Friday, July 1, 2011

So, How do Electronics and Babies Mix?

For all of you new parents out there, I have to say but a sole word.  Sorry.  I know that raising and pleasing a new kid may be difficult and at times, not exactly feasible, but it's worth it.  Holding that little child in your arms, knowing that it loves you and that it goes beyond simply being fed, is one of life's greatest pleasures.  It's hard to imagine right now that in only a decade or two, they'll leave as soon as they came.  But not to worry, as you still will have many great experiences with this tiny miracle.  So... What's your plan?  Here's what I mean by that.  Though that with normal parenting the child would grow up just fine and have a happy life, there are some tricks to making it easier to raise a kid.  But first of all, let's focus on the basics of raising children.

One: Do not forbid them from being in contact with electronics.  I know that this may seem a little strange a suggestion, and possibly even a little difficult to take seriously, but I will explain this in more depth in the columns below.  This will cool resentment towards you by letting be involved in their social environment.

Two: Make them understand what electronics are really are.  (So that they do not end up wasting hours of their time daily on Facebook and the like.)  Make them understand that electronics are much more than simply Facebook, texting, and more of society's garbage.

Three:  Make them feel like they are talking to a friend when they speak to you.  It is in this manner that you will be able to make sure that they are not being bullied, offended, etc.  Not by spying on them.

Now lets focus on a largely misunderstood way of parenting.  Most do not call it spying, but simply monitoring.  Or perhaps, 'making sure they're ok'.  Though at first this way of parenting may seem very potential, it comes with horrible consequences.  While in the adult's point of view, 'monitoring' their kid may seem acceptable, from the child's point of view, it makes them feel diminished and violated.  And even though this may sound a bit far-fetched, they feel as if they aren't truly being themselves..  Mainly because, they feel as if they have to be fit into their parent's expectations and desires, not their own.  Even if you are not trying to impose something of this sort on the child, the common lack of communication makes it seem so to the child.  Also, the only change in the behavior of the child is that their behavior will worsen and that all real communication with peers will be done through whispering while alone

Another thing that usually comes with this monitoring of the child is lack of communication.  If the child feels that they are talking to someone of authority and someone capable of dealing out punishment, they obviously will not feel comfortable talking to that person.  But if they look at you as a close friend who just happens to have slight authority over them, they will trust you much more and feel more comfortable reporting problems.

How do you do that?  Well generally, the best way is to simply raise them as an equal.  (And make it seem as if the temper-tantrums and problems they arouse are irrelevant to they being equals).  To deal punishment when truly necessary, but otherwise, not.  My parents rarely punished me and that was only when I truly made a fault.  When something severe was happening and without me realizing it.  Such as, arrogance, disrespect, aggression, physical combat, etc.  But nothing like, accidentally breaking the dishes or getting a bad grade, or anything of the sort.  They simply told me that I had committed a mistake and to realize it.  I would always say sorry and hug them, and never try to blame it on someone else because I knew no punishment would be dealt either way.

The best way to raise is a kid to set a few limits, correct him/her when necessary, and to give suggestions, but never to try to force them into things they don't wish to do.  They will bloom in their own ways, and you shouldn't expect them to be like you or to be what you want them to be.  If just follow these rules, the kid should be just fine.  They will feel able to express themselves and be much less prone to vulgar social environments and the like.  They will, however, be more prone to academics and healthier things than Facebook and electronics.

Basically, do not spy on them, force them into things, threaten them in any way, or do anything at all that could make them feel unworthy of themselves or of expressing themselves.  Here is what you do want to do.  Let them be themselves, make few intervenes in their life, but make sure that they trust you.  Let them know that they are your friends, not just their children.  Remember, a good relationship is built on trust, not on control.  I hope you enjoyed this essay.

- Alejandro Rocha

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