It’s always been true to say that the future will be different - but the rate of change that our children will have to deal with will be unprecedented. As one technological innovation is replaced by another at an often dizzying rate, your kids will have to be resilient to keep pace with it.
Helping your kids deal with the 21st century world
With all the information in the world just a mouse click away, the kids of the future will not need to remember facts so much as know how to access knowledge, assess what is relevant and valid, and then utilize it. They will in particular need to develop modes of creative thinking and cognitive skills along with strong literacy and numeracy abilities.
Bullying and undue peer pressure have always been problems for children, and now cyberbullying and online peer pressure have been added to the mix. You will need to prepare your kids to be aware of it, how to recognize it, and how to deal with it.
Most importantly (as with any form of bullying) they’ll need to know how not to be a passive, fearful victim - but to talk about it and expose it immediately. Honesty and transparency is key to make your kids Internet ‘savvy’ and keep them as safe online as possible.
Staying fit and healthy together
Fitting an exercise routine into a busy lifestyle is not easy! Making it a family fitness affair makes it more fun, everybody benefits, and it fosters closeness. Come up with some activity that everybody enjoys (badminton, tennis, squash, a regular run in the park, who can do the most laps in the pool?) and incorporate that into your routine on a regular basis. Introduce walking as a matter of course for shorter distances.
Let each family member have a turn at choosing a fun physical activity for the family and do that on a regular basis. The possibilities are endless - fun runs, gardening, trail hikes, bike rides, karate classes for the whole family, water aerobics, yoga classes, dance classes – the list goes on. Institute a weekly football game in the park that won’t cost anything that you can get some of the neighbors involved in.
Expanding your family
Having weighed up the numerous pros and cons of having another child, you have decided to expand your family. However, as an older couple, you might well find that you run into fertility issues. Don’t let this become a source of stress that impacts negatively on you and your partner's life.
There are reputable fertility clinics worldwide to help people facing this problem. Researching online is a good place to start, but bear in mind that practices and treatments may differ depending on where you live. Fertility treatment in South Africa, for example, might be different from what’s available in the US or UK. But any reputable fertility clinic in your area will assist you with expert medical advice and counseling to see what your best options are.
Set goals together and encourage each other
A happy and resilient, the goal-oriented family creates a positive springboard for the future. In order to achieve this positive situation, it is important that families actively work on showing love, affection, loyalty, and support towards each other. So here are a few points to bear in mind:
- Hugs and more hugs and yet more hugs should be the order of the day, every day!
- Work on using positive language towards each other and word criticism respectfully.
- Be accepting of individual differences, as well as being non-judgmental and tolerant about them.
- Learn new things together - pottery, car maintenance, candle making.
- Encourage individual goals. Let Meg practice her speech so she can get onto the debating team. Reward Mark with his favorite meal if he puts in extra practice at the pool to make the swimming team. Help Mom with the chores so that she can study for her realtors exam.
- Share activities as a family. How about getting fit together to do that family fun run together?
- Parents should know when to step back - kids have to be encouraged to make their own decisions and make their own mistakes.
- Kids should try to remember that their parents are also human beings that can be hurt, get tired and stressed, and need encouragement.
- Teach skills in the family that school doesn’t - how to cook basic healthy meals, how to budget, plant a veggie garden, or strip and paint that rusty garden bench.
- Know when to ask for help if the family has encountered too big a problem to deal with on their own.
- Rally round a family member who is having a problem.
- Stand together to overcome setbacks and catastrophes, whatever they may be.
A strong, resilient family adds hugely to each individual family member’s strength, resources and ability to overcome adversity.