10 ways to positively influence your children
Many parents don’t know that the influence they have on their children can last for a life time. With the daily hustle and bustle of life, working hard to provide for the family, parents forget that their children look up to them a lot.
According to research, parents have the greatest influence on their children during the first 12 years of their lives. This is because once adolescence hits, their ability to guide them is reduced as these children become increasingly independent, and look to their peers and other outside influences to guide them.
Remember that your time with your children is short. By setting a positive example, parents can be a positive and lasting influence in their children’s lives in these 10 ways.
Be present and available
Nothing says, “You matter” more than a busy parent stopping what they are doing and giving a child some undivided attention. Children whose parents are emotionally present for enjoy better social, academic and wellbeing outcomes than those whose parents aren’t available.
Be warm and loving
When your children become adolescents, don’t become a dismissive or disapproving parent. Respond to the warmly even when you don’t feel like it. This will show them that you value them as persons rather than inconvenient. A gentle touch, a smile or soft words bring warmth to a relationship. Children respond to love and warmth.
Don’t try to fix them, listen
Parents are great at fixing things. They can fix sore knees, broken hearts, messy friendships, and even some difficult homework projects. But children don’t need their parents to fix them. They just want them to understand what they are going through.
Love them and show it every day
Parents are always correcting their kids or telling them what to do. But for a parent-child relationship to thrive, parents need to do away with negative statements and replace them with positive ones. So find opportunities to tell your kids “I appreciate you”.
“You really make a positive difference around here.”
“You are so important to me.”
“I am amazed at the exceptional effort you make.”
“I love you – no matter what.”
Don’t forget to set limits
Sometimes nothing says “I love you” more than a firm and clear “No!” from Mum or Dad. Children – including teenagers – do best when there are limits placed on their behaviour. Setting limits means that you are having a positive influence on your children. The trick is to not become too authoritarian or you will simply drive unwanted behaviour underground.
Remember to be grateful
Grateful people are happier, healthier. They have better relationships, enjoy better sleep, get better work outcomes and are more energetic. By being grateful, parents will be a positive influence in the lives of their children. Say thanks often – and mean it.
Don’t forget to be fair
Children have an acute sense of what’s fair and what’s not. Fairness has been identified as a key strength that helps parents maintain positive relationships within their families. Find ways to help your children perceive your efforts at making life fair for everyone in the family. Play with your children
Playing games and laughing together binds parents to their children. Whether they are cooking a new recipe, dancing in the room, or having a wrestle or tickle, play builds relationships. Families can touch each other, connect with each other, enjoy fun rivalries and learn together. Through play, parents build a relationship of trust with their children that facilitate ongoing positive influence in their lives.
Let them know about your struggles
Don’t pretend to be invulnerable to life’s challenges. Instead, let your children understand some of your struggles. Give them insight into the way you solve your problems. Show them that good things don’t arrive on silver platters – they take work, sacrifice, and great effort and discipline. Your resilience to life’s setbacks can have an enormously positive influence in your children’s lives.
Have high expectations
Parents who expect a lot of their children generally have children who live up to those expectations – so long as those expectations are communicated warmly, and they have their children’s best interests at heart. So set high expectations around academic achievement, morality, and friendships. If you do it with warmth and kindness, you will have a lasting positive influence on your children and their decisions.