It was never easy to be a good parent to your child. No matter what you did, as a parent, you always remain gripped with the fear that you missed out on something. The 21st century is no exception. If anything, it has become harder to successfully parent the 21st century child. So, here is a heartfelt guide to parenting in the 21st century to help you navigate the perils of an age dominated not by values, but by technology.
Lead the way by practicing, not preaching
Modern day parenting demands a practical approach. Gone are the days where you could just scold your child for a badly exhibited behavior and expect it follow your words verbatim. In this day and age, you need to be a good role model to raise a good child. You must practice what you preach, or forget the preaching part altogether.
If you are someone who is constantly on your phone – be it for any reason – you simply cannot expect your child to put his/her phone aside and focus on more important things. You must set an example. Stay away from phone as much as you can in front of your 21st century child and then ask him/her to stay away from it. Otherwise, it just won’t work.
Teach your child to be happy rather than be successful
How to be a 21st century parent? By teaching your child to be more happy than successful. In 2018, children continue to participate in contests – even on an international stage to exhibit their talent or skill. While this is a great feat for a small child to achieve, let them know – in every way possible – that this is not the end to their means.
In a highly competitive world, the home and the parent is the safest place for a child to go and be himself. If you take away that safety from him/her, it will lead them down the road which will ultimately prove to be fatal for them.
The idea behind successful modern day parenting is to teach your child to seek happiness rather than success. And if that’s not possible in a particular situation, then teach the child the trick to balancing the two. Be happy around your kid. Don’t brag too much about your success or even get down completely when hit with failure. Your child needs to know that the world is a much better place than a zoo where a dog-eats-dog lifestyle is valued. And there is no one better than you to teach them this.
Be a good listener
Your child is at an age in his life where he is being moulded by what surrounds him. He is that empty slate over which anything can be formed. The best way of parenting in the 21st century is not to be as much of a parent as a friend to your child.
Listen to what your child has to say. Listen very carefully. The key to become a good parent is to be a good listener and a good friend. Yes, more often than not, your child will utter silly, random words. Sometimes, he might not even be able to form a proper sentence. But learn to read between the lines, and you will automatically know how to be a 21st century parent.
Once you lend a patient ear to your child, you will realize that sometimes he does have a lot of curious insight into the way things happen in the world around him. And if left unattended, it will just lead to misconceptions about the world in the mind of your kid. And we all know how that turns out. So, just sit and listen.
Spend time with your child
It might sound absurd. But the reality is that as modern day parents, we just don’t spend enough time with the kids. Life is stressful. In the 21st century, both the parents need to work for a decent survival in this world. But remember, bringing another life in this world is an act that comes with a lot of responsibilities. And if you try to shrink away from those, the consequences are bound to be disastrous.
Your child is most connected to you in this whole world. And by not spending enough time with your child, you are sending a message of neglect and hatred. Your child needs to learn concern, compassion and love right at home. Only you can provide your 21st century child with these emotions. A majority of neglected children turn into abusive or depressed adults. So spend quality time with your child, let him/her experience the love and security of a family.
Don’t beat yourself up
No one can be the perfect parent. Not even you. Because parenting is never one-sided. It is a relationship that depends on you as the parent and the other human being as the child. No matter what you do, how hard you try, there are going to be times when you fail at it. But don’t beat yourself up for it. You are not a fault. Just give your 100% and leave the rest to fate.
As a parent, sometimes you will feel like nothing that you do is enough for your child’s intellect or emotional intelligence. No matter how many efforts you put in, your child is just not the best child out there. But you cannot change things after a certain point. Accept the fact and make peace with it. Perfect parenting doesn’t exist, no matter what people say. Because…
There is no right way to do the parenting in the 21st century
Yes, you read it right. There is no right or wrong way to be a good parent to your child. It all depends on various factors within and around the society you live in. You might be a strict parent and yet fail to teach discipline to your child. You might be friendly parent and yet realize that your child just isn’t that open and connected to you. But that’s okay.
Because as long as you are doing everything you can, and everything you should, it doesn’t matter what the end result will be. You are performing a role. Just do it the way it feels right to you. Modern day parenting is about part experimenting and part learning. Just enjoy the process, be careful wherever you can, and go with the flow.