“As we sow, so shall we reap!”
The upbringing of a child is entirely in our hands. What we teach the child, directly and indirectly, is what the world and we ourselves will get back from them in future. Love, harmony, patience, tolerance and respect are virtues which we all want our kids to imbibe. The virtues taught, seen and felt at home have the most lasting effect on the child’s psyche. If the child lives in a loving family where family members have due respect for each other, he grows up respecting other people around. The peaceful atmosphere of the immediate family is of utmost importance in today’s violent world. All the propagators of violence come from disturbed backgrounds. Violence begins from home. A happy, satisfied, loved child grows up into a happy, satisfied, loving adult, who respects people’s individuality. But how do we teach love, respect and understanding to a child. Too much love and indulgence is as bad as too less. There has to be a healthy balance, so that the child feels loved and at the same time realizes his limits.
Each child is different with different behavioral and attitudinal traits. Each child has some strong aspects and some weak aspects. We have to observe and understand the individual traits of kids.
The more you bond with the kids the more you get to know them. During infancy itself we can judge whether a child has a demanding nature or a tolerant patient one. Parents should note the frequency and possible triggers of temper tantrums, irritability, anger etc. This will help to formulate strategies to distract the child towards activities she likes and also make her understand good and unacceptable behavior when she is in an amicable mood.
When you spend sufficient quality time with the kids, you get the opportunity to know their natural likings, possible talents and bent of mind. For example, if as a toddler a child shows interest in listening to stories and collecting story books, parents can buy different kinds of books for the child to keep him engaged in similar other healthy activities. Same is with other talents which the child may have. The pint here is that if you know and explore the child’s likings and encourage and engage her in those activities, she will definitely be a satisfied child. This is understanding and respecting the child’s likes and dislikes. When the child is satisfied and happy, naturally there will be less confrontations, making parenting less stressful.
Reading books on child psychology also helps in understanding kids. Parenting books and articles help you understand various moods and behavior of children. They inspire us to find out the cause of a particular behavior of the child, as also to deal with them.
Children’s physical and psychological needs change with their age. Parents have to deal with the children according to their age. A toddler may accept all your rules, but not a teenager. A plain advice or command may work for young children, but it has to be changed to a more friendly and tactful manner for older children.
It is very important for parents to try to understand the child’s strong, positive traits and concentrate on them more, while gently working on the negative or weak points.
Children deserve respect as much as adults do. Respecting a child gives him the confidence to go ahead in life.
A child is also an individual who has her own wishes, likes and dislikes. They are innocent and certainly have to be guided, but this guidance should come from a deep understanding of the child. Understand the child and respect his likes and dislikes. When a child realizes that his parents respect and give importance to his views and desires too, he loves them all the more and thereby is more willing to accept and understand what the parents want him to do. He becomes an adjusting and accommodating child, who respects his parents’ wishes. Such respect for the child should be there right from when the child is very young. There are many small ways by which you reflect your respect for the child. For example, not scolding or humiliating the child in front of others, talking politely with the child, taking her views to in certain family matters like weekend outing or Sunday lunch menu, letting her decide what to wear or which hobby class to join etc. You can adjust some of your less important programs to accommodate the child’s favorite TV cartoon time or their outdoor play time.
Respecting kids do not mean fulfilling all their demands. Respect and indulgence are two entirely different things. You have to firmly say ‘No’ to certain things which are harmful for the child. When you have to say ‘No’, explain the reason to the child in simple, age appropriate manner. If you have reach somewhere at an appointed time, you cannot let your child watch his favorite TV program. The child should know that he should respect the time given for any appointment, unless some other more important job comes up. Fulfilling the child’s every demand will make him arrogant and disrespectful of other’s needs.
There has to be a judicious balance between respecting the child’s wishes and essential parental guidance. Only thing is, guidance should not be too harsh and demanding. Too much domination makes children rebels. Some kids develop inferiority complex and lack the confidence to face the world on their own. There should be a friendly atmosphere in the family, where the child is free to express his views and share his feelings without fear. The purpose of understanding and respecting children within limits is to make them feel loved and at the same time make them accept the superiority of parents as wiser, elder people, on whom they can rely. The patient, loving firmness/superiority of parents gives a sense of security to the child. Parents have to be friend and teacher, both for the child!