How Family Life Has Changed In Recent Years
Some would say that families today are almost unrecognisable compared to say, 50 years ago; others would argue that much of the basics of family life remain the same. What is certain is that family life, the world over, is changing shape to some degree as we alter the way we live, work and bring up our children.
Family life is certainly much busier and more stressful today than it was a decade or more ago with many parents struggling to balance work and family life. Parenting is often a subject of intense debate with some arguing that a mother’s place is at home with her children whilst others consider that women have the right to a worthwhile career as well as being a parent.
Being A Good Role Model
Family life may well have changed but family values remain as strong today as they ever were. All parents want their children to grow up happy and healthy and to possess the skills necessary for them to become valued and accepted members of society. However, in order to do this, children need to know how to be confident, sociable and well behaved. These skills need to be taught as they do not come naturally! A good role model is therefore vital. Teaching children how to behave in an acceptable manner is a complex procedure and one which can often be very daunting for parents.
Teaching Your Kids Right From Wrong
Parents can, and indeed do, make an enormous difference to their child’s chances of success in life and it is vital that they understand just how important a role they play.
In the past children were expected to ‘be seen and not heard’, they knew their place and they were often punished, physically, for misbehaving. Many would argue that children in the past knew how to behave in comparison to today’s children who are often perceived as being spoilt, lazy and uncooperative. I doubt many parents, however, would like to go back to the days where children were expected to sit silently and possess no ideas or views. Children, as we know, are a great source of enjoyment particularly to their parents, however it is important that they understand the ‘rules’ of society and that they learn how to respect others in order to gain respect for themselves.
Parents go out to work for all sorts of reasons. Their need to work may be dictated by:
a desire for adult company.
Life is all about compromise and choice and it is important to remember that everyone has different reasons for wanting or needing to work.
Most working parents will share some common emotions such as:
guilt at enjoying their job
guilt at leaving their children
feeling robbed of the time they can spend with their children
Talk to any parent and you probably won’t be surprised to find that all of them share some form of guilt. Those who stay at home to look after their children feel guilty because they don’t have a career or contribute to the family finances; those who go out to work feel guilty because they are not at home looking after their children.
It is very important that working parents do not fall into the trap of ‘over compensating’ for their absence through work by allowing their child too much freedom, as this will ultimately lead to a lack of discipline and proper parental control. That is not to say that parents should be ruthless disciplinarians it just means you need to bear in mind that children will not benefit from relaxed rules in place of quality time with their parents.
Enjoying Quality Time With Your Child
The all important, often discussed ‘quality time’ means taking the time to listen to, interact with and respond to your child in an unhurried manner. Quality time means that your child has your undivided attention for some part of the day. This may be sitting having a leisurely dinner around the table when you are able to listen to what your child has done at nursery, school or with their childminder; it may be playing in the bath with them or when reading a bedtime story. You need to be able to concentrate completely on your child and what they are saying without any other distractions.
In order to make quality time special and important you need to take several things into consideration:
You will be tired after a busy day at work and so too will your child, therefore the amount of quality time you spend together at the end of a working day may be limited.
Your child will have spent most of the day away from you, so it is perfectly natural that they will demand your attention.
You will probably still have household chores to do such as the washing, ironing and preparing a meal, so you will need to be organised and plan in advance if everything is to get done.
Stay-at-home mums also need to look closely at the amount of quality time they spend with their children. They may be with their children 24 hours a day but how much of this time is actually spent talking to and interacting with their offspring and how much time is spent washing, ironing, cooking and cleaning?