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Parenting in the 21st century – Part 2

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Like we started to examine last week, parenting in this information age is challenging, as it requires almost a total departure from the way we were brought up. Another thing is the fact that what our children now know; we never knew when we were at the same age. In our time, a 10-year-old child would just be starting primary school. But today, children aged 10 years and sometimes younger; are already in secondary school.

Therefore, it will only end in frustration, if we attempt to do things the way our parents did them. We need to know that the principles for parenting may never change, but the methods have to take cognisance of the prevailing circumstances we live in today.

Seven steps in parenting:
• Know your children: It is important to realise that, even if you have identical twins, there will be some differences in their strengths and weaknesses. It will be wrong to compare your children with one another because they are bound to have different temperaments and attitudes. So, wisdom demands that you know them well enough to help them harness their strength, while also helping them to overcome their weaknesses. Find out what they like to do and encourage them to be the best they can be.

• Spend quality time with them: Some of the most treasured memories of children are the time their parents spend with them. Most men think that buying gifts for them can replace the time you should spend with them, but this is an error.

• Talk with your kids: Establishing good communication with your children will go a long way to help you forge a healthy relationship with them. If your children cannot talk to you, they will be influenced by their peers, who will likely lead them astray. Ask them about their school, teachers, friends and their daily experiences and you will be amazed at what information you will garner.

• Help your kids do their homework. It is not so much as whether you know all the answers as the encouragement they have as you help them along. The mother of Dr. Ben Carson was not literate, but she helped her boys overcome their educational deficiencies. Today, Dr. Carson is a world-renowned Neuro-surgeon.

• Teach them to be responsible: This starts by giving them house chores to do. At a young age, teach them to make their beds; carry their plates to the kitchen and when they are older, make them responsible for something at home, such as clearing of garbage, among others, even if you have domestic staff.

• Teach them teamwork: One way to do this is by teaching your children to share their toys and things. Parents think that buying toys for each of the children will reduce quarreling, but what they forget is that in the real world, they must learn to share and cooperate with others. Sharing makes them bond better and it teaches them to accommodate one another.

• Teach them accountability: Let your children know that they will be held accountable for their actions. Rebuke when you need to rebuke; discipline when you need to do so, but also be generous with praise and gifts when they do well.

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