Many children complain that they are unable to communicate with their parents because of ‘generation gap’, that their parents do not understand them and they would rather choose to hang out with their friends rather than the people who love them most. However, there are also plenty of families who are close-knit, where the parent-child bond is so strong and the children love being around their parents.
Why is that so? Many children cite the main reason as: having really cool parents. Below are the top 5 things that children find cool about their parents.
1. “They nag, but not incessantly.”
Have you ever heard the same song over and over again on the radio? Or listened to the same jingle played repeatedly at a store? It gets annoying after awhile, especially if the song is not one you would like to listen to, and the jingle is hardly appealing to the ears. When we tell our children something once, it is an instruction. Saying it twice is a reminder. Saying it the third time, is a nag. Anymore times, is a total drag. “Do this now. Do that now. Why are you doing this? Why are you not doing that? Stop this now. How many times must I tell you…?” Now, most children do know that their parents nag out of love, but they simply dislike it. Nagging is fine, just not too often, they say.
2. “They don’t harp on the mistakes I make nor put me down because of that.”
Imagine your superior picking on every smallest thing you have done or have not done. How does that make you feel? Do you feel motivated to work harder or is it a turn off instead? Similarly, when we nitpick at our child either out of good intentions or frustrations, it does not make your child feel empowered to do better. More often than not, they end up having this thought, “I’m not good enough. Nothing I do will ever be good enough.” Some will intentionally act up and rebel instead. What is more useful could then be to talk about the mistake, turn that into a learning moment and move on together, giving them the trust to make things right, to make things better the next time. Children do their best to live up to your expectations – good or bad.
3. “They do fun and crazy stuff with me, of which some are suggested by me!”
It is totally cool to bend the rules sometimes – from extension of sleeping hours to skipping school, to participating in unconventional activities together. Many children find breaking the rules thrilling, especially so when it is their rule-enforcing parents who are the ones who break them. Having an option of doing crazy things together sometimes creates excitement and bonding as a family. Acting on your child’s crazy suggestion will not only uplift their self-esteem, giving them a sense of pride, it will also help to make them feel important, that their words do matter. Why not take a chill pill today?
4. “They give me enough freedom.”
Many a times, we think we have the ability to make better decisions and feel that we are better able to make judgments, simply because ‘we have eaten more salt than they have eaten rice’ – that we know more about how the world is like, how life should be lived, and how it is all ‘for their own good’. Sometimes, this is indeed true. At the same time, freedom is one of the 5 most important emotional needs of human beings. By having almost every aspect of their life controlled – play time, friendships, sleeping time, food options, actions, decisions, etc, their freedom is being stripped away. You know as well as I do that nobody likes the feeling of being shackled. Question is, are we somehow restricting them in more ways than they would prefer? Can we give them just a little breather?
5. “They truly listen and communicate openly with me, without judging or insisting on having things their way.”
We love our close friends because they listen and give good advice without being pushy. We know that they will never judge us no matter what we do, that we can trust that they will be there for us no matter what happens. They will not force us to do things against our wishes; neither will they force their opinions and ideas on us. Likewise, we treat our closest friends with equal amount of respect and understanding. Our children are no different from us – they too need a listening ear free from judgment and criticisms; as well as a rational supporter who understands and gives sound advice.
Every child wants to feel loved, recognized and respected.
When children feel loved, they will behave right. Love them in the way they would like to be loved, allowing them to feel your love. That is the coolest thing any parent can ever do!
Andrea Chan, Senior Trainer (I Am Gifted!TM Programmes)