Parenting is about providing a warm, secure home, helping your child to learn the rules of life (e.g. how to share, respecting others, etc.) and to develop good self-esteem. However, there is no perfect parent. It is a continuously evolving process. One picks up tips from friends, parents , books etc. It constantly needs reinvention, a rethinking of one’s ideas. However, expect to make mistakes and learn from them.
•Rules are an important part of everyday life. They make it possible for us to get along with one another. If children do not learn how to behave, they will find it difficult to get on, both with grown-ups and with other children. They will find it hard to learn at school, will misbehave and will probably become unhappy and frustrated.
•Start them early on a routine- Wake up time, Bed time, Brushing teeth at night, bath time, play time, reading time etc. Its usually good to have them sleep 1-2 ( preferably at 8 pm) hours before you do. Start by reminding them at 7 pm to change, brush their teeth after dinner, switch off the television and dim the lights at 730pm ( or half hour before bedtime). If you can read to or with them daily or alternate days 15 minutes before bedtime, it is a good opportunity to interact, have some quality time and is soothing before sleeping.
•-Be consistent-Children need to learn that rules are important and that `No' means `No'. It can be tempting for parents to give in `for a quiet life'. The trouble is that this teaches the child to push the limits until they get what they want.
• -Give lots of praise-Let your children know when they have done something well and when you are pleased with them. For example, give them a hug.
•Be calm- This can be difficult in the heat of the moment, but it does help. Be calm and clear with your commands, for example `please switch off the TV' or `it's bedtime'.
•Be clear with your child- Eg `please put your toys away' tells children exactly what you expect them to do. Do not just say- “ Be Good”. Keep it short.
•Be realistic- Avoid promising a wonderful reward or punishment if you are not going to see it through. It is much better to offer small rewards than punishments. Eg- ‘when you have tidied your room, you can have an ice cream'. Don't expect miracles. If your child has only partly tidied their room, praise them for starting. You can start using a Star Chart where the child gives him/herself a star or a sticker for various tasks done such as – eating a proper lunch, brushing teeth, finishing homework in time etc. Later, one can exchange the stars for a rewad such as a small toy or something to eat.
•Avoid Labelling- Avoid saying- “Bad Boy/Girl’. Instead label the mistake- “ Telling a lie is a bad habit” Or that was a bad Job- watch out next time.
•The importance of your relationship
•When times are difficult, it is easy to forget that you can actually have nice times together. Everybody can end up feeling angry and upset. So you need to plan to have good times together. For example, you could play a game, read or cook with them for 20 minutes every day(Eg- make Ice lollies).
•Listen Non judgementally- Encourage them to think for themselves. “ Oh! In my opinion she could have done this. What do you think? “ “ What else could you have done?”
•It is important to see each child as different, understand them and deal with them accordingly. If children do not feel comfortable talking to their parents then they may hide what is bothering them. Thus it is important to give importance to their opinions and hear them out like one would hear out a friend. This does not mean one gives them permission to do everything- it just means having respect for them but also telling them what limits are acceptable and what are not.
• BUILD UP THEIR SELF ESTEEM- - Ask them what they think are their strong points? Let them do things which they feel good about If they did not do well in something, ask “ what do you think we can do about this?” Or “ how did you feel when the teacher punished you?” “Next time, do you think you could do it this way?” –instead of “I told you you need to work harder”.
• Remember the Ground Rule number 1- Do unto them as you would want others to do unto you- Would you like someone talking to you that way? Do not compare unfavourably with others.
• Point out examples of how you dealt with adversities or give other examples. Try to keep the examples simple. “I remember a similar incident happened to me- this is what I did then.” Instead of saying- “ We never did things like this.
• Teach them to praise themselves- “ How do you feel about this. You did a good job. Tell yourself you did a good job.” Teach them to say- “ I did well in this. Good Job !”
•With teens, Give more space- expect a little opposition, let them work out things but discuss and set ground rules.
•Be positive yourself – You are the best role model for your child.
How Much Should one criticise?
•Your child wakes up and is slow to get ready- What do you say?_____________________________( Watch out on the words you use with your child. Avoid harsh comments- Avoid “You never….” “You are a no good…”
•Your child hits another child. What do you do?
•Your child doesn’t sit still- gets up while eating, asks to watch TV while eating. What do you do? ( Either you can allow Tv once a week with food but otherwise do not allow TV viewing with food- stick to what you say)
•Your child asks for Chips and chocolate in the market- You say No- He /she asks again and starts crying. What do you do? –If you say no, stick to it. Do not feel guilty about it. There is always a next time. You can buy them something another day.
(For 5 praises, one can give one Critical comment)
Knowing your Child- How well do you know your child?
