As appeared in the Huffington Post
Many parents feel baffled while raising kids, who are often stubborn or impulsive, and do not follow the norms of the rules and values. After raising four of my own children, each with a unique personality, I would like to share why stressing yourself about these issues is not worth the headache.
1. Food Tantrums:
Introducing a variety of foods to young children is never an easy task. Kids love to repeatedly eat foods they are comfortable with. It is always a battle to expose them to new tastes and textures.
Relax. It is perfectly alright to let them eat the same cereal for breakfast every morning, the grilled cheese or peanut butter jelly sandwiches for lunch and dinner every day. Just mix a healthier item without being noticed. This is not a forever phenomenon. Make sure they watch you eat healthier foods. My children now guide me in my food options.
2. Clothing Choice:
Children like to pick what they want to wear. It makes them feel grown up and independent. Their outfits may be mismatched, their shoes and socks may not always complement their attires. Parents may feel embarrassed being seen in public with them, dressed like they are going to a “clown convention.” People may stare at them or make hushed comments.
Children are not concerned. Let them explore their imagination as long as it does not harm anybody. Believe me; this stage is not going to last forever. My grown up children sometimes advise me now on my clothing selections.
3. Sleep Time:
Many experts recommend a fixed sleep time for children. What is the appropriate time – 7:00 pm, 8:00 pm, or 9:00 pm? Again, there is no set time that suits all parents and children. As long as they are getting enough sleep and not irritable the next day, any sleep time is fine. The topic of children sleeping with their parents at night is greatly opposed. This is another temporary phase and nothing to be concerned about.
Set a routine, read at bedtime, listen to them and talk about your expectations from them. Remember each child is unique and has different needs, desires and fears. Believe me, this too shall pass.
4. Social Skills:
There are going to be many incidents when distraught parents are going to wish that the earth would open and swallow them because their kids are not acting “pleasant.” Yes, kids can be loud, disruptive and rude, and they love to argue. They throw tantrums in public places if the parent does not agree to meet their demand.
Be consistent, even if you have to remove them from that situation. You may not get your errands done due to this outburst. It is the price we must pay. Don’t worry about what people might think or say. Just stick to your way of disciplining. It may not be everyone’s way. That is perfectly alright. Talk and explain to your children about these incidents when they are calm. The use of three magic words - “Please”, “Thank you”, and “I’m sorry” should be taught repeatedly.