Kids are sometimes seen as annoying, wild, unruly or a nuisance. But, there are many things that kids are better at than adults. For whatever reason, as we age some of us lose our zest for life and can become robot-like while tending our day-to-day obligations. Maybe a key is to let kids be kids instead of forcing them to become miniature adults.
Here are some of the attributes that make kids the best kind of people.
Kids are honest, yes, sometimes too honest. Usually this honesty is squelched when adults dish out harsh punishments for mistakes, even when the child fessed up immediately. Try to ease the punishment for telling the truth. In our home, a child is more likely to be in trouble for lying rather than the original offense. If they tell the truth, we lessen the punishment. For instance, "You were going to be grounded from TV for a week, but since you told the truth, you are only grounded for two days." This will help kids see the value in honesty and encourage them to be honest into adulthood.
Kids generally love without question. It is not until they start getting older, and they get betrayed, that their hearts harden. We can teach children to stay loving by helping them understand why some people may hurt their feelings, but we can still love them. This doesn't mean that they should stay in negative or unsafe situations. Love can happen from a distance. We also help them understand differences between people — religion, race, gender, etc. — which will help them to see the beauty of all people and love them all the same. Most prejudices are learned, so make sure you teach love, not hate.
Yes, sometimes this energy translates into insanity for parents, but most adults also wish that they had the energy of a child. If we can help our kids stay active, eat healthy and avoid unhealthy habits they can keep their energy elevated through adulthood. Being active and having healthy habits makes us feel good which in turn can help us have more energy.
Kids are imaginative with whatever they are doing. Playing, writing stories, drawing pictures, inventing games or secret languages or creating from duct tape, clay or Lego bricks are just some of the ways kids' imaginations soar. Encourage these healthy activities and join in the fun. Having and using imaginations are not only great while they are young, but also will help them in continuing education, the work place and as parents.
Children don't do activities in a ho-hum manner, but are usually passionate. Sometimes this passion is more of a screaming, complaining or fighting type of passion, but it is passion nonetheless. Adults tend to have a more grin-and-bear-it attitude, but having enthusiasm and energy with everything we do could make life a bit more enjoyable. Yes, teaching children to tone down the full-tilt meltdowns is advisable, but teach them that the positive types of passion are good.
Try to encourage children to keep the qualities that make them such amazing people, while refining the less-desirable ones. Don't squelch who they are by demanding that they become tiny-adults who are not permitted any fun. Realize how unique each child is and allow them to explore their interests to become truly great adults.
Email Wendy Jessen at firstname.lastname@example.org.