Does it really matter?
You are too busy at work that you rarely find time to be with your family at home. Does that make you a bad parent? Maybe not, but close.
Creating a balance between being a parent, having a successful career and a thriving social life is a very delicate affair among many millennials. One of the factors usually takes precedence. Sadly, career always seems to be the winner.
And it is totally understandable- one has to put food on the table and enjoy the beautiful little things life has to offer.
But what happens when you still want to raise a healthy and happy family while still advancing in your career?
The further you advance career-wise, the less time you have to spend at home or with your children and beloved ones. Those in business have it a little bit easier because they can be able to schedule time to be with their families easily.
But picture this: You have a good, solid education, started your career from the bottom and now things have panned out for you. You earn a good income, you have lovely children and you have a supportive spouse. What are you lacking?
If your spouse stays at home to take care of your children, you may have had it easier than most, but you still need to do your bit on connecting with your children.
What’s the use of success if you do not have time to enjoy it with the people who matter to you the most?
It’s hard juggling career and parenthood for the millennial. You want to enjoy the best of both worlds. You want to witness your baby taking the first baby steps, growing a tooth, calling you mama, or papa, learning how to speak and such sweet little matters.
“The period between 18 months and 3 years is a critical period in the growth and development of a child and parents should be present, If possible, to create that lasting bond with their kids.”- Dr. Sears
You want to be there for your teenage daughter or son, to guide them through the treacherous adolescent and teenage years. You want to see them grow into responsible citizens by having a hands- on approach.
How do you do that without losing the chance to keep bringing the bacon home?
No worries, we have curated a list of proposed activities and action points you can undertake to ensure that as a parent, you do not lose the connection with your children and still be able to grow in your career so that you can have a well-balanced, all- rounded and fulfilled life.
50 + 1 great ways on how to be a successful parent despite having a hectic career
Get involved in your Children’s activities
It doesn’t matter whether it is a 2 minutes, 5 minutes or 30 minutes’ affair. Whenever you get the chance, get involved in what your kids are doing. It could be a silly game of legos, building blocks, a simple game of ‘catch’, coloring or whatever they fancy- be there. Engage them, encourage them and try to have fun while doing it. It may seem silly to you (of course it is) but it means the world to them.
Whenever possible, be present to share a meal with your family. This could form a perfect bonding moment where you take the opportunity to learn stuff about them. Have a family meal routine. For instance, you can teach your kids to conduct a thanks giving prayer before meals. This creates some sense of purpose and responsibility in them.
Send postcards whenever you are out of state or country
I know technology is the easiest way to reach out to connect with your kids at this age, and we shall get to that. However, nothing beats an old-school fashioned way such as sending a postcard whenever you are out of the state or country. 20 years later, they might not remember the calls you made, but they will relish the post cards you sent to them.
Text and use video calls whenever possible
For kids who are able to comprehend SMS, it would be a good way to communicate. You will be surprised at the rate which teenagers text. It makes them feel that you have some sense of connection with them, and their world. However, do not try to be funny, or learn their lingo on text as that may backfire really bad. It is practically impossible to keep up with all the ever changing slang, abbreviations, emoji and whatnot. You can also FaceTime or skype when you are away from them as this gives some semblance of real connection. Do not befriend them on Facebook, but if you wish to ignore this, do so at your own risk.
Plan special times and moments
Special times and moments mean different things to different people. Find something unique that you could share with your child and have fun at it.
Include your kids in your daily Schedule
As you make plans on how you will conquer the world that day, be sure to include your kids in your schedule. You might not get the chance to see them but something might come up and you may find some free time. Use that time to connect with them in some way.
Grab a snack together
Now and then, find some few minutes to escape from your workplace and grab a bite with your son or daughter. Just makes sure this does not happen too often- unless the snacks are organic (We are an organic website, We would be preaching water and drinking wine if we upheld this).
Bring your kid to the workplace
Some workplaces are so cool in that they allow their employees to take their kids to the workplace. If your company allows this, take them there. Let them know what you do, and in some situations, how you do it. Introduce them to some of your colleagues. They might get intrigued.
Drop and pick them from school
You can schedule your mornings in such a way that you are able to drop your kids to school in the morning yourself, and maybe pick them from school later in the evening. Do not leave this role to a nanny if you can help it. This stamps your presence and role in life and you can be able to have a chat during the drive.
Go shopping with them
Next time you visit a mall, allow your kids to do some supervised shopping. Give them a list, push the tray and let them pick the products as you stroll alongside. This gives them some sense of responsibility and great pride in knowing you trust them enough to pick groceries for the homestead.
Be present on birthdays and other important occasions in their lives
You can’t miss their birthday. Enough said there.
