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Parenting and Belief System

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Entrepreneurial Mindset Series (EMS)

Building a life, building a future, and affecting our community positively are traceable to an individual’s belief system.

For starters, beliefs are not absolute. They are based on an individual’s opinions that were developed over time. They are not facts. They rather sit on a spectrum of opinions and values. Beliefs are taught and acquired. And fortunately, or otherwise, an individual’s beliefs are often taught as truth by parents, teachers, religion, and the society, and people make life-altering decisions based on them all the time.

“Children are like little sponges. they soak up everything.”

Because you tell your child what you hold to be true does not mean you’re teaching them that thing. For example, when you teach them not to smoke or not to lie and you do those same things, they learn to do them. They see what you do, they hear what you say and build their knowledge base from them.

Be a good role model. Help them think for themselves. Let them form opinions, make mistakes and learn.

Teaching Kids the Right Way

  • Allow them to think or ask questions: One of the most important things we can teach children is not what to think but how to think. If you can’t accept your child presenting his own views about your own truth, then you’ve not taught him how to think.
  • Relax boundaries as they begin to get more aware. In the first two years of a child’s life, they turn to us for love and care. Boundaries are established at this stage, in a subtle manner. In the next 3-4 years, we are busy teaching other things like how to speak, how to write, how to read, etc. The child turns to us and to other people in their inner circle, for validation. A child’s self-image starts to form at this stage, mostly based on the validation they get. At age 6-7, we start to lose some of our stronghold on them, because of the influence of friends, school, and other outside relationships. At middle school, your influence on the child diminishes drastically. Their peers become important to them at this stage.

Start relaxing boundaries early enough. Allow them to make their mistakes. What you get are not mistakes but feedback. It is alright when they make those mistakes. It gives them an opportunity to learn. It gives you another opportunity to guide them appropriately.

  • Practice intentional parenting: Be very proactive if you want the child to be the best they can be. Have that goal in mind and teach them in that line. You must decide if you want them to be like you or to be who they are meant to be – their unique self. We are all born with unique individual gifts. So, the best a parent can do is to help them discover and be who they really are.
  • Be a good role model: Children learn a great deal observing the interaction between Mum and Dad. They form their opinions about relationships from home. Model the right standard to them.
  • Play intervention roles: Kids acquire defective information from friends, school, and the society at large. Before such information solidifies into their own opinions and beliefs, play the role of a guide or mentor. Befriend them intentionally and offer valuable advice. There must be intentional intervention by parents at home.
  • Be a leader: According to Antoine de Saint-Exupery, “If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up people to collect some and don’t assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea.” That is leadership! For you as a parent-leader, do not be content with issuing instructions and punishing deviant behavior. Do not just set boundaries and force your truth down the throats of your kids. Help them see the bigger picture, and they will flow right into it. At least we hope they will. . They become self-motivated enough to make the dream become a reality. Often, these kids test you intentionally to see if you walk the talk. Be guided in your parenting and avoid sending out the wrong vibes.

It is obvious that our set of beliefs go a long way to determine our response to the issues of life. Beliefs are acquired. Beliefs are taught. Beliefs have impact on society, directly or indirectly.

You are building a human being with your care, love, guidance, and nurturing. Parents have a role to play. It is about being intentional as parents that will set them in the right path.

Note: Most of the opinions expressed in this article are those of Dapo Bankole and Jess Huffman as expressed in Episode 126 of The Immigrant Life Podcast.

Written by Yinka Bakare.

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