In today’s times, the attention spans of both parent and child are decreasing, demands from the world are increasing and recourse to unpleasant behaviour and actions are often the outcome. From rage and temper tantrums, to withdrawal and asocial symptoms, the issues are many. Here are a few pointers to keep in mind for effectively dealing with some typical parenting situations:
Set the tone: Everything a child does is a reflection of what he sees around him. Thus set a positive example. Harsh, abusive language around the child is a strict no-no. While you may want to talk to the child like an adult, do realise that he is still a child and would like to be treated as one.
Pushing, shoving, speaking loudly and using foul language are all seen in children at a very young age these days. Try and identify where the anger is coming from. Is it a basic issue like hunger or sleep deprivation, or is it resulting from external peer pressure or stress at home? But whatever the cause, treat the child the same way you would wish to be treated. If you do not like being shouted at, do not shout at the child. In times of anger, keep the calm and you will see calmness reflected very soon.
Instil team spirit: Disappointment sets in only when the concepts of winning and losing have been ingrained in the child. It is common for parents to put pressure on their children to win. But with winning comes the flip side of not knowing how to lose and deal with failure. Thus it becomes important to encourage your children to play more team sports where the feeling of success and failure is shared by all in the team.
Build good roads: Before an exam or some important day at school, children are often tense and unable to deal with their emotions. At such times, it becomes important to help them express themselves. Talk to them patiently, ask questions about how they feel and why they are feeling that way. Listen more, talk less. And thus lead them to the right answer and state of being.
An example we use at KurNiv Kids is to talk about courage as a good road to take v/s bad roads like anger, fear etc. Thus when they participate in the stressful activity, they use the good road, build on it and make it stronger.
Make them aware: Temper tantrums almost always arise when the child is taught unknowingly that if you cry for something you will get it. At such times, it becomes essential to explain to the child and help him understand if he really needs what he’s crying about. Also spell out the consequences of buying something v/s not buying it. Promise a more intangible but valuable reward to the child rather than just satisfying him with something material. Setting boundaries is a very important part of parenting. Their boundaries are still not set and it is for parents to explain situations and set boundaries for correct behaviour. Make them aware of their choices and the consequences of those choices, talk with them about these choices and consequences, and you will set them up for success.
Communicate with respect: The child must always be shown respect whenever spoken to. When the child is with his friends, don’t compare. Also, don’t berate the child next to his peers; take the child away and then talk to him. Even in front of family, don’t discuss his issues next to him.
Create avenues for expression and let the child unfold his personality without feeling watched. If a serious issue, address the child directly, ask him questions and let the answers emerge. Ensure all channels of communication with the child are open and he is never hesitant or afraid to speak the truth. Honesty is another important element in communication — the more honest the parent, the more honest the child. If there are things you feel the child is not ready for, you can simply tell the child that you are unable to answer that question right now and that you will tell him when the time is right.
Discipline in private: “Praise in public, discipline in private.” This is a mantra that works well in disciplining a child. A parent’s tone should also be modulated and yelling should be avoided. When the voice is too loud, the child will just hear noise after a point and nothing will get registered in his brain. It’s essential to thus speak clearly, slowly, and in an assertive tone. The parent can also use phrases like “I’m disappointed” or “I’m disheartened” rather than “I’m angry with you.” This way you will activate the child’s emotion centre rather than perpetuate more anger.
Empower with choice: It is necessary to make children feel empowered by helping them choose what’s good and bad for them. Give them choices in situations and make them aware of the consequences. This will instil confidence and give them a greater sense of autonomy.
Encourage daily: Parenting is an everyday job and thus a child should be encouraged and nurtured every day. Words like “I’m so happy to see you”, “I missed you” when the child returns home, or “I believe you,” and “I love you” make the child feel loved and secure.
But more than the dos and don’ts simply enjoy your moments of parenting and cherish all the time together with your precious little ones. When in doubt just listen to your heart; it will give you the right answers and always keep you close to the ones you love.
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