Do you ever forget how observant your children are, as you get wrapped up in the daily chores of managing a family and a home? Of course you do, we all do! But you should still try to be vigilant. You have to be a good Role Model to your child, not a perfect one, after all we are all human, but a good one!
How do you do this you may ask, and actually it is quite simple? You should start by setting your child a good example all the time. Boys particularly look up to their Dad, and copy what you do, after all, you are his idol, and everything you do matters to him. Your child’s behaviour will reflect the way you are and how you behave on a day to day basis.
If you are aggressive and short to everyone around you, and always shouting at people, expect your child to be the same. If you are calm and thoughtful to those around you, then your child will be so too. Remember, your children are what you make them, and are a reflection on the upbringing you give them. You must never forget this. So try to be the best possible role model, all the time.
Here are a few tips, but this list is not exhaustive:
- Work hard at what you do, whether paid or unpaid
- Be nice to people , even if they irritate you
- Be kind and polite to everyone you meet
- Be tolerant of other people’s differences with you
- Always help others if you are able to
- Never be aggressive, nasty or violent
- Be a good citizen, and respect the laws of the country
- Be a good listener, give your time to people you meet
- If you haven’t got anything nice to say about someone, then don’t say it all
Wouldn’t you like your child to do all these things, I certainly would? It’s not easy, but it is possible. You just have to remember to be a good role model to your child.
Don’t forget to kiss your child goodnight every night, otherwise it could be very costly, as I once found out. I had been to two interviews with a potential new employer, and was waiting for a phone call from the company to offer me the job. It was agreed that I would be called that evening.
I had just put my 3 year old child to bed when the phone rang. I rushed downstairs and grabbed the phone without thinking. I was so keen to be offered a new position. I picked up the phone and started speaking with the interviewer. After a couple of minutes, and when our conversation was in full flow, I heard “kiss me goodnight Daddy” being shouted out by my young child. It’s amazing how loud a child’s voice can be when they want something!
I tried to remain focussed on the call and continue ‘as normal’. Eventually after about 15 minutes of being distracted, (I thought the person on the other end of the phone couldn’t hear the shouting), the call was about to end. The person interviewing me said, “next time you should say goodnight to your child before you do a phone call like this”. I was shocked, and stumbled out some lame excuse, before saying goodbye to my interviewer.
I didn’t get the job, needless to say, so be warned!
How many times have you had to argue with your child when it is bed time, despite your child knowing exactly what time he is supposed to go to bed? However, as I’m sure you know, getting your child to finally go to bed, and on time, can be a real mission. But it doesn’t have to be! By giving your child a warning period of 15 minutes before he is due to go, it will avoid conflict and hassle when the time actually arrives.
First of all, you need to have introduced set bed times for your child from when he starts to go to nursery school. In any case he will need regular and sufficient sleep once he goes to school, as he will now be officially learning, and being academically educated. He needs to be fresh for school if he is to learn well, so bedtimes become very important.
Often your child will say to you, when it is time to go, “can I just finish this program or game”, or “I’m nearly finished”, or “just a few more minutes please”. Then it can easily escalate into an argument if you say no. But by using this method every night, it just becomes the normal routine, and non negotiable. It definitely makes your life easier and less stressful, and helps your child.
Do your children find you boring? If so, and you will know whether they do, you have to ask yourself why! There is always a risk that parents lose the ability to remain relevant to their children as they are growing up. This becomes particularly acute when your child becomes a teenager. So, the question is, how do you avoid this? Can you avoid it, or is it inevitable?
The answer is yes of course you can avoid this! It just takes effort and commitment, and a real desire on your part. The key to remaining relevant and avoiding becoming boring is to stay interested in what your children do, and become tolerant of their developing tastes.
This isn’t always easy, as their tastes in clothes, music, films and friends can be so different from yours. But you have to try, because if they perceive you as being boring and uninterested in what they do, they will stop communicating with you. The moment they do this, you will become irrelevant to their lives and just a peripheral figure floating around the edge of their existence!
This is to be avoided at all costs, as your children need you perhaps more than at any time in their lives when they become teenagers, as their points of reference are changing so quickly. You become the constant, but you have to adapt with them. But it is possible, so never give up trying …..
