6 Things about Being a Parent That May Surprise You

Whether you are a first time, second time or about to become a parent; being in charge of building the foundations for generosity, responsibility, appreciation, warmth, kindness, helpfulness and an hard-work ethic can be overwhelming.

Here are 6 things about raising a child that just might surprise you

1. The child is already a person

Once the diapers are off and the walk and talk is steady and confident; that child you are looking after is already a fully formed person. They will continue to grow (and very quickly) but, their personality will remain mostly the same going into their teenage and early adult years.

Your role is not to shape a child’s personality, your role is to guide when you can and love them unconditionally and make sure they can feel that love.

2. They come fully equipped to cope

Let the child be and do not shadow them or hover over them like a helicopter. A child comes fully equipped to grow and explore this world. Let them go out and play without you. Let them fall down and bruise their hands and knees. Let them fail at things. The tendency to be overprotective, to be constantly trying to make sure every need is met, and to be afraid of the smallest fall is counter-productive.

Be there for them, but only to the extent that you’re helping them learn to do it on their own. And make sure to give them the right health and hygiene care, nutrition, education, moral and spiritual support.

3. Beating is like branding

We all have our favourite or preferred brands when it comes to shopping and no matter how many things can be stacked on the shelf our hands automatically reach out for the brand we like. Beating is much the same. It can easily become your brand of child rearing and it will also become how you are branded as a parent.

This harsh method of discipline is more hurtful than helpful and the child will do everything you tell them to, but only because they are terrified of you. Let your brand of parenting be different. (Even if you were beaten as a child; do not beat a child!)

4. You will learn something new everyday

Interacting with a child regularly is one of the best things you can do and in doing so you will learn something new each time. Whether it is something about their personality or it is something in the world seen through their eyes. Interacting with them will allow you to see things differently be it in a book, game, or on screen.

A child’s point of view and their large unbridled imagination makes it easy to let them direct their own learning and your role is to encourage them to learn about whatever they’re interested in and to participate by looking things up with them and learning with them about something they don’t know which may turn out to be something you too do not know.

5. You do not have to pretend that you know everything

You do not have to pretend that you know more than you do just because you are talking to a young person. Admitting that you do not know everything and listening to the child no matter how young means that you are respecting them as a person. This mind-set of not being-a-know-it-all is where good parenting starts and a mind-set where you can explore together and become open to each other.

When you are open with each other a lot more gets said, done and learned.

6. You too get to work on yourself

By working on yourself and how you act in your home you create the opportunity to solidify a child’s behaviour. For instance if you want to teach them to be good people, you too have to be a good person. If you want to teach them to not depend on their devices for company, you too have to put yours down. If you want them to be more active, then you too must get out of the house and walk around the neighbourhood and be active.

Whatever it is that you want the child to do; it starts with you doing it because children watch everything you do carefully and mirror your actions constantly.

Happy Global Day for Parents!

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Kwachalelo, be successful, be well.

About Balekile Gausi

A prolific Zambian writer covering work, money and lifestyle that passed through university and came away with a very good grasp of public administration, finance management, money and banking and international relations. A civil servant that quickly opted for self-employment and training as a Journalist and Writer Balekile has been a freelance feature writer for several decades and has also published fiction in Drum and The BBC Focus on Africa Magazine. Settled and living in Lusaka after many years of living in several cities in Africa and Europe; Balekile is also an avid bird watcher, is married with 3 adult children and has an extraordinary fondness for chikanda ( the local delicatessen that vegans and non-vegans world-wide are putting on their bucket list!)

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