As 2018 begins – the one thing that we can no longer deny is – that change is in the air. Parenting in 2018 also has to be designed around this change. 

There are new inventions and innovations every day. Devices and automation are wiping out entire professions. And life is becoming smoother, easier and more exciting with each passing day.

As the world changes – it is important that we rethink our approach to parenting. Because with our parenting we are bringing up children who will live in a constantly changing world.

Parenting in the past has always been about defining a set target and then pushing children down the road that leads to that target.

But it is now time for us to acknowledge that in this rapidly changing world – it is impossible to set a target. A target set now – a career decided upon now for a child – may no longer exist by the time the child grows into an adult.

The theme for parenting in 2018, therefore, should be – to prepare children for the unknown.

How can we prepare children for the unknown?

Does preparing for the unknown mean mastering every possible skill on the planet? Does it mean that in 2018 – you should sign your child up for as many classes and extra-curricular activities as possible? No. Fortunately – preparing for the unknown does not involve learning everything at all.

A child who is prepared for the unknown future – does not need a hundred skill sets. All he/she needs – is the right attitudes.

In 2018 then – we must shift our focus – from nurturing skills in our children – to nurturing good attitudes in our children.

Parenting in 2018 Should Be About Nurturing Key Attitudes in Children.

Here are 5 attitudes that will make your child a winner in any situation

  1. The “I can do” attitude – A child who thinks she can do something – is certain to be able to do just about anything – because she is willing to try
  2. The “I can manage” attitude – A child who is unfazed and undeterred by changing circumstances will always be a winner because she will find a way to make things work
  3. The “I want to contribute” attitude – A child who contributes will be popular everywhere and will also feel fulfilled and happy because of her role in life. This is the time to dream and make dreams come true. We must bring up children who are not afraid to dream.
  4. The “I am not afraid” attitude – A child who is not afraid of failure will eventually find a way to succeed. As the world changes – everyone in the world will constantly need to learn new things and attempt new things. A child who is afraid of failure will be left behind because he is afraid to try.
  5. The “I understand and empathise” attitude – A child who understands the people and situations around her – will be able to achieve more with much less struggle. The age of remembering has now given way to the age of collaboration. Sharing and cooperating for the greater good is the theme for the new world. To succeed in this world children must be able to understand and empathise.

Building the right attitude in your child

How to build the “I can do” attitude in your child    

The “I can do” attitude, fortunately, is very easy to build in a child.

Every baby is born with the “I can do” attitude. It is obvious in the effort babies put into teaching themselves how to stand and walk. They have no idea that they will not be able to do something because no one has told them so.

Unfortunately – in our endeavour to make things look perfect – we tell children that they can’t do things because we can do it better and faster than them. And so – very soon they just give up.

Let the resolution for parenting in 2018 be – “I will teach my child to do things herself. And I will allow her to do things imperfectly until she manages to become perfect.”

Also Read: How 7 Transformative Days Helped me Become a Conscious Parent

How to build the “I can manage” attitude in your child

Children love change. They love difficulty. They enjoy overcoming difficulties because it makes them feel competent and able.

Every child given a choice will surely take the more difficult path that involves climbing and jumping instead of the straight even road.

Unfortunately – in our endeavour to show children how much we love them – we do everything we can to make life easier for them. We worry that they will find things difficult and we do everything we can to make life perfect and flawless for them. And this destroys their “I can manage” attitude.

Let the resolution for parenting in 2018 be – “I will not worry too much about making things too comfortable for my child – I will allow her to find her own way”

How to build the “I want to contribute” attitude in your child

Children have an intense desire to contribute to the world around them and participate in what is happening around them. They want to do what they can to help us as we go about our daily tasks.

Little children are constantly busy building and creating things during their playtime. Most of the things they build and create are meant to be useful to their parents. Even when they play, children are actually trying to help, to contribute and to participate.

Unfortunately – because we are so busy – we usually fail to recognize when children are trying to fit themselves into useful roles in the family. And in order to move things along speedily and efficiently – we move them out of the way by distracting them with devices

Let the resolution for parenting in 2018 be – “I will allow my child to dream and to do – I will let my child participate and contribute – even if it is a little inconvenient.”

Also Read : 9 interesting ways to raise conscious-consumerism in kids!

How to build the “I am not afraid” attitude

Children are born without fear.

It is only when we tell them what they need to be afraid of – that they learn about fear. Every child is determined to succeed and will keep trying until he manages to accomplish what she is trying to do. Children stop trying only when they are taught that failure is unacceptable and something to be ashamed of.

In our hurry to see our children succeed – often we teach them to fear failure. We discourage from following paths where they are likely to encounter any kind of failure. We also help them to the extent of actually almost taking over what they are doing – in order to avoid failure. We make every decision for them – from what they will wear to what they will eat, to what they will play and with whom they will play. We make all these decisions to ensure that they do not encounter failure. By taking away their power to decide – we undermine their confidence and fill them with fear.

Let the resolution for parenting in 2018 be – “I will allow my child the time and space she needs – to make decisions and choices. I will allow my child time for free play. I will not plan every minute and second of my child’s life. I will allow her to make these decisions herself most of the time.”

How to build the “I understand and empathise” attitude

Children are born without the ability to empathise. Every baby thinks that he/she is the centre of the universe.

Children learn to empathise when they play with their friends. They learn about others feelings by closely observing those around them when they are not distracted by devices.

In our hurry to teach children skills – we rush them from class to class and activity to activity and leave them with no time to observe, interact and learn empathy.

Empathy will be the most important skill for the new world. Collaboration, invention and creation – all of these will require empathy.

Let the resolution for parenting in 2018 be – “I will help my child to empathise by communicating with her. Instead of pushing her around – I will allow her to stop and watch and understand. I will take the time to help her understand the other person’s point of view. I will communicate.”

How will parenting change in 2018?

Parenting will become much easier.

All the parents who have worriedly been saying – “Parenting is becoming very difficult” – will be able to relax in 2018.

2018 should be the year of handing over control and decision making. It should also be the year of using the time that emerges from not trying too hard to do too much – to communicate and guide.

The aim in 2018 should be to bring up confident and courageous children.

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Debmita Dutta

Dr Debmita Dutta is a practising doctor, a Parenting consultant and the founder of the website www.whatparentsask.com - a video-based website that provides expert answers to parenting questions. She is based in Bangalore and conducts Parenting workshops and prenatal classes for pregnant parents in addition to her medical practice. She believes that parenting stress can be relieved significantly when parents are well informed about their children’s growing brains and bodies.

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