Raising a child today is obviously a lot different than when our parents raised us. Much of the change, both for better and worse, can be traced back to technology.
It is easy to use television and tablets as babysitters when we are busy or just want our children to be quiet at the table. But do we hamper the development of their social skills when we do this? Or worse yet, are we teaching them that their parents are easily replaced with pieces of technology?
With the world having changed so much in the past few decades, how do we know if we are raising are children to be well rounded adults someday?
Curious Mind Magazine has an interesting article about what Harvard Psychologists believe are the 5 key things to raising a well adjusted child in these times. I listed the 5 keys below with my interpretation of what they represent.
While some of these seemed like common sense elements to me, as my grandfather used to point out, “common sense and common decency are becoming uncommon”.
- Spend quality time with your children: We are talking about playing their favorite games, asking about their day or reading a bedtime story. Not being in the same room staring at separate tablets.
- Let your kids see a strong morale role model and mentor in you: Let your children see honesty, humility and decency from you. If your children grow up watching you hold the door open for elderly people, they will be more likely to do so in their future
- Teach your children to care for others and set high ethical expectations: If your children take on a responsibility, such as a member of an athletic team or paper route (do kids still do that?), make sure they understand how quitting would affect others. Help them talk out the pro’s and con’s of their actions
- Encourage kids to practice appreciation and gratitude: To me this boils down to people defining a “spoiled child” differently. To my definition, regardless of material possessions, a “spoiled child” is defined by their attitude to what they have versus what others have. If a child has a ton of possessions, but is appreciative and thankful, they are not spoiled. The opposite also holds true.
- Teach them to see the big picture: Help them understand how their actions affect others. This is a huge element to me. As we look at world politics today, I think so many of our problems boil down to people’s narrow minded view of “how does this affect me” and trying to label all topics as black & white. Teach your kids to see that not all issues are straightforward and must be looked at from multiple points of view. The correct answer is often gray and compromise should not always be looked at as a sign of weakness. (Hear that politicians?)
These are obviously my interpretations of the 5 elements the Harvard psychologists determined and does not represent their interpretations.
Please review the study yourself and comment with what you think.