•What time is Bedtime? ( Keep a fixed bed time. Setlle them down half an hour before bedtime. Brushing teeth, checking the school bag- even a 7 year old can make his own bag. Read to them for 15 min or let them read prior to switching off the light. 8 pm for younger kids and 930 pm for older kids is a reasonable time for sleeping.)
•How much Time do you Spend with each child?
•What do you do with your child?- Play a board game, cycle, play a game, allow them to help you with household chores. Children learn through following what you do. If you do not teach them simple things such as gardening, cleaning a cupboard, setting books etc, they will grow up lacking basic skills of independent living.
•Who is your child’s friend in school?
•Which is their favourite story? Why?
•Which is their favourite cartoon character?
Let your child talk about school, friends. Dont brush them off. Listen to them. Their world is important to them even though it may seem small and unimportant to you compared to your own.
How to deal with Aggression-
Studies indicate that anger management techniques can be taught effectively to youngchildren, adolescents, and to adults as well. Teaching anger management strategies has been found to reduce aggression in both children and adolescents
Teach them skills such as:
Ø stress management,
Ø anger control, and
Ø impulse control”
•It is more effective to intervene before a child starts hitting. Eg- intervene as soon as you see the child is very frustrated or getting upset.
•When young children fight a lot, supervise them .
•If a child hits another child, immediately separate the children. For a toddler (1-2 years) say, "No hitting. Hitting hurts."
•For a young child (2-3 years) say, "I know you are angry, but don't hit. Hitting hurts." This begins to teach empathy to your child.
•Do NOT hit a child if he or she is hitting .
•Parents should not ignore or down play fighting between siblings.
•At times, one may have to Role Model. Ask a child what else could they have done instead of hitting. Or act out what happened and model a different kids response. When you are angry, model taking a Time Out- “ I am angry right now so Im going to sit down, take 5 deep breaths and count to 10 slowly.” It teaches kids that anger can be controlled and delayed.
• Encourage a child to label their feeling. Eg- “How did you feel when the boy called you names.” How do you think he felt when you hit him?”A good way to find out your child’s ability to identify feelings is ask them to think of a time they were angry and describe what their body was doing. Did their face turn red? Did their breathing change? Did their muscles tighten? Did they want to cry? Scream? Run? By being aware of their physical reactions, it can help them to connect the feeling.
•Use stories to discuss how to deal with anger-Ask- “what else could he have done instead of this?” Give a response- “He could have taken a deep breath, counted to five and thought of a nice strawberry icecream cooling down his anger!! Now let’s count to five and think of one -1..2…3…4…5 …mmmm…”. A fun way to teach deep breathing is through bubble blowing. By showing your child that you have to blow out slowly to create the best bubbles instead of quick blowing shows them that when they are angry they need to be aware of their breaths.
•When angry yourself- Say – “ Im upset at your father for shouting at me- I think he’s having a bad day- I’ll talk to him when he’s calmer. Im going to breathe deeply 3 times and listen to my favourite song. Why should I spoil my mood?”
Be Careful of What you Say
•Avoid bringing up the past or generalising- Eg – you are “ALWAYS” doing this.
•Or –You “NEVER” listen to your mother.
Change the Above sentences to-
1. ___I get upset when at times you say Yes but do not follow it up.
2. Sometimes when you do not listen, it upsets me.
•Use “I” instead of “you”- eg “I would like you to ………….”
•‘It would be good if you ………..”
•“I want you to switch Off the Tv now- as this is over.”
•Listen to them.
•Explain why you want something done but be brief.
Avoid “Shoulds”, -
Ø “You should…”
Ø “You’re wrong…,”
Ø “I demand…,”
Ø “We can’t…,”
Ø “We won’t…,”
Ø “We never…,”
Ø “You don’t understand…,”
Ø “That’s stupid…,”
Ø “You must be confused…,”
Ø “I’m too busy for this…,” or
Ø “You have to….”
Optimising your Child’s IQ and EQ-
Early intervention can help to increase a child’s IQ but it is more important to develop their Emotional quotient.
Identify Problems Early-
Some children may have ADHD ( Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) or Anxiety or Depression. Some may develop Low Self esteem. Other common problems are School Phobia, OCD, Bullying etc.
It is important to identify problems early and deal with them. Taking the help of a Child psychiatrist or qualified psychologist can go along way to make your child achieve his/her full potential. Each child is precious and deserves to reach their optimal potential. However, remember not to push them too much while doing this. Each child is an individual. Treat them as such.
This site does not provide medical or any other health care advice, diagnosis or treatment. The site and its services, including the information above, are for informational purposes only and are not a substitute for professional medical advice, examination, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before starting any new treatment or making any changes to existing treatment. Do not delay seeking or disregard medical advice based on information on this site.