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Every parent wants to raise strong and happy kids. It is indeed possible with the right kind of upbringing and positive demonstration.
I am sure in one family or the other, we would have heard children questioning their parents, saying “You did not have time when I was growing up”, “You did not ever slow down for me to know if I was being bullied by my friends” or “You have never set a good example of dealing with so and so matter”.
The fight does not stop here. Parents either feel let down or angry and might end up reacting in a self centric, defensive manner rather than understanding the fact that when a child says this, it is not about your struggle but about your child’s struggle.
So, sit down and pause to think about how to respond and not react.
Most commonly, parents end up saying “We slogged to make you what you are, we have gone through so many hardships to give what you flaunt today, we worked and worked so that you could get good education”.
Is either of the parties right or wrong?
This article is for all of us to explore the experiences a child goes through while growing up and what are the things he needs or observes in a parent.
Why the parent? It is so because they are the first circle of influence in any child’s life. They are by default the role model, not always for good, but whatever he or she learns, adapts, reflects, executes and repeat majorly comes from his/her inner circle of influence, parents/caregivers.
Let’s discuss what we as parents need to demonstrate to our children so that they have happy childhood memories and they turn out to be good, well rounded human beings:
This is one the most important aspect. The couple should know that even if the child looks okay with both of you, he may not really be. A child understands the language of love. He/she holds both the parents high in esteem and loves them with all his heart.
However, rage, blame games, disrespect, talking behind each other with your family or peers in the presence of your child is not healthy. Reacting aggressively, carrying a bad temper all the time, not being able to resolve adult problems amicably, are some of the major deterrents in the making of a healthy young adult in your family.
It affects the child. If the couple cannot demonstrate love and respect for each other and for the people around, then, the child for sure, imbibes similar attitude towards people. It also leads the child to trust his parents less, look for peace and love outside the inner circle, even have the potential to get misled by his peers in several instances. Hence, when love is the reason for a new life in the family, then let it always surround the child no matter how bad our mood is.
Be careful, your child is watching you. Your aggression makes an aggressive child. Your calmness on the other hand cools down even a child who is having a bad day.
How? It is all the about the environment one is brought up in. Each living being is bestowed with a humaneness which makes us survive or succumb in a particular milieu.
Conflicts are always fueled by two parties not agreeing. If you demonstrate that conflict is about a win-lose situation then, the child will definitely learn to defeat the other person. However, if you demonstrate win-win as a possible option, your child will early on learn to be collaborative.
Lying yourself, or making the child lie to your friends, house help, or shopkeeper is one of the major blunders one can do. The child imbibes it as a “This is okay to do” approach.
As you must have observed, whatever you do, a child follows, because it is a naturally built in mechanism in every human being, to imitate. They learn by seeing and doing. And hey, you just gave them the platform to do both. If you face such a situation- calmly (however tired you are or difficult it is), make the child understand.
“Practice what you preach” is mostly not followed in several families because we as adults have a halo over our head of ‘being right’. Let us not make parenting or raising a child a subject of power, but allow it to organically grow as play.
Hence, as adults, practice and then preach honesty as a way of life.
Talk with them, allow them to talk, express and construct their thoughts. Be compassionate and balanced while hearing something which you do not like.
We all make mistakes and have weird thought processes as adults. Do we allow our children to be mad at us at the way we conduct ourselves? Similarly, we should not snap at their perception, problems and queries with a bad temper.
Having said that yes, parents have lived a certain part of life and are more experienced and hence they must guide the child. However, your parenting skills come to play in a critical situation wherein you have to make it a more comfortable discussion with the child rather than making it a heated debate or one sided adult blabbering .
Yes, it sounds just like blabbering to a child when you are loud, unable to understand the child’s issues, unable to be calm. Also, to cut the matter short, you end up giving your verdict. Go slow and spend time with the children.
Making life better for the next generation is not easy for a parent of any generation. It comes with struggle, hard work, difficult choices, which one is forced to make for the larger goal. However, balancing is the key because childhood is one of the most important phases in the human cycle.
If you have not given your time, energy and attention during this phase, then you are losing out on a phase where you can help the child develop maximum amount of soft skills which we all need as human beings to conduct ourselves well in any given situation.
I have seen adults in office, running away from difficult colleagues, trying to pull down each other, getting stressed about what others are doing, not willing to reach out to team members due to lack of collaborative skills. This is all because we tend not to address and work on these skills with the children when they are growing up.
Either we give no exposure of such situations, or set a bad example by ourselves reacting inappropriately in such situations at home or in a group setting. Thus, no amount of savings, good education, college or a job will make such adults successful.
Pause, learn to show life beyond your work, travel thoughtfully, by being fully involved, interact while travelling, reflect on new experiences, talk about how things are different around us yet blending together in our lives in some way or the other.
Talk about inclusivity (by that it also means we do not slog ourselves and make work life as the only life, but allow the child to be an inclusive part in your whole journey). Let’s remember, as parents we should not make ourselves service providers (for which we need to endlessly slog for a better future) but a caregiver. The more you give, the more child will learn to give back.
This begins from the stage when the child is born. From the time he starts to flip on his tummy, he tries to be an adult just like you!
Yes, you are the role model and it is not a burden for the parents. It is a matter of opportunity that you are able enough to demonstrate what a child can achieve. However, one does not become adult only by being 18. It is a long journey of learning, unlearning and relearning that helps to make a child into a responsible adult.
Hence, this journey has to be mostly democratic, rather than autocratic. It will help if we take up the role of a mentor to suggest, share our experiences, discuss about new avenues and possibilities. But, in the end, allow the child to go and explore. Always remember, he is part of you but not you!
Just a little care in our conduct, makes the child conduct well. Think over it!
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