Very often a baby will take a few months to get into a routine and sleep the whole way through the night, and you will have to manage until he does. But there is a way that you and your partner can get a good nights sleep, albeit only six hours in one go. Share the load.
If at all possible, split the night into two parts, so both of you get a full five and a half hours uninterrupted sleep. The first shift is 9.00 pm to 2.30 am, and the second is from 2.30 am to 8.00 am. Whichever one of you is better at early mornings should do the second shift, and the other the first shift. It is not an exact science, but it really can give you some well earned rest. If neither one of you is particularly good early or late, then you will have to toss a coin!
This may only be needed for a few weeks, but could be for several months. Normally when he starts solid food this will become less of a problem. However, this saved our sanity when we had our first child, as he didn’t sleep through the night until he was 18 months old, waking 3 or 4 times every night.
If you plan it well and are disciplined with the time slots, it is possible to manage such short nights, so don’t worry….
Can your child really teach you anything as he grows up, or should it always be the other way round? When we first have children and decide to become parents, we are complete novices at it. We have no experience of handling our own baby, and make no mistake, it is completely different from dealing with other peoples children. So really we know nothing, and we are starting with a blank piece of paper!
So the moment your child is born is where you start the learning process. Even as you do the first feed, you baby will be teaching you what he likes, and the best way to feed him. This extends to bath time, and many other daily routines, and how he communicates to you the best way of playing with him.
Then as he gets a bit older, he will often be subliminally teaching you, and in fact will teach you a major life skill which will help you for the rest of your life. Your child will teach you to keep everything in life in perspective.
It doesn’t matter how stressful or tiring your day has been, when you walk into your house, and he jumps into your arms with that adoring smile and cheeky look in his eyes, you will realise that there is much more to life than just working, or chasing the money.
How often have you found yourself faced with an angry child, who just won’t listen to you, and starts screaming their head off? It has happened to me a few times, and is always very challenging to handle. But it is possible to manage this kind of situation, I can assure you, but it requires a lot of patience, control and effort.
The key is to remain calm and let them ‘blow off the steam’. Very often they will explode for something as simple as being asked to move their shoes which have been left at the bottom of the stairs. Or you walking in front of the TV when they are watching a program. If it interferes with what they are currently doing, it will particularly annoy them.
When they explode, and you feel your own frustration rising, take a step back. If you allow yourself to get angry, the situation will degenerate into a shouting match. They may only be 8, and still quite small, but it is amazing just how loud they can shout! When you feel this happening, step back and start counting to 10 slowly in your head, and never give them the satisfaction of seeing you lose your cool.
This will demonstrate to them that they cannot rile you, and you always remain calm in any situation. They want a reaction from you, but by not giving them one, they will learn that you are always in control. Once they have finished shouting, you can then calmly reiterate what you were saying to them.
If you behave like this, on the very rare occasion that you do actually feel the need to become angry, they will instantly know to back off, and comply with your request. Your controlled anger will always be a more effective strategy. It is a skill which needs to be practiced, as I’m sure you know how easy it is to lose your cool with your child. It took me a couple of years to find this strategy, after making many mistakes myself.
When we have children, we have an ideal as to how we want to bring them up. We remember what we liked about our own childhood and what we didn’t like. Then we resolve not to do what we didn’t find very pleasant when we were growing up. Now we have our own children, we believe, and feel able to make informed decisions about how we raise our own children, in relation to how we were brought up, but it is not so simple…..
Times change, and what worked really well for your parents 25 years ago, is sometimes completely irrelevant today. But there are a lot of things that still work today, just as well as they did in years gone by, such as learning to be polite and greet people when you meet. But then it also used to be that children ‘should be seen and not heard’. No longer! And thank goodness. Children can contribute so much to their parents lives, and the interaction between them and you is a vital part of constructing a mutually rewarding and meaningful relationship with them as they grow up.
It used to be acceptable for a child’s mum to do all the work raising him, and a dad would go out and earn the money. Not any more, if you are not involved fully as a dad, then you are really missing out. When you get back from work, or a day away, give your partner a break and immediately get ‘stuck in’ with your child. Play with him, change his nappy, feed him, wind him, or help with his homework, but make sure you do. Don’t be a ‘distant father’, there in thought but not deed….. Always remember, your child needs a fully involved dad like you, just as much as he needs his mum, and he will value that though out his entire life.