Over 53,000 minors are in prison right now. While the majority of them are in juvenile delinquency centers, up to 10,000 find themselves behind bars with adults.
There are a number of factors that contribute to children getting into trouble with the law. While discussing all of those factors is beyond the scope of this post, we will be examining what we feel is the biggest contributor to the problem: Parent intervention.
Many people, particularly those in poverty-stricken communities, have children when they’re unprepared to care for them. These parents are working multiple jobs, are young and not in a headspace to give their child the attention that they need to be their best selves.
Whether you come from a privileged background or things are harder for you, there are small things that you can do to produce good children that fulfill their potential. Here are some places to start…
1. Teach Your Child About Empathy
It’s human nature to want what’s best for yourself and ignore the needs of others. Working against that nature is something that needs to be built up over a long period of time and that building, for your child, starts with you.
When your child observes something adversely affects somebody else, ask them if they know why the affected person is unhappy. Discuss with them how that person is probably feeling and come up with ways that you might be able to help them.
These mental exercises can pave the way for your child to be more emotionally intelligent as they grow.
2. Make Your Child Aware of Their Privilege
No matter how bad off you have it, chances are, somebody has it worse. Rather than letting your child feel that they’re disadvantaged because their friends have something that they don’t, expose your child to people that have it rougher than they do.
Great ways to give your child perspective on privilege is to volunteer with them at homeless shelters or in food banks.
Helping your child to understand that, relatively speaking, they have a good life can help them to be more appreciative.
3. Manners Should Be a Priority
Good children have good manners. Good children that have good manners grow into respectable adults that will likely land good jobs.
We’re assuming that you want all of that for your son or daughter.
Instilling good manners in children is just a matter of practice. When they receive something, let them know that they need to say thank you. When they want something, make them say please.
After a while, these habits will become second nature.
4. Don’t Be Hesitant to Discipline
You’ll be hard-pressed to turn out good children without being open to doling out discipline. Not all discipline needs to be predicated on hitting. As a matter of fact, many experts find hitting counterproductive when it comes to disciplining kids.
Doing things like taking away privileges is an effective way to let your child know that there are consequences for their actions and will make them think twice before acting inappropriately going forward.
5. Foster Exposure to Responsibilities
As an adult, your child will be held accountable for doing things. This can be a rude awakening to children when they are raised without any responsibilities growing up.
To foster a sense of responsibility from an early age, the moment that it becomes feasible, have your child start helping with chores. Let them know that if they complete their chores for a certain stretch of time that they’ll be rewarded and if they don’t, they’ll be punished, just like they would be in the real world.
6. Respect Your Child’s Intelligence
Your child may not know as much as you do but they’re learning fast. In order to help them foster their ability to learn, give them the space that they need to think, offer suggestions and analyze their decisions.
For example, if your child suggests that something should be done, explore their suggestion. Ask them why they think what they’re thinking. Offer them alternatives and see what they think about those.
The more of a critical thinking environment that you build around your child, the smarter and more confident that they’ll become in their ability to contribute to a situation.
7. Expose Them to Other Cultures
There’s a whole world that exists beyond your street. The sooner your child learns that, the better.
Treating your child to this delicious food from Colombia or taking them on a vacation abroad instead of Disneyland are small things that you can do to make your child aware of their place in the world which will inspire them to do bigger things.
8. Be Consistent
You can read all of the parenting advice in the world but if you’re not willing to make what you learn a priority every day, it won’t help your child’s outcomes.
Raising a child is work. It takes action, even when that action is less convenient than letting bad behavior slide.
Be consistent in how you enforce the standards of your household and you’ll give your children the best possible chance of retaining the lessons that you’re teaching them and taking those lessons into adulthood.
Wrapping Up Our Tips on How to Raise Good Children
There are a number of factors that will influence the kind of child that you bring up. The most important factor is you.
Make raising good children a priority by creating a positive structure in your household and you’ll be blown away by the results that you see.
For additional parenting tips and other fun information on things that matter to you, check out more of the content on our blog!