There is such a lot we need to teach our children and we have such a short space of time to do it. A key aspect of parenting is recognising that we have so many life lessons to share and working out which are the most important for our children at the varying stages of their lives.
These 5 are some of the most important life lessons to share with my kids – and you may find them useful too.
I’ve never believed that “school days are the best days of your life” because mine, frankly, were endured rather than enjoyed, but I do believe that if you stop learning, you stop growing as a person.
You may not need to understand glaciation or the digestive system of a rabbit but you are learning how to assimilate information, how to analyse and apply it.
When we get the inevitable “I don’t want to go to school” from the kids we gently explain that the subjects they are learning are like building blocks to a successful future.
That if they learn to read, they can learn anything. That if they want to do a job they love, they need to learn now.
As a general principle, this one stands the test of time.
Friendship and money do not mix.
That is not to say we would ever turn our backs on a friend in need but I think if you lend in those circumstances you are better off viewing the loan as a gift.
The kids are learning about money and the importance of saving at the moment.
They are also learning about deferred gratification.
The “I want it now” mentality has probably led an awful lot of people into the path of payday loans and a whole heap of credit card debt.
Yes, you have to stand up for yourself when someone is horrid to you but it helps to remember that happy, well-adjusted people usually don’t feel the need to bully, belittle or intimidate.
If we can all remember that then perhaps we can treat bad behaviour towards us with sympathy and even a bit of compassion rather than letting the sad person indulging in it push our buttons to shore up their frail egos.
With the kids, whilst we tell them firmly that they must not put up with other children being horrible to them, we also tell them that if a special friend has been grumpy or a bit off, it is not necessarily anything to do with them.
The flip side of this is that when we are in a bad mood it is very easy to take it out on other people.
As a family, we make a point of apologising when we need to, especially to the kids.
We need to model the behaviour we want our kids to adopt so, if I’ve been a bit grumpy, I will explain the reasons why to the kids and apologise.
This one is probably the most difficult of the lot.
There are so many horror stories in media that sometimes I can’t bear to read them.
Making the most of every day is one of the things I struggle with but sometimes you just have to sit down, breathe and say “this is where we are now, and it’s OK”.
The kids are always looking ahead to the next weekend, trip out, cinema visit or party and we gently remind them that we can have a good time NOW, today.
Do you have any life lessons to share with your children? What do you think of mine?