Raising kids is probably the hardest job out there, and frankly there is no rulebook one can strictly follow. Every child is different and needs a slightly different approach, which means something might work for one kid but not for the other. And because of this parents tend to often get confused on how to approach their child. Well firstly, they should always follow their parenting instincts, because those are very rarely wrong, but if they do need some additional parenting help, we have assembled a list of 10 things parents should try to be strict about and 10 things they can definitely be more lax about.
Now as with everything, parents do need to make sure to adjust these to their child and their needs, but in general, most of these are applicable to every kid out there. From having to brush their teeth two times a day, to letting them do things their own way (even if they are doing them wrong), there's surely something every parent can learn from this list. And if not, congrats, they are already nailing this whole parenting thing!
Now here they are, 10 things parents should try to be more strict about and 10 things they can definitely be more chill about.
Let's start with the 10 things parents can stand to be more lax about...
20 Let Them Choose Their Own Extracurricular Activities
So we all know how important extracurricular activities are nowadays, especially for teens who are hoping of getting into their dream college. But regardless of the kid's age, parents should really never force their kid into an extracurricular activity the child doesn't like, even if the parents think it would be great for them. The whole point of extracurriculars is that they should be fun for the child, and the child should want to participate in them. So let your child try out anything they like, and never force them to stick to something just because you think it's good.
19 Let Them Choose Their Friends
It is never a good idea for parents to force friendships upon their kids. Sure you can let your child meet a family friends child, and you can hope they become besties, but if they don't click, they don't and you certainly don't need to do anything about them. And if your child does make friends you're not too fond of, try to not show it. Of course, if the friend group your child is in seems dangerous to you in any way, it is okay to interfere, but otherwise, just let your child be their own person and pick their own friends.
18 They Should Be Allowed To (Mostly) Wear What They Want
Some kids love fashion, and they love picking their own outfits. Others couldn't care less about what they wear. Either way, letting your child wear what they want is part of them growing up and figuring out what they like and who they are (as silly as that sounds), so do not interfere with their fashion choices unless it's necessary. Having that said, do make sure they aren't breaking any of their school's dress codes, but other than that let them explore all the wonderful variety the world of fashion offers, and let them have a preppy or punk phase if they want to.
17 Respect Their Idea Of Fun
What you as a parent think would be fun for your kid, might not actually be fun for them. Times have changed and parents - no matter how young they might be, are still a different generation than their kids, and it is no secret that the idea of fun kind of changes with the generations. So if your child is having some free time and they want to do fun stuff, let them choose what they feel like doing instead of you forcing something upon them. Hey, maybe you'll even learn a thing or two if if they let you participate!
16 Special Occasions Can Change The Rules
Any rule you have with your kids should not be impossible to change. Adapting to the circumstances (and to each child individually) is always beneficial for everyone involved. And some rules just need to be thrown out the window for special occasions such as a child's birthday. There's no need to make them clean their room then, and one can also let them stay out and hour or two longer on their special day. Either way, while having rules is crucial, it is also important to know when not to stick to them, and when it's time to adapt and change them.
15 Let Them Decorate Their Own Room
A child's room is their own little safe haven. Which is exactly why you should always let them decorate it whichever way they like. And if they are sharing a room with a sibling, make them agree to either decorating it together or each decorating their side of it. You should never force your own interior style on your kids, and honestly if they want to put up posters or stick stickers on their furniture, just let them. Everyone always remembers the room they grew up in, and you certainly want your child to remember it as a happy memory!
14 Let Their Free Time Be Theirs
If your kid has free time, you should really let that time be truly theirs, and not plan too much for them during that time. This way if they want to read a book they can do that, if they want to hang out with friends no one is stopping them, and if it happens that they want to do something with you, then that's great! But honestly, parents should never force their children to spend their free time with them, because even the youngest of children still crave some alone time, or time spent with someone besides their parents.
13 Sleepovers Are Okay
Honestly, it is 2019, which means that any parents who are agains sleepovers need to understand that sleepovers are just a crucial part of childhood, and no kid should be denied that. So if you're for some reason uncomfortable with letting your child stay at another family's house try to get to know the family and see if you end up changing your mind. And if it turns out you don't at least be open to hosting sleepovers, so that your child doesn't have to miss out on this experience. Seriously, there's just something unexplainably exciting about having your bestie stay over!
12 Always Let Them Share Their Input And Feelings
Some parents are strict to the extent that the child does not feel comfortable to share their feelings and complain to the parents if something is bugging them. And while being strict surely has it's upsides, no parent should be so strict that the child feels uncomfortable to share their input with them. Which is why it is always important to let the child know they can tell you anything, even if they think it might offend or hurt you. At the end of the day you do want your kid to feel comfortable in the household, and if they are not for some reason, they should be able to confide in you.
