The concept of guiding children
To guide children, to take on the responsibility. To balance the act of caring and protecting, yet leaving them room to spread their wings, allowing them to explore their skills as well as the world around them. We shouldn’t clip their wings.
We must tread carefully when raising our young ones, not stepping on their pride nor confidence, still providing the comfort, guidance and support they need to grow healthily.
Parenting is an important task. Perhaps the most important of all tasks.
Being a parent is a creative and developing process. We need to educate and show our children the ways of the world, yet allowing them to teach us too: about themselves, their experiences, their wants and needs. Finding out what they think and feel at the moment helps you support them where they need it.
This is about finding out e.g. where the whining comes from: tiredness, hunger, need for love and attention – or perhaps a fever? A Time-out won’t help either of you there. A hug will do better, for a start.
Parenting challenges us. It challenges our values and our temper. We need to practice our ability to organize things, explain things, to understand what the trouble really is about, and to stay calm, for example.
Allowing your child to try out different activities, even if they are not your preferred hobbies, will help you both finding out what interests and curiosities your child has, what their gifts to the world may be.
We need our children’s input, their understanding and feedback to understand them, because without understanding teaching usually fails.
No methods can cover all the situations you will be brought to task. It is your own child that stands before you, it is his or her needs you will have to identify and deal with. However: if you try to be a loving, attentively caring, respectful and patient role-model, things will generally turn out just fine. Now that’s easy isn’t it?
Sometimes it’s hard, to take on the full responsibility for another human being. We don’t know everything, there is no script for life to hold on to. Perhaps we hardly know where we are heading ourselves, so how on earth are we to lead the kids?
Well, we do know more than the newborn, quite helpless little baby in our arms. As parents we are held legally responsible for this new life, for its well being and health, its behavior and actions until it comes of age. Even then, it will be hard to let go, and so it should be. Once we decide to be parents (and yes, in a modern society it is a choice and a decision to make, every child should be wanted) we can’t transfer the responsibility to anyone else. Especially not to the little child that seeks the answers in you. Not even your nanny, pediatrician or kindergarden teacher can take on the responsibility of Your child – but they CAN help you out a lot.
Somewhere in the dark we fumble our way forward. It can feel good to have some guiding principles. Wherever we wander our way forward we can’t go much wrong if we stick to these:
They are our moral compasses that will help us stay on the right course.
The golden rule applies to parenting more than anything. Do not do to your kids what you don’t want them to do to you. And the other way around – treat them the way you want to be treated yourself. Possibly with love, care and respect.
Enter the world of role-modelling with your eyes open, knowing that you are the first person to teach your child what love, care and respect is. They learn by copying, initially. What do you really teach your child? It is more about what you do than what you say, really.
Children react to what you do, mostly trying to copy (e.g. cooking). Then they often get punished for it (e.g. when messing things up, because they can’t really cook just yet). We should consider why they act like they do, what causes unwanted behavior. Try to ask for, understand and be responsive to the underlying needs (for attention perhaps, closeness, love – or some peace and quiet?).
(Please click on the bold words above to follow future links that describes more in depth what these words mean when raising your child)