Teach children to survive
RAKHI BEEKRUM Beekrum is a counselling psychologist in Durban North with more than 14 years’ experience in individual and couples therapy. Her expert advice has been featured in print and digital media, on radio and television. She uses her social media p
WHILE most parents strive to give their children what they never had growing up, what is more valuable is teaching your children what you never knew. While it might feel natural for parents to care for their children, there should be appropriate boundaries and limits in our giving.
Every generation tries to do better than the one before. Socio-politically, we can understand why some generations of parents have done more than was necessary for their children. A parent’s generosity towards their child often arises out of the best intentions.
In fact, most parents would argue that they work hard to provide a better life for their children than they had growing up. Some parents, out of guilt for working hard (and thereby spending less quality time with their children), overcompensate materially.
In some cultures, love was traditionally shown by working hard to provide. Thankfully, we live in an age where expert parenting advice is easily accessible. Most parents either parent the way that they were parented or do the opposite. It’s important to parent mindfully. As parents we first have to be role models to our children as children are more likely to do as we do, not as we say. We have to be mindful of whether we are preparing our children to succeed in the real world.
A parent’s duty is not to just provide materially for their children, but to guide and equip them to navigate the real world. Teach children to become independent by involving them in chores from a young age.
This teaches them not just to take care of themselves, but that they are also required to contribute to relationships – not just take.
Teach children financial literacy, so that they are mindful about how they spend money and about saving. Teach children how to regulate emotions by providing emotional support when required and by how you navigate challenges in your own life. Value-based education needs to begin at home, so that children have a compass to guide them as they navigate adult life (in the workplace, relationships, and so on).
As parents, we are not going to be around forever, so we need to raise children who can survive in the world without us. I’m not referring to tough love. Your children should never doubt that you love them. But the love needs to be accompanied by important life lessons, by providing a supportive space through which they can navigate the world.
Children should not feel entitled to their parents’ money, property, pension and so on. There is a great sense of accomplishment when one works hard to create their own path in life. We cannot deny that life has become harder in some respects, for example, increased unemployment and a cost-of-living crisis.
If parents are able to do more for their children in such situations, that is wonderful, but there should be a fair sense of give and take, where they contribute in other ways.
Sadly, most older generations were not raised with the concept of healthy boundaries and self-care. You aren’t a bad parent if you don’t cater to your children’s every whim. Do the best you can for them, but not at the expense of your health and well-being.
African News Agency