Day 13/30 – How we’d like to raise our child (Happiness is secondary)

Being responsible for another small little person’s wellbeing is something, having two person’s agreeing on how to raise the small little person is a whole other thing. Since Alyssa came into our lives, the girlfriend and I have been talking (a lot) about how to best raise her into a functioning adult. Both of us were brought up differently and have our own opinions and believes about the things that we want for our child, but we are blessed that we share the same page on a majority of our values. Also, since I’m the one writing this blog post and the girlfriend doesn’t have my blog password, this is how we’re raising our child, and here are a few things we’d like to impart upon her:

Communication is key

We want to raise our child to communicate with us. I feel that a lot of Gen-Y parents (parents my age) will put emphasis on this too. Through my conversation with a number of Gen-Y parents, it appears that there is a general consensus that this is because Gen-Y parents have a communication gap with their Baby Boomer parents and understand the invisible barrier that exists because of this.

In fact, we want to raise our child to be able to communicate with everyone (in real life). There are a lot of benefits in learning how to communicate effectively and being able to fluently articulate your thoughts and views. Fact is, you get what you ask for if you know how to ask.

Not imposing our believes and biases on her

This is a tricky one to do, but we think it’s important that we raise our child to be a person on her own, and not an extension of us to fulfil whatever unfulfilled childhood needs that we might or might not know that we have.

We’d have to teach her the correct values and how to differentiate right from wrong, but also be careful not to impose things that we might or might not know we are biased about on her. Not easy to do, but we’ll try

Raising her to be adaptable, resourceful, and constantly learning

A few months back I was having dinner with a cousin and looking through primary school work books. The questions were tough! Totally not what we had back then (but to be fair, the learning methods and availability of information were not that advanced during our primary school days). School work books and syllabus were also constantly changing. IMHO, textbook smart just won’t cut it anymore. Plus, why do you need to be textbook smart if you can just Google the answers?

Fun fact: Henry Ford (the founder of Ford Motors) was spot on about this, although his solution was not Google and was having other smarter people around him, here’s a quote from Henry Ford:

Let me remind you that I have a row of electric buttons in my office. All I have to do is press one of them to call the person who can answer any question on any subject I wish to know, relative to the business at hand. I take care of the business, they take care of the questions. Now would you be so good as to explain why, just to answer you questions, I should have a brain stuffed with general culture, when I am surrounded by employees who can supply any information I might want to know?

Henry Ford

Outside of school, I also strongly believe that adaptability and resourcefulness is the key to success in the future. Our education system will not be able to predict and catch up with the changing job or business trends. The only way to do so is to constantly learn, adapt, and have the resourcefulness to know how to put together what you need to get something done.

Fortunately, both the girlfriend and I agree on this

Savvy with money

We’d also like to raise our child to be savvy with money. Currently, the girlfriend and I record every single transaction (as best as we can) in our life, including everything that we’ve spent on our child since the day we found out that we had her. Guess who’s getting a bill on their 18th birthday?? Ho ho ho

It’s not that we want to be calculative and claim our money back from our child. But it’s important that we educate her the importance of managing her money correctly. With all the credit card debt, bankruptcy and scary news about how the younger generation is struggling with money and their retirement; we’d like our child to be money savvy since young and be hopefully be better prepared in life (monetary wise)

As I learned from Ashton Training Academy – Where focus grows, energy flows

Happiness is secondary, values and moral is primary

I have always thought that the first priority to raising a child is happiness. We can also find tonnes and tonnes or articles talking about the importance and how to raise a happy child. But when I saw this video of Jennifer Senior, it struck me hard and got me rethinking my believes on this. Here’s what she said:

In our desperate quest to create happy kids, we may be assuming the wrong moral burden. It strikes me as a better goal, and, dare I say, a more virtuous one, to focus on making productive kids and moral kids, and to simply hope that happiness will come to them by virtue of the good they do and the love that they feel from us. I think if we all did that, the kids would still be all right, and so would their parents — possibly in both cases even better

Jennifer Senior – author of All Joy and No Fun

I think it’s true, a big part of happiness comes from aligning your actions to your values and what you believe. If we teach our child the correct values and morals, it is highly likely that happiness will stem from them living out their values

Build long lasting relationships

You don’t need a lot of friends, you just need a handful of friends that you carry throughout your life. The girlfriend is the master of doing this. I’ve always been surprised with the tight bond she shares with several small groups of people, and the satisfaction and happiness that she gets from this bond. It could be in the form of a simple meet up, impromptu phone calls, asking about how her friends are doing despite being far apart, and being in touch. We’d like for our child to have that satisfaction and happiness too

Optimism and positivity

I don’t think I have to elaborate much on this. I will probably get 99% support of the whole Gen-Y parents given the amount of Facebook articles and videos about this subject that is shared.

I have one thing to say though, being optimistic and being positive let’s you see the possibilities behind a challenge and the better side of things; both of these are pre-requisites of being a resourceful and adaptable person

It’s ok to express emotions

We’d like our child to be able to be herself in front of us. I think it’s important that we do not judge our child for their emotions. Especially when some of the emotions are negative such as shamefulness. The more we judge, the further the emotional distance our child will have with us, and the harder communication will be

This also applies on more positive emotions. Our daughter gets really excited and is constantly energetic. We feel it’s important that we do not suppress her energy, but instead, direct her energy towards things that is safe for her and so that she won’t hurt herself and disturb other people. That’s why we try our best to not say “Stop running around and sit down quietly!”

To come to think of it, being a parent is a tricky task. Too much parenting and you become a helicopter parent, too little parenting and you become a fail parent. We don’t know which type we are, and on top of all the doubts we have, we’ll strive to find a balance

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear from you if you have any parenting tips!

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