7 Essential Life Lessons Parents Can Learn From Their Children
While we were all children once, over time we can change greatly and forget some of the simple life lessons we learn and exercise as kids. Sometimes, the fresh perspective of a child is what we need to hear, not in terms of its academic integrity, but due to its pureness, and perhaps even what you may call the wisdom of youth.
This may sound like some nice platitudes that have little in the way of real merit for an actual adult trying to work through the responsibilities of life, but the principle remains – our children can teach us to be better and become better parents, in their own way. While they may not tell you these lessons directly, sometimes it can be worth reminding yourself of that wisdom you could have lost over the years.
Furthermore, our efforts at helping them develop as a little person, growing and dealing with entirely new situations, meeting completely new people, and growing as a brand new human can give us the fuel we need to keep at it, and to prioritize what is most important in life. Let’s discuss the seven essential life lessons parents can learn from their children:
Keeping Consistent & Fair
Children often have a very astute perception of fairness, when it is appropriate or inappropriately applied. Parents with sons or daughters of a similar age will no doubt know how siblings have to have everything equally, from the value amount of the Christmas presents provided to the perfectly equal slice of cake given.
While this can seem somewhat laborious for parents, who understand that the world isn’t fair and rarely as black and white as they may think, it can be worthwhile to think about fairness in terms of its value and ethics, and how it can help us live with more authenticity. Often, this just means keeping consistent in your advice and behaviors, to reduce the times in which you show hypocrisy. Doing this can help us feel better about ourselves, while also contributing a little more to the world around us, our priorities in excellent order.
Taking Care Of Yourself
Children, if they’re not cared for, become cranky and tired. But children can also teach us that despite knowing parenthood is our number one most essential life priority – if we don’t care for ourselves too, we cannot properly engage in this.
Taking care of yourself is non-negotiable then, even if you’ve learned not to be as cranky or vocal about a bad night’s sleep or overconsumption of sugar – that doesn’t mean it’s not hurting you. Having children lays your vices bare, and allows you to be more disciplined with yourself – just as you would with the bedtime of your little one.
Leading By Example
Children learn through osmosis. That means what you do, they will find an interest in, consider justified, or maybe even replicate. When children curse using expletives, for instance, it’s clear to see where they’ve learned that from.
Our kids remind us to lead by example where we can, and to try and embody the lessons that we’re trying to teach. For some, that might mean breathing deeply and avoiding an immediate reaction when cut up in traffic, if not only to stay safe on the roads, but to show that managing your emotions is key – even in pressured situations.
Leading by example also means keeping your bedroom tidy, ensuring your home and garden is safe, and that you show the manners that you’re trying to have your children replicate. If you can achieve that, then leading by example will be properly achieved.
Remaining In Touch With Our Feelings
It’s important to remain in touch with our feelings and to express them honestly when it’s appropriate to do so, instead of bottling up our emotions as the default choice. Children are usually excellent at expressing themselves, and very clearly too.
While throwing a temporary tantrum in the supermarket or falling out with your sibling over nothing is probably not the best behavior to emulate, it could be said that learning to communicate and properly express your emotions when necessary is a key life skill. If you can do this, even if that just means asking a friend for help or laughing out loud with your children while playing during the weekend, your emotional and mental health is properly cared for in the best way.
With that, we can use the honesty of children as inspiration for us to open up a little bit more. Stoicism is a virtue of course, but not if it takes away your chance to properly express who you are.
Using that perspective, we can also help our children properly understand their own feelings and emotions, including how to process them, what to do when they need help, and what emotions even mean. Remember – they may be better at expressing them, but they may struggle with that more than you imagine.
Fun For Fun’s Sake
If children are natural at anything, it’s in seeking out and having fun. It can be hard to do that as an adult, when we often think that fun means spending money, drinking alcohol with friends, or going out to a special event. Of course, it’s unlikely you’re going to head into the garden and pretend a stick is a sword for two hours as you may have done when you were eight years old, but you’d be surprised at how much you can learn from children in this regard.
From fun games that pass the time, to board games, playing imaginatively with our kids, and telling silly jokes, all of this can help us become just a little less uptight and a little more willing to indulge our inner child. For any parent, that can be a tremendously healthy thing to do, and serves as an excellent bonding habit on top of that.
A Dedication To Honesty
Children can teach us a lot about honesty, most likely because they’re quite terrible liars. Thankfully, this impetus also inspires us to become more honest and authentic, to refrain from white lies as much as possible, and to admit when we’ve messed up or have taken the wrong choice.
Moreover, if you can teach children that telling you the truth is always going to be an appropriate decision to make, then you can develop a much more mature relationship with them, especially as they grow into their later teenage years going forward. You’d be thoroughly surprised as to just what an effect this can have in the long run, as the willingness your child has to tell the truth can truly shape them as they get older.
Learning Through Play
Another amazing practice that children are naturally skilled at involves learning through play. This might seem as if we have no need of this as an adult, when theory can be given to us through text, and we are capable of using instructions and other more complex and sophisticated methods of learning. But often, learning through play is something we could benefit from in our own lives, too.
For instance, those learning an instrument often become more adept at it when they give themselves time to practice and the willingness to play chords interchangeably. Just as a child might, learning through doing, and putting ourselves in situations where we’re happy to be a novice, can be a wonderful and fresh perspective to take.
With this advice, we believe you can learn from your children, and teach them more capably too. All it takes is an open mind.