Words by Jane Faulkner
As my kids have grown and developed, I have had many of my ideals about parenting, shattered. I was very strict about screen time, food and manners. Now I am looking for the middle somewhere.
I have found that in leaning too far one way, my children became interested in the opposite. I realised I was taking choice away from them and this lead to power struggles and none of us were happy. They were also making choices for me, not for themselves.
Now we talk about the effects of screen time, food choices and how you treat others. I do this so that my kids, hopefully, learn to wisely steer their own course, rather than look back for my directions. We talk about how it feels after you have been to a party and had too many lollies, or had too much screen time; about when you have left your friend out or hurt someone’s feelings. My aim is for the kids to learn to self-regulate. I do set them up well, it’s not a free for all! We eat a whole food diet, have rules around screen time and how we treat each other. I want them to learn to make choices for themselves now, and feel the effects of these choices before they are teenagers and have to make decisions that may cost their life. I explain that everything we do, has an outcome and the choices we make render that outcome positive, or negative. I talk about how we are all accountable for making our family, our life and our world a peaceful, calm, enjoyable place to be.
I believe the understanding children have of our world is a lot greater that we give them credit for. I think having clear lines of communication creates children that have empathy and want to contribute to their world in a positive way. I discuss all kinds of issues with them and explain how all of our choices and actions in life, make a difference; how what we do and say matters.