11 Let Them Do Things Their Way
You know what kids really don't like? When they are doing something and you keep interfering and trying to show them how to do it better. Of course sometimes this is completely justified, but a lot of times you just do it because watching them struggle annoys you. But here's the thing: How will your child ever get to learn something on their own if you're constantly there to help them and tell them how to do it. Sometimes kids need to learn the hard way, as that trains their mind to think more logically. So next time you wanna tell them how to do something, wait and see if they figure it out on their own.
And here are 10 things parents need to be strict about...
10 They Must Brush Their Teeth At Least Twice A Day
This one might seem silly, as most people already know the importance of brushing teeth, but one would be surprised how many times parents allow their kids to go to sleep without having brushed, simply because the child is too tired to brush them. And honestly, adults are often too tired as well, but we know how important it is for our oral health, so we force ourselves to do it anyway. Which is exactly why you should force your kid as well. Besides, once the kid realizes they can't get out of it, they will stop trying, we promise!
9 Not Letting Kids Binge Watch Too Much
Okay, let's face it, watching content on TV or laptop is just part of the world's daily routine nowadays. And kids are no different, they love to sit and watch a couple of episodes of their favorite child's show, or have the newest Disney movie on repeat. And while it is so easy to just let your child do that, it is also no good for their health. Too much screen time can have plenty of health consequences, from not being able to fall asleep to getting irritated easily. Parents should definitely be more strict when it comes to how much TV time they allow their child per day, and they should stick to it.
8 Doing Their Homework As Soon As Possible
Once you teach your child to do their homework as soon as possible, it will turn into a habit for them, and they will have it so much easier the older they get - and the harder the homework gets. Now of course, this doesn't mean the child needs to jump to it as soon as the get home from school - let them have a meal and rest a bit, but doing there homework sooner rather than later will benefit them so much later on, as they are less likely to become procrastinators. And while procrastinators still usually get things done, it is so much easier not being one.
7 They Need To Have A Healthy Sleep Pattern
So many adults struggle with having a healthy sleeping pattern. And a lot of it do so because they didn't have a healthy foundation from a young age. This is why parents need to realize that making sure your child gets enough sleep on a daily basis, goes to bed around the same time and wakes up at a certain time as well, is crucial for their health later on. This can be very hard to implement as many kids like to stay up later on the weekends, as well as sleep in, but keeping an eye on this and not letting them get too far away from their regular schedule is what a good parent would do.
6 They Need To Learn To Keep Their Promises
One thing parents should make sure to teach their child is the importance of a promise. Sure promises may not always be kept, and under special circumstances that is acceptable, but most promises need to be kept. This way the child knows from an early age on that giving someone their word is not something to play with. But this obviously goes both ways, if you want your child to keep their promises, you as a parent must lead by example and keep yours as well. Building a good and strong character is something that is done from a very young age, and this is just one example on how.
5 Make Sure They Know Their Responsibility
Kids can have some responsibility from a very early age on, and they should. Having responsibility and being used to it is a good trait, and parents should definitely try to make their kids understand this as soon as possible. Which is why they should be strict when it comes to their child's responsibility. So whether it is taking the family dog out for a walk or cleaning their room once a week if the child knows they must do it, the parents need to be strict and insist it gets done. Of course, as with everything there are exceptions, aka you should never force a sick child to do such things.
4 A Curfew Is A Curfew
Once the child is in their teens it is bound to start asking to go out and hang with their friends in the evenings. And in this case a curfew is a necessity, and parents need to make sure the child understands that they cannot be late. Letting you child be late half an hour or more and having them get away with it totally defeats the purpose of the curfew. If they are late (more than 15-20 minutes), they should be grounded in some way, just to make sure they are not late again. And of course, curfews are allowed to be moved for special occasions such as birthdays or school dances. One day they will understand this was for their own safety.
3 Healthy Eating Is Essential
Another thing that affects the child's health besides a good sleeping pattern is eating healthy food. Which is why parents should be more strict on this as well. Allowing your child to eat a bunch of sweets and snacks from an early age on is definitely bad fro them, so parents should try to keep those to a minimum, and use them only as special rewards, and perhaps let the child indulge in those on special occasions only. Having your child have healthy eating habits will make their life so much easier later on, and trust us, they will thank you for it!
2 House Rules Need To Be Followed
Every household has it's own rules and parents should be strict on making sure their kids follow them. Whether this means taking their shoes of at the entry door, washing their dishes after a meal, or making their bed every morning, the house rules are there and every family member needs to follow them without exception (if they are old enough of course). Having rules in a household prevents it from getting too chaotic and ensures there's always some kind of order in it, which is a necessity. And if a child doesn't follow the rules parents need to be more strict with it!
1 Internet Safety Is Important
We live in an age where the internet is a regular part of everyday life (heck, you're reading this one the internet right now), but being aware of the dangers of internet is part of every modern parents job. Which is why making sure your kid is using the internet safely is of extreme importance. Using browser extensions, or even apps that allow only family safe content is something parents should definitely look into if their child is spending any unsupervised time on the internet. Also making sure your kids know not to talk to strangers online is a must!