Don’t Cave into Them!!! Sometimes there are things in life we’re just not prepared for…like when you’re sitting at the table with your very well-behaved straight-A almost 7-year old having a snack, and she hits you with, “Mom, can we go get some of that glitter eye stuff today?” Your head is spinning, your mouth is agape…you didn’t expect to have this conversation for another four years!
Our children find these newfangled things irresistible, and we must not underestimate pester power. When they start wanting things that are outside your bounds of decency, here are a few points to consider:
- Teach your kids morals and values important to your family. We assume that our children will sort of “inherit” our value system. But because morals and values are such intangibles, we need to make it a point to actually teach children what they are and, more importantly, why we value them.
- Know your role in the parent-child relationship. Young children are still developing a sense of self-control. They are looking to us, as parents, to rein in these inappropriate impulses. They are testing us and asking if we know where the limits are, and, believe it or not, they feel much more secure when the rules are enforced.
- Set a good example. From an early age, our kids watch, listen and observe our every move. They process it into what becomes part of their perceptions and realities. It’s important for mothers to recognize that we are our daughter’s first and most potent role model. We must be aware of how we dress, and what we watch, read and listen to as well as what we think is important.
- Know what your kids are into and why. Parents are so busy that we don’t take time to understand our children’s worlds. They want a toy, we buy it — sometimes not knowing who the character is or what it does. When junior really wants something, find out what the motivation is.
- Be very aware of your child’s media consumption. Keep TVs, computers and video games out of bedrooms. Make it a rule for all screen time to take place in family areas. While it’s tempting to use the TV as a sitter, make sure you know what’s on.
- Let kids be kids. Our children are bombarded with media images of who they’re supposed to be. But if they’re given ample time to be kids and encourage to have a childhood full of wonder, they’ll enjoy being a child and prolong the experience.
- Allow your kids to make choices at an early age. Making everyday decisions, such as what to have for breakfast or what book to read at bedtime, is a powerful way for your child to build confidence and self-esteem. Making decisions in small doses and having a little control over their lives helps children to not feel overwhelmed when faced with bigger choices.
- Ensure that the power of family life outweighs the power of peers. It’s critical to make family time a priority to show that family always comes first. Create traditions, such as family game night, one a month to bolster your child’s self-esteem. As kids get older, the influence of peer groups gets stronger. A confident child will be less likely to cave under peer pressure.