A woman recently posed this question on Reddit: “I’ve met a lot of people who come from a seemingly loving, two parent homes, are educated and by all accounts, technically, well adjusted,” the woman began. But she also notes that many of the individuals she met with this background have the same personality traits: entitled and overly sensitive.
With all these noted, she asks, “I’m just curious what are you doing differently to ensure your kids are able to develop good character, are able to function in different environments and around people who are different than them. I know theres the “do the best you can” and “hope for the best”. But what else can parents do?”
The responses are insightful:
You Can’t Please Everyone
“I’ve taught my children that you cannot please everyone and you will not like or enjoy everyone and this is ok. All that is required is civil behavior and that they will encounter people that they cannot stand in every point of their lives and to not let it rule them. Do not engage in toxic behavior just because you dislike someone.
Admit You’re Not Perfect
“Admit that parents aren’t perfect, own your mistakes, apologize. It doesn’t make you a weak parent, it makes you human and a good example of behavior you’d like your child to repeat.”
One person said modelling behavior is the best way to ensure children grow up to be decent human beings. “Model behavior. This is it. Model integrity. Honesty. Saying sorry. Forgiving others and letting it go. Speaking kindly. Setting boundaries. Validating feelings. And a thousand reminders a day about all that. My kids are still very young, but I’m in it for the long game.”
Do Basic Chores
Someone else said they are teaching their children to do basic chores such as cooking and cleaning, and another responded with this anecdote:
“My oldest is in college and utterly shocked by the amount of kids who can’t do basic chores. She goes to a very academically rigorous school so the kids are bright but surprisingly incompetent in other ways. She said the first month of school was filled with kids struggling with how to do their laundry. Even now she says the kitchen in the common area always has a least one kid looking up something simple like how to boil water. At least they are learning. Far too many adults enter the world not knowing how to cook, clean, or do laundry.”
“Set and stand by boundaries. When they go beyond the boundaries there are “consequences”, not “punishments”. This may be the hardest thing right here. I know people who are afraid to correct their children and the children just get more and more out of control.”
“Teach them how to regulate strong emotions in advance not in the middle of them having a tantrum.”
Teach Them How To Communicate
“Teach them to express themselves clearly and you do the same, so they know how to communicate. Communication’s the cornerstone of any relationship.”
“Try to set routines instead of living chaotically. Breakfast is at this time, dinner is at this time, bed is at this time. Children seem to do better with some order to help them understand the world.
Don’t give them a screen and let them disappear into it for hours at a time and then expect them to be able to communicate and focus. Screen time should be well regulated, and tell them why. It’s a freaking epidemic for all generations that are alive right now.”
Let Them Take Ownership
“Give them agency over some of their activities. What I mean by that is give them room and choice to do something and then encourage them when they try to do it. Let them start participating in the household. One of them can start unloading the dishwasher. The other one can start setting the table. Then they’re contributing and learning how to contribute, feeling like there accomplishing something and adding value to the family and taking some load off your shoulders.”
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