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What are the most effective, sure-fire practices for raising children well?
Parenting is a tough, extenuating, lacerating, tiresome, but very rewarding business (love, affection, company, pensions and propagation of genes). By being still in it on both sides as a son and father, I feel very confident in stating that the single most important, almost crucial, aspect that you should keep at hand in order for your children to have a pleasant life now and in the future is: Stay calm.
If you don’t, they won’t either.
If you don’t, you’ll regret teaching them, indirectly, how to not behave.
If you don’t, your health will worsen.
If you don’t, your marriage/company/family/extended family/whatever-social-structure-you-are-growing-your-children-in will suffer.
And, you know what? There are really no benefits whatsoever in not staying calm and keeping it cool. Rage or violence won’t get you anywhere in 2016. Anger or revenge will just sicken you and the people around you.
And that’s Point One. Very important, especially for men who are historically and genetically more prone to rage because of testosterone.
An equally important point for parents to remember: Let your children live.
Let them get hurt. Let them break a bone. Let them fall without being constantly present to comfort them. See them get in trouble and allow them to fall into it (as long as it’s not irreversible). Let them get burned. Let them taste spicy food. Let them touch the world and be touched by it. And when they come to you, help them out to understand what went wrong and why. Ask questions. State your opinion and allow them to reason and to figure it out.
If you don’t, they’ll never grow.
If you don’t, they’ll always depend on your strength (that you’re not even sure you have), your money, your status, your height, and your presence.
If you don’t, you’ll block the most important aspect of learning: experience.
Let them get burned. Let them taste spicy food. Let them touch the world and be touched by it.
There’s also a third point, but I’d state it as a rule of life that everyone should adopt (no matter if they’re parents or not): Always be curious. About yourself and them. Be open. Never think he/she is like this or that. Never fall into the trap of creating his/her character by stating that “he/she likes this”, “he/she needs that”, “he/she must do this /that”. No, untrue, false.
We need only air, food and water. We adapt continuously to our surroundings and when we have only our parents around us that’s the only thing we will adapt to. What you tell them matters so much you can’t imagine. Don’t ever state who they are, otherwise that’s what they’ll think they need to become.
Alessandro Fais is a father of 2 angels that together become one beast.