Raising children is both one of the most difficult and also most important things that a person can do in their lifetime. However, even though, in theory, we should all have some innate ability and know-how on the proper way to raise kids that’s been passed down to us from our ancestors, the speed at which the world changes means that people today are faced with an increasing number of unique parenting challenges that no one in the past had to deal with.
This means that a lot of the conventional methods, rules, and approaches for raising a child are either inapplicable in today’s context, or at least they need to be modified in a way that corresponds to the reality that we live in. In other words, to an extent, raising a child in the 21st century is an unexplored territory. However, if we take a closer look at the challenges at hand, we may find that they are far from insurmountable, and that everything needed to overcome them is a clear head, an open mind, and the patience and preparedness to learn from your mistakes, which are always an inseparable part of parenting.
We live in a busy world and even though there is a tendency for reducing the amount of time spent at work, this doesn’t necessarily mean that we will start getting more free time in the near future. Let’s face it, the world of today is overwhelming, stressful, full of commotion, and getting more complex with each day. It’s not only our jobs - everything around us demands our attention, making it more difficult to sort out our priorities and spend our time on the right things.
If you are a parent, or about to be one, you must absolutely find a way to mute the noise of the world and preserve sufficient amounts of both your time and energy that need to go to your kids. Children need to be in contact with you, as this is their best chance to learn about the increasingly complex world they’ve been brought into. You must be their patient guide, showing them how things are, or else you face the risk of having this privilege taken from you by less benevolent forces.
With each passing year, people find more and more ways to become divided into antithetical groups - a tendency fueled by the media and all those who stand to benefit from such division. Among the many other issues this brings, it also presents parents with the challenge of teaching their kids that people with different beliefs, preferences, tastes, cultures, lifestyles, and worldviews aren’t bad (usually), and that we shouldn’t instinctively adopt an antagonistic stance towards such people.
The time has come to address the elephant in the room - namely, the effects that technology has on our children. This is probably the main source of all the other challenges faced by parents today, and finding the right way to navigate it takes no small amount of tact, consideration, and adaptability. Like it or not, technology will be a major part of your kid’s life and will have a significant influence on them in their formative years.
Realizing this, some parents may instinctively adopt a negative attitude towards the technology in their children’s lives and do everything they can to limit the kids’ access to it. The problem here is that this will likely create a lot of conflict, as the child will end up feeling left out when among its peers.
Another approach that more and more parents seem to have been adopting lately is to simply put a tablet in the tiny hands of their toddler and go about their day, knowing that the kid will be entertained for hours. Eventually, one day the parent will wake up to find their kid obese, with zero social skills, and a list of mental and/or physical health issues.
I firmly believe that both ways of handling the presence of technology in a kid’s life are fundamentally flawed. Technology is actually a very powerful, but also a very dangerous tool - one that your children need to learn how to use, and the only way they could do that is through your guidance. So, the answer here is to let your kids have their smartphones, tablets, and laptops, but to also teach them the dos and don’ts of using their gadgets, impose any necessary restrictions, and closely monitor their interaction with the Internet.
Finally, we need to say something about the physical upbringing of our offspring. It’s no secret that today’s society, on a global scale, is more obese and overweight than ever before in the history of the world, to a point where lacking basic fitness and motor skills is starting to become normalized. This, combined with the increased presence of technology in our children’s lives, makes it increasingly difficult to keep them physically healthy. However, if you take special care of what your kids eat and teach them the value of physical activity, you can give them a great head start in life that will go a long way.
Parenting in today’s world can be very difficult, confusing, and even frightening, which is why more and more responsible parents and to-be parents have begun enrolling in parenting classes that can prepare them for the challenges of parenthood.
There is a wide variety of such classes out there, including ones that focus on teaching parenting skills, handling divorce, or meeting the parenting requirements of different state institutions. For example, Online Parenting Center offers such a CPS approved parenting class with a wide variety of options, ranging from 4-hour to 52-hour courses. Enrolling in a class like this is guaranteed to help guide both you and your kids on your journey together and allow you to have a deeper understanding of one another for a more harmonic and fulfilling life.