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Are you Raising Your Child to Fit into Today’s World?

One of the things I observe most in parents today is the doubt and anguish they have about whether they are educating their children well or not; by “well” meaning, if their kids will be successful or, at least, “survive” in today’s world.

Are you Raising Your Child to Fit into Today’s World?

There is a common denominator, and it is that most parents strive to find the best school, university, extracurricular activities (within or even outside their financial capabilities.) I see parents who are willing to drive long distances from home or work, as long as their children go to the best schools or are part of renowned teams; all based on ensuring their kids have the best possible college education. I am impressed by the knowledge and efficiency with which parents handle the academic aspect of their children. But, what about the “more subjective” aspect of education? That which comes from home or school, from the values, principles and rules of life that parents and teachers transmit and model? It is here where there is more uncertainty.

How to make these subjective aspects translated into something more tangible? What mode of grading could reflect how successful are parents in their children’s  education?

One of the concepts related to success that can help with this measurement is “Emotional Intelligence.” Beyond the traditional concept of intelligence, such as the ability to solve tests of mathematical, spatial, grammatical or science aptitudes, the concept of emotional intelligence is being handled universally. It is defined as the ability of the individual to adapt and effectively solve different situations, contexts and social environments, while retaining their identity, balance and integrity.

If we analyze this concept, we realize that with these skills, the individual has a high probability of being successful and even happy, regardless of the profession or career he or she chooses.

The second aspect that we deduce from that definition is that we are social beings and that in order to successfully be integrated in society, we must follow certain rules of behavior and have a high “collective consciousness.” Just to put this new age term of “collective consciousness” in simple words, it is the sense of not doing to others what you don’t want others to do to you, and in a more positive way, giving others what you would love to receive.

Next, I will give you 4 aspects to consider regarding the way you are educating your children.

I will start with a question for you to analyze and honestly answer it to yourself;  then I will give you recommendations to help your children raise their emotional intelligence level; that is to say their ability to adapt to the world around them.

I will try to address this in general. Obviously, age is an important factor when talking about certain behaviors, but I will let you use your common sense to apply it to your children in the best possible way.

These are the 4 aspects:

1) In your home, the laws are the same for everyone, or are there different laws that come from the father, another from the mother, another from the grandmother, etc.?

This is perhaps one of the most important aspects in children’s effective education.

When the rules in the home are not clear and are not within the “contract of all tenants” who live in it, and change depending on who exercises them, an inconsistency is created that gives room for children to manipulate and misbehave.

Recommendation: Create a “house constitution,” in which the non-negotiable rules of your home will be written, with the proper logical consequences on it,  if these rules are broken. All persons of authority in your home must agree and these rules and their consequences must be informed and “signed” (depending on the age of the child) BEFORE the situations that refer there occur.

Every home is different, but examples of these rules can be: in this house the voice is not raised, bad words or insults are not allowed, drugs or alcohol are not accepted, behaviors such as beating against the ground, breaking things or throwing doors with force for anger will have consequences, etc.

2) What percentage of consistency on making the rules to be followed exists in your home?

Less than 75% consistency in applying norms or rules does not generate positive results in behaviors. And, on the other hand, for a habit to be established there must be a minimum of 90 days in a row of practicing a behavior, followed by the practice of it with a consistency of 75%.

If the rules are changed very often or are not followed, it gives space for the child to feel no structure, which can lead to confusion, and this in turn can translate into aggressive, erratic or hyperactive behaviors.

Recommendation: Before demanding certain behavior from your children, work on your own consistency between what you say you are going to do and actually do. The more you improve this point, the more you will see the desired behavior in your children and you will feel a greater sense of accomplishment yourself. In fact, with this exercise you can improve consistency in other aspects of your life.

3) What percentage do you speak more than you act in reference to discipline your children? 

One of the things I observe most in parents is what I call “excess communication.” Surely you will ask me, how can there be “excess” in something as important and as positive as communication? Let me explain: there is an excess in communication when more is spoken than what is being done and/or when many more words and content are used than the intellectual or cognitive development level of the other person can handle or understand. Today, children learn much faster and more effectively through what they see from their parents (by modeling) than what they hear from them (by lecturing). Many times, so much speech in a brain in formation, what it does is the opposite, it confuses the children and they react with anxiety or hyperactivity.

Recommendations:  model more behaviors that you want to see in your children; use more concrete language when addressing them and stick more to the rules of the home that we mentioned in point 1. You will see results very quickly and you will save more energy.

4) How do your children act in places that require certain standards of behavior, such as: school, medical offices, church, at a visit, etc?

This point, of course, may vary depending on the age of the child, but even if the child is very young and there is no way to control him or her, it would be necessary to review their habits and their schedules. In general, when children do not have a structured schedule and well-established habits in food, sleep hours, physical activities, exposure times to electronics, etc., their behavior is usually uncontrolled.

Other important aspects to consider are: to what extent is the child allowed to do whatever and whenever he wants it at home? Does he have some restricted areas or hours for certain activities? To what extent when you have taken them to certain places you teach them in a solid way to remain silent, calm, not to shout, disturb or interrupt adults, etc.? Have you taught them to respect other children? To apologize when they make a mistake? To be grateful?

All this starts at home and from a very young age. All this begins with habits, with CONSISTENCY.

Recommendations: The first one is, make sure your children have well-established habits and schedules on their daily lives that guarantee a physical-emotional stability in their behavior. And the other recommendation is very simple: teach your children to behave in different places as you would like to see other children who are not yours, behave in those same places. How many times do we criticize the behavior of the children of others and say to ourselves: “and these kids have no parents to educate them? “It happened to us, right?  Well, as we mentioned before, one of the main aspects of a high level of emotional intelligence is having a high level of collective consciousness, which means having the same consideration to others as we have to ourselves. Well, just picture how the ideal behavior of ANY kid should be in different places and apply this model to your own.

So, just recapitulating about my 4 recommendations to help your kids to raise their “emotional intelligence” level:

1.- Make a “home constitution” to be followed for all the habitants in your house

2.- Assure at least 75% of consistency in applying rules and regulations to your children

3.- Talk less/do more

4.- Make sure your children are able to adapt their behavior according to the circumstances and places.