In school, try to attend their soccer practice, their drama presentations, auditions and whatnot. The support goes a long way in building their confidence.
If you happen to miss their birthday for some reason, make it up to them soon.
Say ‘I love you’ consistently and mean it
They will love you right back. Maybe.
Say “I am sorry” and mean it
Sometimes you need to say sorry to your kids if you make a mistake. Learn how to do that and mean it. This will help them learn to own up to their own mistakes in future.
Let them fail now and then
Do not spoil or pamper your kids too much. Let them learn by themselves sometimes. If they fail on something, revisit that thing and point out the mistakes made. Then let them try again. They will learn to be strong and independent.
Engage them in debates and intelligent conversations
Every now and then, engage them in intelligent debates. Let them know that you respect their opinion even if the topic is beyond their scope or realm of comprehension. You can ask them a question like;
“Billy, what do you think Trump should do about South Korea threatening to bomb us?”
You might get some very interesting responses and if they have no idea what you are talking about, school them. They will think you are a hero.
Take them on a road trip
You do not have to transverse the whole country for that. Just drive for a few hours around slowly and enjoy their chatter as you explain to them facts about places you go like a tour guide.
Be their role model
Your kids look up to you for guidance on practically all matters. Do not disappoint them. Try to guide them in the right way and you will be their role models. If you cannot fit into the role model picture, be contented with being their parent. However, do not let them think you are perfect. Just let them think you are a kick-ass dad or mom!
Buy them gifts and congratulate them when they do something good
Let the kids learn that good work is rewarded by giving them reasonable gifts when they do something good. For instance, when they get that A in school, take them to see a special movie, or buy them that video game they have been yearning for months. SHOP AMAZON- TOP GIFT IDEAS
Do not spoil your kids with gifts to compensate for your absence
We just said its a good idea to buy you kids gifts. However, do not spoil them. This is a form of bribe that will not work out well in the end. They will come to associate you with material things and when you do not give them what they want, they might turn into spoiled brats. Just apologize to them and explain to them why you could not be with them at some point.
Keep your updated on their progress in school
There is no point for paying for your kids’ tuition in expensive school if you are not able to monitor if they are getting value for your money. Keep tabs on their performance, both academically and socially. You can call the school now and then to spy on what the kids are going.
Do not be harsh in punishment
Learn how to punish your kids according to the mistake committed. Do not be too harsh and do not be too easy on them. If you are too harsh, they will form a wall of fear around them and isolate you from their world. If you are too easy, it may encourage them to keep making stupid mistakes. Even kids conduct a simple cost-benefit analysis. If they feel that the punishment will not be as harsh, they will be tempted to commit the mistake deliberately as they stand to gain more.
Teach them about money
One thing I wish my dad taught me when I was young was money. This is an important topic that will shape their financial well-being in the future. Teach your kids how to save what you give them as pocket money. Then later, teach them how to invest the little they save and how to enjoy profits. They should learn that money doesn’t grow on trees.
Bring them up to be responsible citizens
Do not bring up mean children. Teach them how to be responsible. It all starts in the house. Let them clear the table after a meal, let them make their beds, arrange their toys and such activities. Occasionally, engage in charitable events in the society with them.
Learn how to detect changes in your child’s behavior
Children’s behavior changes constantly depending on many factors. Most changes are natural, related to their growth patterns. However, abrupt changes in behavior need to be noted. For instance, children being moody all of a sudden, throwing things around, talking trash and such weird behavior. The changes could be hiding something big, maybe something happening in school or neighborhood. Detect these behaviors and address them before they escalate into something ugly.
RELATED: What to do when your kids become rebellious and how to change that effectively
Love your children unconditionally
Praise your kids in public but reprimand them privately
Do not scorn your kids in public, particularly in front of their peers. It lowers their self-esteem. When they excel in something or do something good, praise them publicly.
Do not compare your kids with others
Your neighbor’s kids may seem perfect, better mannered, better composed and destined for greater success than your kids. Do not be a fool to make the mistake of comparing your kids with others. Each child is unique in their own right. This is what makes the world a beautiful place. Each parent brings their kids up in their own style. Encourage your kids to be the best they can be, in their own capacity and not under the society’s expectations.
Let your kids see you as their safe haven
Protect your kids. Let them know you got their back at all times. They will appreciate you for that and be able to venture out of their comfort zones in pursuit of excellence.
Teach by example
You want your kids to take the trash out habitually? Start by doing it yourself. You want your kids to read book at home, start by reading a book yourself. The point is, do not impose rules on them. Let them see you do what you want them to do and they will gladly follow your guideline.
