09 Nov 2017 - 10:50
What parents can do for children
By A P Sharma & George Edison
Having taken a look at some of yesterday’s parenting styles published by Doha Today, it is also good for parents to introspect and see where they stand vis-à-vis these approaches. However, it would be in the best interest of the children and parents that they bear in mind the following tips:
Help your child sprout wings. Giving a child responsibility is good for her/his self-esteem. Your child’s mission in life is to gain independence. So when s/he is developmentally capable of putting her/his toys away, clearing her/his plate from the table, and dressing her/him, let her/him.
Teach the child self-reliance and let them be independent in some matters. Give young kids a chance to find their own solutions. When you lovingly acknowledge a child’s minor frustrations without immediately rushing in to save her/him, you teach her/him self-reliance and resilience.
Discipline is not punishment. Some parents give the young ones a long rope to do things the way they want in order to save trouble. It can do a lot of damage in the long run. Parents are the custodians of children’s discipline. Disciplining them is not punishing them, but channeling them in the right course of action. Enforcing limits is really about teaching kids how to behave in the world and helping them to become competent, caring, and in control.
No Corporal Punishment
Some parents suffer from a patience deficit, lose control and soon inflict physical punishment. In some cases, even daughters are hit. Some mothers also vent their anger on the children for not doing well at studies or for repeated misbehaviour or for adolescent tantrums. Parents need to learn here is that most of the physical punishments are counter-productive. Silent, peaceful corrective measures will yield better results than violence. Violence leaves unforgettable scars in the children!
Can parents play with children?
This is a meaningful and memorable way to bond with the children. It can be like the father of Boris Becker teaching him the fundamental lessons of Tennis and making the child a hero, or on a smaller scale a fortnightly visit to the playing field or the beach and joining the children in their games.
Can parents spend some time every day or alternate days? Let your child choose an activity where you hang out together for 10 to 15 minutes without any interruptions. This is yet another way to show you care and love.
Read books together
Get started when the child is a newborn; babies love listening to the sound of their parents’ voices. Cuddling up with your child with a book is a great bonding experience that will set him/her up for a lifetime of reading. As the children grow, it can be watching movies together, playing scrabble, reading the child’s books and having fun asking them questions on the text and many more! In senior grades, parents can discuss matters of serious and solemn nature including discussing world affairs or scientific facts of general interest.
Encourage daddy and mommy time
The greatest untapped resource available for improving the lives of our children is time with Dad and Mom—early and often. Kids with engaged fathers do better in school, problem-solve more successfully, and generally cope better with whatever life throws at them. As children grow older, children should feel and know that parents are their best friends. This can save many a son/daughter from inextricable emotional entanglements and problems that arise therefrom.
Lay foundations of warm memories
Your children will probably not remember anything that you say to them while they are little and young, but they will recall the family routine—like family dinner where all are active and make the mealtime invariable bubbly, lively and memorable, regular family prayer, bedtime stories and game night.
Father and mother must make sure that mealtime is the most precious moments of togetherness. They should discuss school, what the children had in school, complementing the young ones for their day well spent, and discussing ways of making the following day even more rewarding than today and so on.
Set up a “gratitude circle” every night at dinner
Father or mother may go around the table and take turns talking about the various people who were generous and kind to each of you that day. It may sound corny, but it makes everyone feel good.
Avoid unnecessary battles
A parent had better show the kid rules in action. For example, the Father has a permanent place for his things and tells the kids at home “Have a place for everything and have everything in their place”. Kids can’t absorb too many rules without turning off completely. Forget arguing about little stuff. Focus on the things that really matter, that means no hitting, rude talk, or no lying.
Parent Models For children
Father is the hero and mother is the heroine! So, they look up towards them for everything. While for parents it is easy to point out the mistakes of teachers, remember that a parent has an average of , let us say, six children to mind, a teacher in a school may have about a hundred to hundred twenty to mind a day. Parents have to be prim and proper in all that they say and do in the presence of their children.
Always tell the truth
It’s how you want your child to behave, right? Kids learn by watching their parents. Modeling appropriate, respectful, good behavior works much better than telling them what to do.
Fess up when you mess up
Parents should own up mistakes courageously and say, ‘I’m sorry’ if it is called for in front of their children! It is fessing up! This is the best way to show your child how and when she should apologise.
Show your kids how easy it is to care for the environment. Waste less, reduce, recycle, reuse, and conserve each day. Picking up trash in the neighborhood on your way with your child especially, and show him/her you have an individual responsibility to sustainable development and use of the natural resources.
