How can you be sure that when your child leaves home, he or she will be liked? Could you be, inadvertently, raising a child who won’t wash up the dishes, steals milk or food from the fridge, won’t take the bin bag out, and won’t tidy up after themselves?
1. Stop doing everything for your child
Doing everything for your child makes them selfish and demanding. If your child expects you to clear up after them and do everything around the house – you have trained them to expect this by consistently doing it.
If you don’t teach your child to cook, clean, shop, iron, sew, manage their money, maintain a car, etc. etc. your child will leave home unable to care for themselves independently. Use this simple 5- step method to teach and train your child so they do a good job:
- Show them how to do it. What does a good job look like?
- Do it together several times and let them practice each step.
- Watch them do it with minimal interference.
- Let them do it on their own.
- Get your child into the habit of doing the job. Plan a regular day and time, for the job to be completed, so you don’t have to nag them to do it..
2. Get your child volunteering
Volunteering to help can help change your child’s mindset from being ‘me’ focused to helping others. Changing that feeling of entitlement to ‘What can I do to help?’ So many youngsters are only focussed on getting their own needs met, they are blind to the needs of others who are less fortunate. Keep your eye out for opportunities for volunteering. From clearing up local beauty spots, to caring for children younger than themselves, your child can experience the feel-good factor when you help out someone without expecting something back.
3. One random act of kindness a day
Make it a family habit to try to each do one random act of kindness a day. Without any expectation of reward. Perhaps in the evening, go around the table and ask what each person managed to do. Something as simple as a smile to someone who is down, inviting a shy child to play, helping the teacher, or making mum a cup of tea!
4. The gratitude habit
It’s so easy to wish our lives were easier, luckier, or better-off. However, what you focus on, grows. When your thoughts are full of negativity, and pessimism, you feel bad. When you focus on what you are grateful for, you’ll find that life is so much more enjoyable. Ask your child to name three things they are grateful for each evening, and you’ll be increasing their share of happiness.
Raising a child who is loving and giving isn’t easy, but not only will your child’s future flatmates benefit, your child will be loved, is more likely to have stable relationships, and when your child rings home you’ll be less likely to think: ‘What do they want now?’