It is always amazing having guests with me live and having Ferhensha Gopi from Barely Parenting join me live to talk about How To Bring Up Well Rounded Children was an amazing experience. I learned a lot and we talked about so many things that will make me a better parent and a better person.
About Ferhensha Gopi
Ferhensha is a nursery school teacher, an ECD practitioner. Ever since she was in Standard 9 (now Grade 11) she has volunteered at SANCA for counselling children growing up in families with substance abuse problems.
After that she joined the social services in her area for her matric year and after matric she started nursery school teaching. At the moment she is a stay at home mom.
I came across Ferhensha through her Instagram account @barely_parenting and love the things that she shares and her authenticity.
Ferhensha has created a lovely set of activity books for kids that cover a variety of important topics, contact her on Instagram to place an order.
Teaching Important Values
As Ferhensha states in the live video the first six years of your child’s life are the foundation of your child’s development.
As a parent I look at the state of the world and it looks to me like it gets harder to bring up well rounded children with so many socio economic issues such as poverty, inequality, corruption, discrimination, abuse and mental health issues. Or perhaps like Ferhensha shares it may just be that we are more aware of these issues in modern times.
Each Family Is Unique
Values are so important in your family dynamic. You need to figure out what works for you and choose the values that you feel are important for your family to live by, the things that you cannot compromise on.
There are so many values that may be important for different people, but here are some that are important for everyone to look at and model for their children:
- Honesty – honesty is probably the important value that is universal to all households.
- Kindness – being kind is another value that is essential for everyone to practice.
- Empathy – the ability to understand and what another person is feeling and show compassion is so important.
- Respect – there are many different aspects of respect, such as respect for your elders, respect for property and also concentrating on mutual respect and realizing that for everyone (including parents) respect is earned.
- Manners – it is important that proper etiquette is learned as young as possible and mastering good manners will help children to manage social situations from childhood all the way into adulthood.
- Open Communication – in childhood open communication enables parents to help children navigate all sorts of challenges that they face. It helps children to express their feelings and thoughts. Learning how to communicate well help children to solve problems, reach understanding, get support and form better bonds.
- Responsibility – it is important to teach our children how to be responsible through creating a strong routine, giving them responsibility for things and teaching them how to manage their time.
- Embracing Inclusivity & Diversity – it is so important to teach children not to discriminate and to embrace diversity. There are so many different types of people in the world and we need to show respect for others and their values, even when things are very different from the way that we see it. We need to teach our children about racism and about different cultures and beliefs. Embracing differences like disability, mental illness, gender, sexuality, sexual identity, sexual preference and appearance. Ferhensha and I had a great talk about racism during the video – go to 24:32 in the video to catch that important section.
Making Mistakes and Saying Sorry
As parents we are not immune to making mistakes, in fact far from it in my personal experience. It is so important when we make a mistake to be open and honest about it with our kids by being accountable and apologizing to them. By owning it and trying to make it right we are teaching our children that it is okay to make a mistake, everyone does, and we are teaching them the right way of dealing with it.
Healthy Eating & Exercise
Childhood obesity is a big problem worldwide and if you want to bring up well rounded children it is really important to make sure that you look at what your child eats and how much your child exercises.
It is essential for your children to be active and to eat well. Healthy eating may look different to different families and different cultures.
I’ve found that what I eat and do every day plays a very big role in what my kids eat and how active they are. I’ve started implementing healthier eating in our household since I started a health challenge a few weeks ago. I’m also more active and make sure to get out and exercise every day with my kids.
My focus for myself and my family has been to eat regularly but in smaller portions. We are also eating a lot less sugar and eating a lot more high fiber food. It has become very clear to me that the way that I feed my family is going to impact the eating habits that my children take through into adulthood.
I’ve also been taking into account my relationship with food and how in the past I have rewarded myself and my family with food. Lately I’ve been focusing more on self-care and rewarding myself and my family with non-food rewards. I’ve come to learn that bribing my kids with food is not a great idea.
The foods we eat, exercise, physical health and mental health is all interlinked. The things we eat affect how we feel mentally and emotionally. Exercise also affects our mood and physical health.
If we want to bring up well rounded children we must take a holistic approach.
Mental health issues in children are on the rise in the US and very likely in many other parts of the world too. It is essential to look after your child’s mental and emotional health.
Look After Your Own Mental Health
The first thing to look at when it comes to your child’s mental health is to look after your own mental health. As the caregiver and nurturer of the family you need to make sure that your mental health is in a good state so that you are able to look after your children.
In addition to this, looking after your own mental health will show your children how they too must look after their own mental health, you will be a good role model.
Create Healthy Relationships
It is important for your child’s mental health to form healthy relationships with others. Since we are in the middle of a pandemic you will need to get creative around socializing and meeting your child’s needs for friendships.
Teach Them Healthy Coping Skills and Stress Management
While we cannot completely protect our children from stress and trauma, we can teach them healthy coping skills and how to deal with stress. The first thing is to model these coping skills for our children and teach them how to handle feelings and how they react.
Some of the things that can come in handy are mediation, self-care and journalling.
Boost Their Self-Esteem
It is so important for children to have a healthy self-esteem. Make sure to compliment and praise your children when they deserve it. Make sure to teach your children the power of positive self-talk and give them opportunities to be independent and responsible.
The Dangers Of Social Media
One of the biggest causes for my concern are the dangers of social media. From too much screen time (hello zombie), to cyberbullying and the way that so many people portray themselves as so perfect online creating unrealistic expectations that some children and teens try to live up to.
It is best to limit screen time and to ensure that the things that your children have access to are age appropriate and safe.