Spousal affection and love in front of the kids
Your kids must get the best example of what a happy marriage is looking at your marital life and the life of ‘give and take’ in your home. Is it a tall order? If you mess up, your children will mess up too! Your marriage is the only example your child has of what an intimate relationship looks, feels, and sounds like. So it’s your job to set a great standard.
Respect parenting differences
Man and wife are two unique individuals with their own differences. Accept the differences and support your spouse’s basic but different approach to raising kids—unless it’s way out of line. Criticising or arguing with your partner will do more harm to your marriage and your child’s sense of security than if you accept standards that are different from your own. Parents should remember that there is no ideal man nor is there an ideal woman. Both are made of a lot of imperfections and marital life is a common ground where we try to sink our differences and grow towards perfection.
Praise and compliment children unreservedly
If your child has passed in Math with just 33 percent, tell her it is great! It is great to have passed where many have failed! In case of failure, try to motivate and inspire! If he reads a lot, encourage it. Do not dampen his /her spirit in any way. It is not necessary that your child should be interested in the whole curriculum. He/she may have interest in areas outside the curriculum. Discover that and encourage.
Cheer the good traits
When you notice your child doing something helpful or nice, let her/ him know how you feel. For example, he/she makes her bed or buses the dining table or does the washing. Appreciate it. It’s a great way to reinforce good behavior so s/he’s more likely to keep doing it.
Command respect of your children
Parents should never in any way engage in anything that is demeaning or do or say anything that does not become of their station in life as parents. For the child, parents are ideal people. They will never do or say anything that is unbecoming of them. Parents should not accept disrespect from their children. Never allow them to be rude or say hurtful things to you or to anyone else. If s/he does, tell her/him firmly that you will not tolerate any form of disrespect.
Advertise your plan of action
Mobilize the other caregivers in your child’s life—your spouse, grandparents, daycare worker, babysitter—to help reinforce the values and the behavior you want to instill. It comprises social etiquettes, correct behaviour, general conduct and so on. This includes everything from saying ‘thank you’ and being kind to not whining.
Allow the child to talk it out!
Acknowledge your kid’s strong emotions. When your child’s meltdown is over, ask him, “How did that feel?” and “What do you think would make it better?”. Give him/her a chance to speak and open up. Then listen to him/her. S/He’ll recover from a tantrum more easily if you let him/her talk it out.
Teach kids responsibility If you ask a child to pick up the rubbish, her/his immediate response is, “I did not throw it around!” We enjoy life as a result of the collective goodness of humanity, both the living and the past! Show your child how to become a responsible citizen. Find ways to help others all the year round. Kids gain a sense of self-worth by volunteering in the community.
Every child is a treasure Don’t raise a spoiled kid
Keep this thought in mind: Every child is a treasure, but no child is the center of the universe. Teach him/her accordingly. Wilma Rudolf once said, “Winning is great, sure, but if you are really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes undefeated all the time. If you can pick up after a crushing defeat, and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion someday.”
Goodness is all that matters Parents should radiate goodness in life
Teach your children what it means to be a good person. Start early: When you read bedtime stories, for example, ask your child whether characters are being mean or nice and explore why. You might as well pick characters from your child’s history or literature text and discuss dictators are hated and men like Gandhi and Lincoln are adored.
Parents subscribe to universal values Like father, like son!
Explain to your kids why values are important. The simple answer is: When you’re kind, generous, honest, and respectful, you make the people around you feel good. More important, you feel good about yourself.
Do not force-eat
Avoid food fights. A healthy child instinctively knows how much to eat. If s/he refuses to finish whatever food is on his/her plate, just let it go. S/he won’t starve.
Let your kids place an order. Once a week, allow your children to choose what’s for dinner and cook it for them.
Love your children equally, but treat them uniquely
Say “I love you” whenever you feel it, even if it’s seventy times a day
You simply can not spoil a child with too many mushy words of affection and too many smooches. Not possible.
Keep in mind what grandmas always say
Children are not yours; they are only lent to you for a time. In those fleeting years, do your best to help them grow up to be good people.
Savour the moments.
Yes, parenthood is the most exhausting job on the planet. Yes, your house is a mess, the laundry’s piled up, and the dog needs to be walked. But your kid just laughed. Enjoy it now—it will be over far too fast.
Keep the TV in the living room.
Research has repeatedly shown that children with a TV in their bedroom weigh more, sleep less, and have lower grades and poorer social skills.
Get kids moving The latest research shows that brain development in young children may be linked to their activity level.
Place your baby on her tummy several times during the day, let your toddler walk instead of ride in her stroller, and create opportunities for your older child to get plenty of exercise.
A P Sharma is the Principal and George Edison is the Vice-Principal of Birla Public School.