Sunday, May 25, 2014

5 Rules to be a Great Parent

From Soul Space magazine
It is a misconception that as soon as you have a child, you’ll become great parents. Just because you can provide for your child and keep him safe and fed, doesn’t mean you’re the best parent in the world. I’ve heard from my friends “He’ll grow up anyway. Look at us. We turned out ok.” We forget that earlier times were simpler. I don't know everything about parenting. I learn as the days go by. But this is what I know so far:
1.     Have A Routine – Contrary to what you think, children do better when they’re in a routine than when they’re left to themselves. During school days, they must have a schedule which they should follow. Set a time for your child to wake up in the morning, eat, play, study, go to school, read, bathe, sleep. You must find a balance as well. And with each activity allow ten minutes for the child to get into it instead of forcing him to stick to the exact time. In between if, they want to watch an hour of TV or do something that’s different, allow them to do so. But only for an hour. And on non school days and vacations, let them enjoy themselves completely and not have a routine. They’ll appreciate the value of structure then when they grow up.
2.     Don’t Give In to Everything They Say – By buying your child everything he wants, or taking him to destinations across the world or letting him only enjoy high class restaurant food, you’re depriving your child of experiences from life. If he doesn’t get something from you now, he will deal with disappointment and it won’t affect him when he’s older. If he has only seen airports, he’ll never enjoy train travel and understand the concept completely. If you buy your child every toy then his expectation level in life rises and he’ll never be able to take rejection later.
3.     Listen & Give A Choice – Once a child turns 5 he has opinions, ideas and suggestions. Treat him like an individual. Consider them as a friend. Give them choices. “Would you like to sleep now so you can wake up early and have a shower? Or would you like to take a shower now so you can sleep in longer tomorrow morning?” Once you give your child choices they’ll understand that you’re respecting them. Listen to his suggestions. Implement them in front of him to see the results. Let them learn by showing them that their ideas could work or not. Be aware about his feelings. If he’s unhappy, figure out why and turn it around. You don’t need to always protect him, but understand he’s still a child and needs your support.
4.     Be Honest- Children remember everything. This is a hard lesson I learnt as I asked my 6 year old if her mama has done anything that Ana didn’t want. And she replied, “Yes, when I was three years old…”All I could do was roll my eyes and swear to myself that from now on I would be honest with her. Tell your children who you’re meeting, where you’re going, what work you do and sometimes even how you feel. You don’t need to break down in front of your children but you can easily say, “I’m sad today because my boss screamed at me. But I know I did something wrong so I’m going to work extra hard to make it right. Because I’m strong, like you!” You don’t need to go into details but you need to tell the truth so that when you ask them something, they’ll feel they can tell you the truth as well.
5.     Forcing Them to Be Someone They’re Not – So many times we ask our children, “Say hello to uncle.” Or we ask, “Be polite, go play with your friends.” Or even, “All the other children can do it, why can’t you try it as well?” We feel we want to make them stronger, tougher, confident, and ready for the world. When in fact, we’re doing just the opposite. Why are you forcing your child to play with someone he doesn’t want to play with? Just because you’re friends with the child’s parents doesn’t mean you should subject your child to be friends too. And if you’ve told your child not to talk to strangers, then he’s just listening to you by not talking to uncles and aunts he doesn’t know. Don’t send out mixed signals. Explain to him that he can say hello to your friends if he chooses. And if he still doesn’t speak to them, don’t be embarrassed by him and say, “He’s a shy child.” You can be proud of him and declare, “I’m sorry he doesn’t feel like talking because I’m sure he has something more important going on in his head.” And when you defend your child in front of people, he knows you’re on his side. And that’s the bond you want to create with your children. That’s being a responsible parent.

This article was printed in the Soul Space magazine in Indore by Tavleen Foundation.

1 comment:

Gitanjali Banerjee said...

Can relate to each and every point you raised. Yes, being a parent is also a huge learning. You don't become good parents overnight

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