Encourage your kids to be social with their peers. Let them visit their neighbors now and then and let the neighbor’s kids come to your house to visit. Some of the longest and most fulfilling relationships and friendships in the world were formed during this stage.
Provide for them.
Food. Clothing. Shelter. Remember those basic needs?
Identify, nurture and support their talent
If Justin Bieber’s parents did not support him and his talent, he probably would never have become the sensation he grew to be. Kids have different talents. They cannot all be famous movie or music stars. Some could be the next Picasso, or the next president. Learn to identify these talents and support them as they try to explore them.
Do not raise your child to seek approval of the society
This point has been touched a bit here. As a parent and a human being, learn to live your own life, by your own rules, not those of the society. If you try to please everyone in the society, you will fail terribly. Teach your kids to also live by their own standards, so that they can live a more fulfilling life. Of course you have to find some balance and point of interest between you and the society but you get the point.
Show your kids how to get along with their siblings and family
Family could be rough and tough. Siblings are mean, annoying and selfish sometimes (most times actually). But that is what makes it a family. As a parent, its your role to teach your kids to get along with each other. Teach them how to take care of each other, how to love each other and how to support one another. After all, they are not going to wake up and disappear into thin air someday. They are family.
Be their parent, before you become their friend
Do not struggle too much to be friends with your kids that you forget how to be their parent. Start by being a parent first, then work your way to friendship. If friendship doesn’t work in the end, you can fall back into the parent role.
Allow them to question your actions now and then
Let your kids ask you questions concerning some of your actions or stand on certain matters. Explain to them clearly why you did what you did or took the specific stand you took. They will learn how to reason and defend their actions.
Secure their future
You have the money and the resources to cushion your children and assure they have a great future. It’s the role of the parent to educate their kids. If you can afford it, set up a trust, or an education policy for them. They will be able to live life without doubts and reach their full potential.
Take care of their health matters
Get a health insurance policy for your kids. It will also make you rest easy with the knowledge that their health matters are well taken care of. Nothing disheartens a parent than the thought of having a sick kid and having no capacity to do anything.
Encourage them to express how they feel
Let the kids tell you about how they feel on a variety of matters. It is important to them when they know that you seek and value their opinion on different issues.
– Craig T. Ramey, Ph.D., director of the Georgetown University Center on Health.
Take good care of yourself
How do you expect to take care of your kids when you cannot take care of yourself? Up your game, dress nicely, eat healthier, live a healthier life and you just might enjoy being a parent to your kids and friends to others.
Display affection to your partner in front of your children
It may seem gross to them but go right ahead, kiss your partner in front of them. This public display of affection offers them great assurance that all is well and there’s a lot of love to go around in the house.
Talk less, listen More
Let your kids do all the talking. Just do the listening and prompting, and act like their opinion and jibberish is all that matters to you in this world. It might not make sense to you, but it does to them.
Avoid using phones or electronics during dinner time
There’s this annoying habit nof people eating whilst engrossed in their phones, ipads or newspapers. Make the dinner time a tech free time. No receiving phone calls, no making calls, just a good old fashioned family dinner where healthy conversations can be had before everyone gets back to tech world.
Develop a strict family culture
Have a culture that everyone has to observe. For instance, tech-free dinner times, strict times for sleeping, making beds when kids wake up, being polite to strangers, taking dirty dishes to the sink among others. Each kid will grow up with a sense of responsibility.
Read with them/for them
Find time to read with your kids before they sleep. Let them read out loud and correct them when they err. Do not be fast to correct frequently though. Let them know they are doing just great. Read to them books that interest them. Occasionally, sit with them as they watch cartoons on TV.
Monitor their online activities
It might seem intrusive to their privacy, but it’s worth it. There are all manners and sorts of abuse and bullying online these days. There is no need to let your children become victims of something you can control. Place limitations and filters on what they can watch online.
Be the boss in the homestead
Children need to look up to someone who has some semblance of authority. Be that person. Let them come to you when they have issues, grievances or concerns because they believe that you will resolve them perfectly and fairly. Be firm with your judgements and punishments but be fair as well.
Do not quarrel in front of your children
Parents quarrel all the time- we are human beings after all. However, try to avoid quarreling in front of your kids as this may have negative implications on their future.
Learn about what your kids love and surprise them now and them
Surprise your kids with stuff they love now and then. This brings them closer to you and keeps them in anticipation of the next surprise.
It’s Ok to fail sometimes
Do not be too hard on yourself. And do not beat yourself too much when things do not seem to go the way you expect with your kids. Fail, learn and try again.
Now you know different ways to be relevant in the lives of your kids despite having a hectic career. The next step (and most important one) is to put these figments of wisdom into real action. Enjoy your career and enjoy being a great parent.
Happy parenting, parent!