Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Raising Healty Children ~ Guest Writer, Katrina Doxie

Children are amazing little creatures. If you want to understand the world, spend some time with a child; play with and listen to them. Their honest thoughts are intriguing and may teach you some things about yourself.  

Of course, children do need some guidance. Every generation is part of raising the next. What are we teaching children? What are we instilling into their precious little minds? Even if you are not a parent, I am sure at some point you have crossed paths with a child. You do have an influence with what they learn and how it affects them in who they become. Children are like little sponges, they soak up everything the hear, see, and feel; even when you think they are not paying attention, they are.

Today's guest writer, Katrina Doxie, shares with you her insights about raising healthy children. Healthy does not only mean physical health; mental and emotional health is also an important aspect, for everyone.

By Katrina Doxie

There are many things a parent will do for their child, but some refuse to let their children be themselves. Being a parent is about raising and loving the child you have, not the child you think you should have.

It’s knowing that their life is not meant to fit into the molds of your own. You must understand that who your child is, is exactly who he or she is supposed to be. If you are open-minded and self-less you may be lucky enough to have a child or children who are teachers who turn you into the person you’re supposed to be.

Don’t ever shame your child, or assume to them they will change their minds about who they are. You can’t make a child, or any person, act differently by making them feel worse. Shame is a horrific feeling for any of us, but especially a child who is not equipped with proper tools to deal with shame.

Be a parent who learns to radiate self-love and acceptance. This way you can teach your child the tools you learn along the way, and vaccinate them against low self-esteem and the shame and unworthy feelings that come with it. This isn’t about you. Your child should not have to change who they are to fit into your pre-conceived notions.

Whenever you’re faced with an issue that makes you wish to change your child, stop and examine if it’s something that would be better changed in you. After all, children learn what they live, and they have only always lived with you.

Who your child is should not be considered a distraction from something more important. Letting your child be who they are is the most important work you will ever do. Ensuring your child knows he or she is loved unconditionally, helping them deal with shame and guilt in a healthy way, should be your top priority.

More often than not when you punish your child you’re making them suffer for having a problem, which only adds shame. Focus more on solutions that will teach your children to be problem solvers. It’s not about retribution.

Your child’s behaviors, who they claim to be, none of it is meant to give you a hard time. Sometimes, your child is having a hard time feeling accepted, he or she is confused, stuck in shame, etc. During those moments the child is having a hard time your reaction to it determines how they handle future hard times.

Use those moments as teaching moments instead of thinking you need to punish the child further. They’re punishing themselves enough. Everything you say and do is important. The tone of your voice, even. Whether your words are short, angry, or calm. These things are noticed by your children and they will take them personal. Children see and learn everything we do and say; both the kind and unkind.

If you’re consistently looking for your child to misbehave, assuming they are giving you a hard time, etc. you are teaching them to feel ashamed. Learn to assume the best in those you say you love; especially your children. Praise them when they do good, and teach them how to make better choices when they’re not. Raise them so that when they look back you are a memory of fairness, integrity, and love. Don’t make excuses for your own behavior, while you persistently look for behaviors to punish in your child.

If you don’t want your child to grow up and condemn you for the memories they have of their child hood make sure you aren’t constantly criticizing them. If you don’t want them to grow up fighting don’t teach them hostility. If you don’t want your child to grow up being apprehensive of everything and everyone don’t make them live in fear.

Learn to be confident, so that you don’t teach your children to feel sorry for themselves. Don’t raise them to be shy and lack confidence because you can’t resist ridiculing them. Make sure you’re treating all your children fairly, so they aren’t raised to be jealous and insecure. And whatever you do never ever shame your child because he or she will only grow up to feel guilty for everything; even things that aren’t their fault.

Instead, encourage your child through tough times by not taking them personal, so your child can learn confidence. Become a tolerant, loving parent who can teach your child patience. Praise them for all the good things they do, so they can learn to appreciate themselves and others. Accept them for who they are, not who you want them to be, so they can learn to accept themselves and others. When you approve of your children they learn to approve of themselves, and we could all use more self-approval.

Recognize and reward your child’s accomplishments, so they learn hard work reaches goals. Share yourself, your experiences, your time with your child, so they learn generosity. Always be honest with children, so they learn the importance of truthfulness. When you are fair with your children you teach them justice. When you’re kind to your children you earn their respect. Make sure you’re doing all you can to make your children feel secure, so they can have faith in themselves and those around them.

Your child’s behavior is not about you. It is because of you. Whatever you put into them is what you will get out. That will never change. You can scream that beating them will earn respect all you want, but it never ever will. Why on earth would you want your child to respect you for being an asshole who instills fear? You didn’t like it when your own parents did that I am willing to bet. So why wouldn’t you make a different choice for your own children? Stop repeating cycles and create better ones.

Children will never do as you say. They are not listening to your advice, but watching your example. How can you believe it is fair to expect a child who is not fully developed to be capable of things you, as a full-grown adult, are not? Your children are going to be who you are, so become who you want them to be. There is no other way. This is the childhood they will remember, and you're going to run out of time.

There may be times you have to discipline your children, and there is nothing wrong with that. So long as the discipline is used to teach problem solving, and not because you’re angry and lashing out because you’re taking your child’s behavior personal when it isn’t.

You can be consistent and persistent in your discipline without being harsh. Every time you’re faced with an opportunity to teach your children don’t waste it teaching them how angry you can be. You are only going to teach them to mis-handle their own emotions and be angry, too. So if you are angry with your children I don't want hear your mouth when your children are throwing anger back at you. What do you expect? 

If your parents took all your behavior personal you should know better. It was just you being you and this is just your child being your child. It’s not about you. It's your job to make your child's a home a safe place. Not one where they are constantly shamed and live in fear and condemnation. You have such power of your childrens' lives. Don't use that power to ruin them. If your parents mis-used their power you are still responsible for how you use yours. You can't blame your parents for the choices you're making now. That just makes you a hypocrite who takes the easy way out. My guess is your children will grow up to be the same.

Written by: Katrina Doxie

Whether you are a parent, a relative, a teacher, or a friend, any interaction you have with a child will influence what they learn. To allow a child to express their personality by encouraging them to use their mind and be themselves, while guiding them by example with honesty, integrity, kindness, and love, is the greatest gift anyone can give them.