In the first part of this article, ‘How to raise healthy children (Part 1)’, I stated that a child experiences mental and emotional development from the day they are born till the day they die. So, if you have not read the first part of this article, I recommend you do so. I added that the emotional growth of a child is very much dependent on the emotional stability of his or her caregiver; i.e. the more emotionally stable the parent of a child is, the more emotionally stable the child is likely to be.
Parents with low self-respect and poor self-concepts have difficulties raising children with healthy self-concepts. The reason is that they are simply incapable of raising them that way because they have very little idea of how to go about it- their own parents didn’t help matters either. This is why in a home, parents may be unable to respect and love their children sufficiently if they do not respect and love themselves- you cannot give out what you don‘t have.
More so, most parents expect their children to fulfil their own wishes- this is technically saying that they do not take their children’s interests and values into consideration. Because of their inadequacies and deficiencies when growing up, they try to fill this void by making their children achieve those things they failed to achieve. They see their children as an extension of themselves; as though their sole reason for existing is to fulfil their (i.e. the parents’) wishes. They never get to realize that every child is unique and has his/her own unique purpose. In an effort to guide their children through what they believe to be the right path, they fail to realize where they go wrong because they refused to take into consideration their children’s strengths, weaknesses, values, and interests.
For instance, a parent who grew up as a perfectionist, having high expectations and never satisfied with his or her accomplishments, may expect his or her child to be perfect; reprimanding them for perceived imperfection. Raising a child this way is raising him or her selfishly, without considering the fact that the child is a work-in-progress. By so doing, you are involving your own personal insecurities in raising your child as though your child was a trophy. Your child will grow up becoming a perfectionist like you, nursing anxiety and thinking that making mistakes is something to be highly ashamed of.
Your children do not exist to fulfil your wishes. They live to fulfil their own divine purpose, which they and they alone can understand. Bring up your children by teaching them good values and sharing your experiences. Teach your child well enough to discern what is good and what is bad, and also to live a faithful and purposeful life. Let them discover their true abilities, and guide them where they need guidance. Advise them and show enough proofs to back up what you say. Do not force them to be what you want them to be. If they don‘t like medicine, engineering, or law, do not push them; as doing so would be inconsiderate.