The challenges faced by any parent of raising a well-balanced child have always been a tricky juggling act, but in this modern age the task comes with new factors to bear in mind.
The key basics of providing a loving and stable family life are critical to form a solid basis for your child to develop. Promoting a healthy diet and lifestyle, encouraging your child to read, and spending family-focused time together are all essential, but what else can you do to help your child be more astute?
Every child should have the freedom to have their own ambitions, and it should be our role as parents to inspire our children to aim high. Offer every opportunity to expose your children to the breadth of what they can achieve and inspire them to reach these dreams.
Positive encouragement and praise are essential to support your child, but remember that it is effort that should be rewarded. Your child should strive to stretch themselves, and they can only do this with a “can-do” attitude. Researchers at Stanford University have suggested that once you label your child as “talented” or “special”, they are less likely to take on new challenges. Leading by example is the best way to inspire your child.
It is tempting to shelter our children from many aspects of the wider world, but in doing so, this decision can often limit their experiences. It stands to reason that you can only raise a well-rounded child by offering them a broad exposure to the world.
Encountering a diverse mix of cultures, arts, technologies, and experiences encourages development of critical thinking as well as offering eclectic learning opportunities.
Just remember that you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. Experiences of an important art exhibition, a vacation to Egypt, or enrolling in a culturally diverse Hong Kong international school should be a shared one, so get involved. Don’t ignore the importance that popular culture or more simple exposure can have on this process. Visiting a retirement home to spend time with the older generation can be just as enriching as a trip to a museum.
The key to achieving balance in any situation is one of moderation, and parenting is no different. Applied to all aspects of your child’s life, moderation is a good way to teach your children about self-control as well as indulgence. Treats, snacks, and playtime must all be balanced with chores, healthy eating, and study time.
Of course, there are always occasions when moderation must go out of the window, but this should be a counterpoint to a stable grounding. Children who are secure in the rules and the expectations placed on their behavior are more likely to be confident and happy.
Being a parent is an important job, but we often fail to remember that a key component of this rewarding role is one of learning. From an early age, we should remember that our child is also teaching us. All relationships require understanding, and only by discovering your child’s world can you expect to appreciate their experience of it.
Spend time together with your child, and listen to them. Promote discussion about their life so that you can understand how they view themselves and their experiences.
Parenting isn’t always an easy journey, and the best laid plans can always come unstuck, so the last piece of advice is to be patient and consistent. Children need to feel safe if they are to flourish, and both constancy and tolerance are needed to create this environment.