At the end of the day, the most overwhelming key to a child’s success is the positive involvement of parents. —Jane D. Hull
Parenting is a lot different from what we expected it to be (for generation X or Y) and what it used to be.
We are raising our children in a world totally different from the world we knew as children.
They will be adults in a world that is rapidly evolving.
Exploring the peculiar challenges implicit in parenting a 21st century child and suggesting tips on how to navigate parenting.
It is much easier to become a parent than actually be a parent. Parenting is a marathon, not a sprint, you have to be in it for the long haul.
It could last as long as 21 years or longer; depends on how many children you have and the gap between them.
Parenting in the 21st century requires thinking outside the box.
The world is changing, and we are on uncharted waters.
Staying balanced and being open minded will help us build our priceless progeny and instill character as we grow with them.
I have found that parenting can be divided into four major roles.
Clarity about these roles and working my way around them guides my journey daily.
TEACHER-: Immediately you become a parent, it’s hold your horses; where does the time fly to?
Parenting moves at a remarkably fast pace.
One minute they are a little ones that you carry everywhere and the next minute, they are tall, frowning beings who have minds of their own. The first five years are the bed rock of their brain development.
For the most part, their parent is the primary educator-: as they learn from their parents directly and indirectly. Approximately 80% of the brain is developed by the age of five; the core values are set; and the emotional baseline is established for life.
Ensuring that solid foundations like love, security and discipline are firmly built will help make the child’s life better.
Our children will be adults in a completely alien world from what we know.
Our challenge is to engage with the way the world is changing, keep some of the solid “old-fashioned” ideas that still work, but keep abreast of the skills your child needs to prosper in the future.
COACH-: When children are between the ages of 7 and 14; their character gets formed.
Their mindset is clearly defined and it is critical at this juncture to teach them to take some responsibility for their lives. Even though, you will be a facilitator walking them through the decisions and consequences of the decisions they make.
Focus on encouraging and grooming their minds. Recall that coaching is a two way street; you too will learn and grow as they teach you.
The key thing is to hold them accountable, and do not jump to fix their problems automatically.
Things don’t always work out the way we want in life and the sooner they learn to deal with failure, the better it will be for them.
Soothe them through the pain but encourage them to be resilient.
Let them know that education comprises of more than just academic learning, the skills learnt on the sports field and playground are as valuable as what those learned in the classroom.
Interpersonal skills are essential, and relationships add the richest dimension to life. Encourage your children to get involved in activities.
Also work on inculcating financial literacy skills in them.
Managing pocket money, learning entrepreneurship and understanding the benefits of delayed gratification are all ways by which we create future ready children.
MENTOR-: By the time they are 15-16 their friends become the centers of their lives and the bonds they have with their parents become tested. The parental role transitions to being a mentor.
This is when they begin to establish their own identity, Stick with advising and guiding them than dictating to them how they should live and instructing they should be.
We can’t understand what it feels like to be them in this constantly evolving world; they need space to grow and establish their own course for their lives.
This time should be a wonderful time as a parent; you get to see them bloom and become individuals in their own right who will be deal with life squarely in the 21st century.
The firmer the foundation from childhood are; the easier the teenage phase will be.
CHEERLEADER-: Once they are at age 21, they should be independent people who have discovered themselves. It is time to move to the sidelines and cheer them on as they run the race of life.
Observe them as they move on in a world that is different from what you are used to or expected.
Above all, realize that it is a privilege and honor to be a parent. It stretches, brings great joy and our legacy lives on beyond us.
Revel in the journey, learn along with them and then sit back to enjoy the rewards of your hard work.
Adetola Salau; Global Educator / International Speaker / Author/ Social Entrepreneur/ Innovative Thinker/Future Readiness Advocate/ STEM Certified Trainer
She is an Advocate of STEM Education and is Passionate about Education reform. She is an innovative thinker and strives for our society & continent as a whole to reclaim it’s greatness.