Stephen Coventry
Stephen Coventry

A FEW weeks ago I wrote an article about the” joys and pain” of being a parent.

I suggested that every parent “wants to be” the best parent they can possibly  be. The trouble is,  it’s not that easy.

As we all know there are no formal qualifications required or training provided to new mums or  dads.

Few parents have the time to read lots of books on the subject of “parenting” and rely on friends and family for help and advice. Some people simply use the “role model” provided by their parents to bring up their own child/children. However help is at hand.

In this article I am, going to expand on my idea of the BASICS.

That is: belonging, aspirations, safety, identity, challenge and success. In my last article I looked at belonging. Today I want to look at aspirations and the importance of setting goals.

  • Aspirations are about dreams and what is possible. We all have them, we all need them; but…..we seldom share them. Talk to your child about what is possible. Have positive aspirations for your child and share them. Aim high – but remind them the only place you will find “success before work” is in a dictionary!
  • If your child/children really want something, they need to know it will require some effort to get it/achieve it. To turn dreams into reality they may need to alter or improve what they are doing. They need to learn patience and the value of sticking at things! The sad fact is too many children want everything NOW! They want their new mobile phone NOW.
  • They want new clothes NOW. They want to be a good football player or netball player NOW…..(without all the training required).  Some parents “bend over backwards”  to keep their children happy. Noble though this may be, it will eventually end in tears.   Children need to know (very early on) what the word NO means. They also need to make that vital link between putting in some effort now into an activity and rewards in the future. A good example would be playing a musical instrument – you must practise now if you want to improve tomorrow.
  • Once your child learns how to stick at things over time, aspirations can be turned into goals. A goal is a dream with a timeline. Children who can set goals and work towards them will be more successful in later life. They will have greater self confidence, mental strength and resilience. Children who have it “too easy in life” risk being flattened when things don’t go to plan.
  • My top tip is to teach your child the meaning of the word NO! Teach them the importance of sticking at things. Praise them for persistence. Sadly too many children give -up on anything remotely challenging. This is why so many underachieve. Tough love is what your child needs, not emotionally weak parents Your child will NOT thank you now, but they will in the future.

Once again, being a good parent is not easy.  However it is, arguably, the most important job in the world and the most rewarding. Good luck!

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