As the typical household unit around the world is changing, so are the dynamics at home. Not just the fathers, the mothers have to work to raise enough finances to run the household. Sometimes it not just the case of raising enough money to run the household, both the parents may have high ambitious careers, which they do not want to lose. Nonetheless, the relationship between parents and children remains estranged and even more difficult to handle as societal pressure weighs in.
Women have become a large part of the global workforce but in a large part of the world Mothers are still at home. However, there are challenges parents still face irrespective of this variable affecting the child’s behavior and attitude.
The Child is born with a clean slate, parents must understand that whatever behavior he or she is exhibiting is basically what he/she has learnt from the environment they are being raised in. The screaming, the wailing, the stubbornness, the anger and the demands – all of them are a culmination of the factors they are exposed to at home and at school.
So when parents come to me I ask them that for anything to happen they would have to do this first:
- Close their Eyes, Take a deep breath.
- Stop blaming themselves,
- Stop blaming their spouses,
- Stop blaming the family
- Stop blaming life and its circumstances and most importantly,
- Stop blaming the child.
Only when they are able to grasp, how important it is for them to have a clean slate. To begin understanding the root cause of the problems they face with respect to the behavior and attitude of their child. They are bound to succeed when they follow the advice I give them.
Here are the top five advices I give to parents who are willing to listen and practice.
When one Parent Says No, the other should Say NO
When an authority figure, says no. It must at all times mean no. If you do not agree with your spouse and you think the child should have been allowed to do what he/she wanted to do. Please do not negate the other parents in front of the child. When you are alone, talk about it. Understand each other’s point of view and then decide the course of action.
When you negate the other parent’s decision in front of the child, the child loses respect not just for the other parents but you too.
When you have said No once, never go back and change that to a yes
If for any reason you both reach a conclusion where the child should have been given a YES. Then the parent, who said NO, must be the one who says yes to the child the next time he asks for it again.
I always recommend to never instantaneously change your mind from a NO to a Yes for a child’s request because the child will then always take your NO for a Yes. He/she will expect that you will change your decision and then he/she will use various ways to extract that yes from you. As they grow older and become teenagers, they become indifferent to your advice and decisions.
So unless it’s very important, don’t give a YES after you have said a No. Wait for the next time when the situation reoccurs and the child needs a verdict from you.
If you build the initial years the right way, without giving out mixed signals to your child. It will make his/her teenage years and their twenties easier for them and for you.
Make Memories through Experiences
Memories make up the very core of a person’s heart and mind. Whatever personality the child develops and who he/she grows up to be is particularly dependent on the kind of memories he/she can recall from their childhood.
Children who are exposed to violence and abuse early on in their lives are scarred from it forever. Similarly children who have been over pampered and their experiences have been restricted by over protective parents or parents who are too busy to engage in some real life experiences. These children also develop fear, insecurity & laziness and do not have any real memories to depend on when they grow up. Their exposure to the world is limited and their engagement with the outside world therefore is always difficult. They may either become bullies or be too weak to face the world.
So take out the time and plan some memories for your child for example; Their first picnic to the beach, their day out at the zoo, their road trip etc. They need to engage with other people and have exposure to multiple life choices. Their experience of the first snowfall, they experiencing travel on airplanes or on trains – all of these will help them develop a better familiarity with the world.
Value Immaterial Things more than Material Things
Children who get access to having easy access to cash very early on in their childhood never develop the importance of money. They develop superficial needs and these govern their everyday choices even when they grow up. Brands mean more to them than their grandparents.
Giving your children access to money is okay as long as you teach them to save and to be answerable about how they spend it. If you have the time to teach them from any early age the importance of savings or how earning a livelihood is difficult, that is great. But if you do not have the time to counsel them about the importance of spending money wisely then please do not let them make airplanes out of currency notes.
All children if their parents can afford it should be given access to toys; but the choice of these toys is extremely important. Picking up items such as Lego, puzzles etc. can help enhance your child’s Intelligence and creativity. However buying them toy guns is not such a bright idea.
Material things such as toys can be easily forgotten or broken. Replacing these with books and experiences is a lot better. The more your child does art or read books or you read books to them, the calmer his/her personality is going to be. She/he will learn to read at a younger age and you will find yourself not running after them in the longer run. Children who have access to books are found to be more responsible and calmer as opposed to children with access to Tablets/Phones etc.
Access to laptops and mobile phones or tablets should be limited and such expensive items should not be given as possessions to children under the age of 14. They can have restricted access to these items before this, which means not more than an hour at a time in a day. Not only do these items kill your child’s ability to imagine and be creative but also they greatly affect their eyesight.
Personal & Ethical Awareness must accompany academic Education
Apart from sending your children to daycares, tuitions and school or enrolling them for sports or arts lessons. It is extremely important that you spend time with your child teaching them ethics and manners. Unfortunately a lot of this was imparted earlier through our schooling systems but a child’s personality is greatly dependent on what he’s or she’s exposed to at home. Respecting elders such as teachers, old people and fellow peers is something children can learn when they see others around them doing it.
So you have to remember when a child is being honest to you, no matter what he’s or She’s done, you have to appreciate him/her for his honesty. When a child goes out of his/her way to help someone else while ignoring something you told him/her to do then encourage him or her. So it really is how you react to your child’s action that determines the course of his or her behavior.
Note: No parent wants to see their child go through difficult times and everyones’ version and experience of parenting is different. Everyone is and will always be entitled to their opinion. No one reserves the right to criticise a parent chooses to bring up their child. However, you can always give advice, when asked.
I often tell my friends at work that Believe it or not, Parenting is a lot like People Management. You learn to Lead a team, you can probably try leading your children. The very instrumental word to note here is “try”.
If you have liked what you have read and want more assistance on parenting right then book an appointment with me on the website.