“I am a mother of two and while it is a beautiful journey, seeing them grow and turn into fabulous kids day by day, I have had my fair bit of challenges and I am sure there are more to come..

These articles that I am going to share are a part of my experiences as a mother, and I hope you can relate to them..”

– Divya Singh Vishwanath

Give your kids a voice

We all love our kids. We constantly strive to do what’s good for them. But at times our immense love for our kids, tends to curb their growth, especially when it comes to giving them a say in the family.

It’s not like we do it on purpose. It just happens because we are always thinking of their good and constantly trying to shield them from doing anything wrong. At times, everyday stress also makes us a little impatient and we want to deal with things as quickly as possible.

Well, any of that is not good.

Giving kids a say in everyday life decisions is an absolute must.

It builds stronger family bonds and stronger relationships.

They will respect you more, will be more cooperative, more adjusting, and their problem-solving abilities will develop (this is very important for them as they become older).

I have two kids and as they were growing up, I had to fight the constant urge to take over their lives every now and then. It was not easy for me to let go and I am sure it’s the same with most parents. Every few days, I would tell myself why I need to let my kids use their voice, make decisions, take ownership and responsibility of their decisions, and at least give them a good shot at solving their problems.

Soon it became a way of life and I started to see its benefits.

It’s really not that difficult. If I could do it, so can you.

Just remember a few things-

Be consistent. Don’t give them choices once and next time, force your decision down their throat. They will rebel and protest and whine and might even throw a tantrum. This is because they are confused. It’s their way of finding out how much they can push their parents, how much they can get away with and how much power they have over their parents. So, stick to being consistent.

While I say this, a little flexibility is also good. It brings a much-needed excitement and change to everyday life.  But let them know it’s a one-off situation and not a day today thing.

Limit the choices you give them. I stick to two choices and very rarely three. If it’s a movie, I give them two names, they choose one or stay without watching.  If it’s a restaurant we are going to, name two and they pick one. This will make them decisive, cooperative and flexible. Also, too many choices overwhelm them. Where my kids are concerned, too many choices, especially where a movie or a restaurant is concerned, always ends up in a fight and tears L

While giving them choices, I always keep in mind what their likes and dislikes are. After all they need to have fun too.

A child’s free time is their time. Let them do what they want to do in that time. Kids need to be kids. They need to make some mess, have fun, dirty a bit, or just not do anything and  blank out for a while. It’s good for them. They need space just as we do.

Stay a parent. Parents are supposed to bring structure to a family and take all the major family decisions. Stick to that. Giving kids their voice/say doesn’t mean they are going to decide which house to buy or which school they should go to. They are not mature enough to make such decisions. Plus, this will put a lot of pressure on them, which is not good for any child. I personally feel that asking them to tale decisions like these force them to grow up too soon and that’s not good and also not fair to them.

Give them responsibility. I have, since beginning, assigned a few chores which my kids have to do every day. It’s a must. It could be any task, like clearing the table after a meal or filling the bottles or walking the dog once a day, but it is assigned to them. This makes them feel involved and they realise that family and home is their responsibility too. This leads to stronger family bonds, cooperation and ownership.

Saw this poster, while searching the net for more things to read (blame it on my voracious appetite for any printed article which is slowly turning me into a cockroach I think)and it felt so apt for what we as parents want for our kids, and so sharing with you.

Teach them to solve their own problems. Like any of us, kids have problems too. It can be as small as the pencil in their stationary box not writing well, but in their mind, it’s a big thing. Talking to them always helps. But don’t go around giving them the solution. What I always do with my kids is talk to them about the problem and then ask them about ways that the issue could be solved. It has to be their idea. My kids come up with various solutions and options and there are lots of questions and doubts, exchange of idea and at times tears, but the problem is mostly resolved. If I don’t see a solution coming, I do suggest a few options, but it’s always their decision. Kids at times hit a blind spot and we need to help them out.

Appreciate them for their efforts and praise their choices. Raising my kids, I have realised that these small phrases like ‘good job’ or ‘good choice’ or “thank you for doing this’ go a long way.  They do wonders for a child’s confidence and self-esteem and they grow up to be responsible and balanced adults and they learn appreciate others for their efforts.

Hope this article was helpful.

Whatever I have written is my take from bringing up my kids and what I do as a parent.

I am not an expert, just a mother, sharing my stories with you.

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Thank you for reading! 🙂

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