At some point, most of us get tricked into thinking that having kids is a good idea. There’s something appealing about producing your own tiny person, who will of course, be as awesome as you are. Did you slay the basketball courts in high school? You’ll see ample potential for your child to be the next Michael Jordan. You like skinny jeans and Vans? Buy them in baby size and cruise around town with your mini-me.
Kids have potential to be awesome… I turned out awesome, so that’s proof enough. But I digress. Kids are cute, do cute things, and think you’re amazing. Every parent claims that having kids is the best thing they ever did, but it also takes a lot of work. If you let them, kids will ruin your life. They will embarrass you in front of your friends, call you out on your bad habits in public, and drive a wedge between you and your partner.
1. Make Consequences, Then Stick To Them
Luckily, you’re the adult and you make the rules. You have the power to ensure your kids won’t suck, but it takes work and discipline. Ready? Let’s go.
The reason you set consequences is to teach your kid that certain bad behaviors result in punishment. That means that anytime – no matter where you are – that they return to that bad behavior, they should be dealt with accordingly. If you’re on a play date and tell your child that if they hit their friend one more time you’re leaving, then you better be ready to walk out the door. When you set a consequence and don’t follow through; you’re teaching your child that they can continue the bad behavior without any real punishment, which leads to plenty of humiliation down the road.
2. Just Say ‘No’
Parenting in today’s world is all about giving your kid the best childhood possible. After looking at your child’s friends and classmates, you may think they need an iPad, an elaborate Barbie themed birthday, and an annual trip to Europe. You can go bankrupt trying to keep up with the Joneses. Here is when the “No” comes in. No, they don’t need an iPhone at the age of seven or a new Spiderman backpack when the one they have works just fine. Regardless of your financial situation, if you create a household where “No” is never said, you will end up with a spoiled, needy, and unfulfilled adult.
3. Give Them Responsibility
From an early age it’s important to instill a sense of responsibility. As helpless as they may seem, they can fold their own clothes, put on their own shoes, pick up spilled Cheerios, and put their toys back in the toy box. Chores are a great way to instill good work ethic, accountability, and will make your child feel like a contributing member to the family. If you do everything for them then they’ll never learn to take care of themselves.
4. Let Them Fail
Don’t let them win every game of Candy Land or buy them a trophy when they got 9th place in a race. Teach them that it takes hard work to succeed and that victory won’t be handed to them with a smile. Parents today do their best to remove failure from the equation so their kids won’t feel the pain of rejection, losing, or failure. Simply put, don’t micromanage them. Offer support without taking control of their life.
5. Keep Your Priorities In Line
If you let them, your kids will take every ounce of energy or spare minute you have for themselves. Forget about going to the gym, spending time with your partner, or having a social life. Kids are needy and unless you set boundaries, you will solely dedicate 18 years of your life to raising your children. Taking time to keep your own physical and mental well-being intact ensures you’re able to be a good parent. Your relationship with your partner has to be strong and sometimes a child can put a strain on that bond. Your child is one of the most important things in your life, but you need to be able to show your kid what a successful relationship looks like for both their mental health and yours.