When it comes to raising kids every parent wants a child who will become self-disciplined and happy. Many parents wonder how to accomplish that goal. Luckily, researchers know a lot of the answers. Research studies have been studying children from the time they are born until adulthood for decades. The following are the five most important things researchers know.
1. Children need a secure attachment with at least one adult.
These secure attachments occur within the first year of life. This attachment occurs by listening and responding to your child’s needs. As your child gets older as their caregiver you continue to nurture a secure attachment by accepting your child for who they are. Parents who are unable to accept their child’s neediness, controlling, intrusive ways will less likely raise a securely attached child.
When children have close relationships with their parents it motivates them to cooperate and accept their parents’ recommendations and rules. If there is no bond, parents lose their influence as soon as their child begins interacting with peers to satisfy those needs they are looking for.
2. Children learn self-discipline from limits with empathy.
When raising a kid without limits they don’t get many opportunities to practice self-discipline. When children lack self-discipline skills they aren’t always considerate of others. Once children understand the importance of limits with their parents they feel understood, supported and connected. Having this exception makes it possible for children to live with the limits we set for them. But it is important that caregivers also accept when their child is upset about the limits they set. Children will build more self-discipline as they practice it.
3. The skill of self-soothing is essential for children to help manage their anxiety, emotions and behavior.
Children learn these skills by being soothed by their parents. If we leave children on their own when they are experiencing new feelings and emotions they will not learn how to work through it and self-soothe. Having these skills will make it easier for children to calm themselves throughout their lives. If your child is explosive, anxious, or dramatic they need extra skills to help.
4. Children can only manage their behavior when they can manage their emotions.
For children to be able to manage their emotions their parents need to accept the emotions they are experiencing. Human emotions are meant to be felt so they dissipate and leave us. When feelings are repressed they cause bad behavior. It is important for a child to feel safe and experience their upsets. If your child is uncooperative, angry or fearful take the time to witness their feelings and let them express themselves. Children who know their feelings are allowed to happen, don’t store them up. When your child is acting out s/he is indicated that they need help with their emotions.
5. Children learn what they live.
If a parent is considerate and respectful to their child, they become considerate and respectful to others. When a child is rude and inconsiderate it is because they learned it from elsewhere. If your child starts exhibiting these behaviors, sit down and calmly explain that is not acceptable. If you yell at your child, they learn to yell back at you.
It is not easy to parent this way. It requires you to manage your own emotions. That is the hardest work there is.
Parenting takes a lot of patience and work but if done right you are setting your child up for my success.
1. Psychology Today