and entertainments that can interfere with chores and homework. Watch out for slippery kids. Stay with it. Split up responsibilities so children can be held accountable individually for their actions.
6. Don't over commit or over schedule them. They need time to be responsible in the home. They need to be responsible for things other than what is in their own self-interest. Teach cooperation and working for the good of the group while they are young. After about age 14, they will be caught up in their own activities. At that point, they need to take more and more responsibility for themselves.
7. Minimize conflict. Mistakes should be treated as learning experiences. Some mistakes should be made while children are in the home. Allow for freedom of decision-making. Encourage and support them. Help them set goals and evaluate their own behavior.
Pick your battles. Help them have good memories of childhood. Don't go overboard on teaching responsibility at the expense of your relationship with them. Children need balanced lives with time for play, relaxation, friendships and recreation.
8. Encourage interests and activities. Give them opportunities to develop work habits that develop talents and skill-building activities such as music, art, sports, drama and other forms of competence. Children make sacrifices and learn self-discipline in order to meet their obligations to the team, teacher or group. Likewise, participation with youth groups such as Boys Scouts, 4-H, FFA, church groups, etc., helps build responsibility and leadership.
9. Be an advocate with the school to insure successful experiences. Be aware of your child’s homework and level of accomplishment. Give constructive help early so he or she will not fall behind.
10. Teach them the value of money. Children need to know how much work is involved in making money. Don't give them too much. Let them work for perks and extras and share in purchasing items they really want. Help them see the difference between needs and wants.
Let them share in gift giving in the family with their own resources. They need to learn the principle of sacrifice and delayed gratification. An allowance can be an effective tool for helping children learn to manage money. Competitive employment has its own discipline and requirements for responsibility. It also provides income that they can budget and provide for their own wants.
11. Teach them respect for property. They need to return what they borrow, take responsibility for any damage on items being returned or for any losses. They need to ask permission before using something that isn't theirs.
12. Give them opportunities to serve others, especially the less fortunate, outside of the home. This will also let them gain a perspective on their own lives and the relative value of their blessings and privileges.
All these points shade into related topics such as teaching children to care about others, respect for authority, teaching morality and values, openness and honesty in communications and self control.
Parenting is the most complex and demanding responsibility adults have - and potentially one of the most rewarding when children finally reach adulthood. The hard work, hassle and uncertainty fade into memory and are supplanted by joy in posterity and warmth of family connection. It is worth it.
Copyright 2008 Val Farmer
Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
|War Memorial Park|
Besides some of the projects we are doing in helping our daughter Tally prepare for a move to Pennsylvania, we took the time to go to a water recreation area in War Memorial Park in Little Rock, Arkansas. It is a favorite spot for children.
|Water fun - Elena and Juliana are in the foreground|
On Memorial Day we went to Pinnacle Mountain State Park located on the outskirts of Little Rock for a picnic and a hike.
We also went to a little lake sitting on a rock quarry where paddle boats could be rented. Unfortunately by the time we decided to do that, it was too late to rent a paddle boat.
|"Too bad, so sad" - Granddad|
Here are some photos we took of the grandchildren during these two outings.
More water park scenes
|Three girls at the top of the water slide|
|Three girls come tumbling out|
|Darlene listening to an audio book|
More hiking scenes
|Elena dressed in camoflauge for this nature hike|
I am adding an article on gratitude that also fits in with the Memorial Day holiday and War Memorial Park.
Feeling and expressing gratitude.
- recognize when good things happen to them.
- feel gratitude more intensely when something good happens.
- feel gratitude many times during the day for the simplest acts of kindness or politeness.
- feel grateful for a number of things at any one time. They feel grateful for their families, jobs, health, and friends, along with the specific positive benefits they perceive.
- see how the efforts of others contribute to their happiness. Not only that, but they also make the connection between how many people’s efforts contribute to the good outcomes in their lives.
Less grateful people focus narrowly on just one or two people for the same outcome. Grateful people don’t discount their own efforts. They stretch their appreciation to include other causes and contributions for their success.
McCullough found that gratitude isn’t confined to those with formalized religious faith but is also shared by those who have a sense of the divine and spirituality in the Universe and believe in the interconnection of all living things.
|"Tak" - Mongolia -"Bayarthla"|
Wednesday, May 21, 2014
|We miss Mongolia|
We also plan on converting our blog - especially our photographs - for a book to be published. It will be primarily for the family but also for others who may be interested.
There might be two versions; one describing our mission experiences in some detail and another showing the beautiful and unique nature of Mongolia with its people, landscape and culture.
|Russian church in Inner Mongolia - photo from China News Service|
Did I mention I am getting tutoring lessons on how to use my new phone from my nine year old granddaughter, Elena?
I will share an article I wrote for high school and college graduates. At some point I will convert our blog on Mongolia into something new but not yet.
Guideposts For Graduates
Sunday, May 11, 2014
Confessions Of A Stay-At-Home Mom
by Dr. Val Farmer
|Our children - circa 1994|
Sunday, May 4, 2014
|Our high flying mission comes to an end with four of us senior couples having been dispersed to fly our separate ways|
Lots of work projects. We have been busy helping with yard projects, table refurbishing and staining, and clearing out the honeysuckle trees and bushes from the forest behind our daughter and son-in law's home.
We need to be busy and helpful and we've found a few ways of doing that for our two daughters and their families that live in St. Louis.
|Besides preparing a garden, I restacked their firewood and cleaned up a fire pit area|
|12 year old granddaughter Mariah just hit a single|
|Over 25,000 people came to the Air Show|
|This B-25 attracted a lot of attention|
|There was a Veteran's Motorcycle club to lead the parade|
|We sang the National Anthem to start the show. This flag was supported by a giant crane.|
|Chase donning the body armor and fighting gear|
|Alec ready for combat|
|Alec riding in an armored Humvee|
The Blue Angels were started after World War II as a recruitment device to attract pilots to Naval aviation.
|In the diamond formation, the wing to cockpit separation is 18 inches|
Wow!!! What a show. I was fortunate to get some good photographs of some of their maneuvers.
|Art in the sky|
There were three stunt pilots who displayed their aerobatic skills and several World War II planes.
Also Army Aviation Skydivers put on a demonstration of a Viet Nam era simulated helicopter rescue flight as a warm up for the Blue Angels.
The Blue Angels will perform in 35 cities this spring and summer and give 55 performances. The Blue Angels consist 6 F-18 Hornet planes and an additional demonstration of a C-130 Hercules cargo plane.
Not to be outdone by the stunt pilots, the Blue Angels tried some dangerous stunts of their own.
|Landing gears up or down as the case may be|
|Two planes flying upside down in formation|