Raising children has always been a difficult challenge, and this is made all too clear in the modern world. With so many parenting styles, advice and books available on the subject that all provide conflicting advice, decisions often come down to the individual parents who try to either emulate the way they themselves were raised, or to do the opposite. The modern world provides many challenges that are new and different from any experienced by previous generations, and it can be exceedingly difficult for parents to know how to react to them. The following tips can help parents today raise their children in light of these new and unique challenges presented in the modern world.
1) Social Media
Social media sites like Facebook are growing in popularity constantly. With social media use on the rise with a younger generation of children, online or cyber bullying instances are also increasing. Prohibiting your children from joining Facebook altogether in an attempt to protect them from this threat can often be counter-productive. When children are restricted or forbidden from something, they often have a tendency to rebel and do what they’re not supposed to do. Forbidding something makes it more appealing. Simply talking to them about the dangers associated with social networking sites and keeping an “open-monitor” policy (which allows you, the parent, access to your child’s account so you can check what they’re doing online) can be more beneficial than trying to outlaw social media altogether.
2) Cell Phones
Knowing when to get your child a cell phone can be one of the most contentious questions in parenting today. While cell phones are valuable in the sense that they allow parent and children to get in touch while on the go, they can also pose a world of problems. It is important to have a discussion with your child about responsibility prior to purchasing a cell phone for them. Many cell phone companies have family plans that allow parents to place restrictions on phones in the possession of their children which can block numbers, texts, certain web access, etc. Keeping an open communication policy and expressing clearly what kind of behavior you expect from your growing child can work wonders in limiting the risks associated with cell phone usage. If the child fails to live up to their end of the bargain set ahead of time, the phone can always be taken away.
3) Take an Active Role
It is more vital than ever for parents to get involved in the day to day activities of their children. This can be a difficult goal to meet with the pressures and headaches of a society constantly on the go. But knowing what’s going on in the lives of our children is the key to successful parenting. Get involved with their school. Volunteer, if possible, to help out with special events. Know your child’s friends, coaches and teachers. Communicate with the parents of your child’s friends. Keep a line of open communication open at all times.
One of the most important factors to consider when facing challenges in parenting in light of the modern world is that you want to aim to be a positive role model rather than a dictator. Aim for a consciousness of growing, changing trends in technology and social aspects of your child’s lives rather than focusing on being overly strict. Communication is the key to successful parenting. By presenting yourself as a positive role model with an open-door policy, your kids are more likely to come to you when they face problems socially, in school or at home, and that’s the best possible outcome. Encourage communication at all times and let them explore the world for themselves in their own way while staying safe and protected as much as possible.
The author is a parent, a personal assistant to a motivational speaker and into motivational self-help.