by Thelma Saravia
A Mold of Your Making – When to Start Shaping Children’s Personalities & How
When it comes to shaping the personality of your child, you will want to keep doing more and more until they either become like you or even better; until they become better than the person you want them to be.
The thought of having a spoiled child is a nightmare for all and therefore parents often take steps to ensure that doesn’t happen. However, as Jean de la Fontaine said,
“You often meet your destiny on the road you took to avoid it.”
Best Time to Start Shaping Children
By the age of one and a half years, children start learning their parents’ habits. When considering habits that children catch, you should start by the time they’re a year old. However, to do that you need to preach what you teach. Both parents play an important role in transferring good habits at this point.
When they’re 2-3 years old, their personalities start emerging. That is when you start teaching them basic habits such as the importance of timeliness all the way to being kind to others.
By the age of 3-5, you’ll start noticing traits and good habits about your child. That is when the molding process starts. You’re going to have to break some bad habits and introduce some good ones. At this point, you can start working on complex aspects of their personality, including financial responsibility.
How to Shape Children's Personalities
Having said that, how can you mold children’s personalities? Remember there are times when intervening will actually have an opposite impact. Here are some recommendations to follow when trying to mold children’s personalities.
Encourage achievement, but don’t obsess – Parents often obsess over achievements, wanting their child to be the best. Your children are human too, so be understanding toward their mistakes. Not to mention how focusing on achievement, rather than growth, gives them the wrong idea about how stuff works in real life.
Praise, but know when to stop – Praise is an important aspect of personality growth, but praising too much can make them over-confident (or even cocky). Giving them false confidence is like guiding them up a hill and leaving them to fall – head first – back to the ground.
Have their back but know when to teach them a lesson – Always having your child’s back spoils them; that much is no secret. Know when to keep your distance and when to intervene. Real, healthy self-esteem develops when attentive parents identify children’s strengths but also allow them the satisfaction and maturity that comes from preserving through failure, pain, and disappointments. Allow them to face the consequences -- Don’t pick them up every time they fall.
Let them experience risk, and let them fail.
Say no every now and then. Don’t fulfill every wish, else you might have a Dudley (from Harry Potter) on your hands.
Practice what you preach. Teach by example.
Let them see that you make mistakes too. Let them learn from your past mistakes.
Back off. Let your kids figure their own way out of uncertain situations.
Listen. Don’t be the parent that doesn’t listen!
And most importantly, teach them to respect others.
Raising children isn’t easy, but it’s well worth the effort at the end of the day. If you’d like more advice on how to financially plan for their future, get in touch! Centric advisors would love to help.