How can parents make the most of a child's formative years?
Dr. Michele Borba, world-renowned parenting and character formation expert with over 22 books on the field including Parents Do Make a Difference: How to Raise Kids with Solid Character; Strong Minds and Caring Hearts; Building Moral Intelligence: The Seven Essential Virtues that Teach Kids to Do the Right Thing; The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries; and UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in our All-About-Me World, reminds Filipino parents of the importance of these essential years in child-rearing.
Fastfood giant Jollibee presented a series of talks titled “Unselfie: Developing character among today’s all-about-me generations” led by Dr. Borbaearlier this month. Dr. Borba has gained popularity among parents all over the world for her practical, research-based advice for strengthening character, fostering compassion and developing emotional intelligence in children of all ages.
One of her key teachings is to “develop a close, mutually respectful relationship” with children, which should be established during these formative years. The first seven years of a child’s life is crucial to developing his or her character and values, which is why parents should continuously nurture them during those years for them to grow up into well-rounded adults.
“Studies find that kids are most influenced by those persons toward whom they feel the strongest attachment and deepest respect,” Dr. Borba said. “They are also more likely to copy these individual’s moral beliefs. Just make sure the relationship is mutually respectful: you treat your child with love and respect, and he treats you the same way in return.”
She emphasizes that this ideal relationship is one that takes time building and one that parents should put effort in establishing. Dr. Borba recommends that parents should dedicate “one-to-one personal, uninterrupted time” with the child regularly to build this mutually respectful and loving relationship.
Parenting may differ culturally, but there is one universal factor that everyone can cherish all the way into adulthood: warm family memories.
“The values my parents modeled — perseverance, compassion, acceptance, and believing in myself — are the same ones that guide my life today,” said Dr. Borba. “You don’t need research to prove your influence: just one moment of catching your child imitating your behavior or repeating your words or emulating your values should confirm that you do make a difference.”
“It can be very challenging to raise kids in this day and age,” said Cathleen Capati, Jollibee marketing director for Flagship Category. “But if there’s anything that Filipino parents should not forget, it’s the lasting importance of actually spending time with their children to teach them the values that we hold dear to our hearts, such as compassion, generosity, confidence, and love for the family. As Dr. Borba said, one-to-one, uninterrupted bonding time will make a huge difference in how children grow up.”
“Good parenting is about how to help our children live their lives to the best of their abilities — and that in itself is an immensely powerful role,” Dr. Borba concluded.