Dos and Don’ts of healthy Parenting – How to bring out the best in your kid?
As parents, especially the first-time parents, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves to do basically everything, all the time, every single day for our children. Still we feel that we are not doing just enough to bring out the best in our children. Exhausted? We know the feeling.
But raising a family while keeping life balanced is an art form. Here are a few pointers that we have seen make family life much beautiful. Try incorporating these to bring out the best in your kid and groom him/her into a healthy human not only physically, but also emotionally and mentally.
1. Do identify your child's Strengths and Weaknesses. It is very important to understand your child’s strengths and weaknesses and use them to build your child’s self-esteem. This helps in providing the confidence he or she needs to tackle whatever seems difficult. And as a grown-up, you already understand how critical this is during development phase of a child. This will help your child to willingly listen and understand during difficult situations and correct themselves without losing dignity.
2. Don’t punish your child. Punishing a child is not as effective as using praise and rewards. After identifying your child’s Strengths and Weaknesses, help them reach full potential in the area of strengths. Rather than focusing on weaknesses and rebuke them, find ways to assist your child in improving the weak areas. When encouraged, children acquire talents to compensate for any weakness.
3. Don’t use negative emotions. Avoid negative emotional reactions, such as anger, sarcasm, and ridicule. Either your child will be affected in adverse ways, and his/her confidence will be affected; or he/she will become uncontrollable and negative him/herself. If your child has problems with control, negativity will only make him or her feel worse. Use short and mild suggestions to remind your child to focus when he/she is feeling negative, like “P.A.,” for “pay attention.”
4. Don’t compare siblings. In fact, never compare your child with others. If you have to, do it in a mild and motivating ways, so that they learn and not feel envious. No two individuals are same and should not be measured with same yardstick. If a child thinks his/her brother or sister is favored, it can create a rivalry that may last the rest of their lives and cause problems in your family. Make sure your kids know that they are loved equally and for what they are.
5. Do get support if you feel that you need it. Life with children is a roller coaster ride, especially when it is your first time. Understanding and accepting that there will be negative aspects to child rearing and getting some professional advice when necessary will help maintain your sanity and enjoy the experience to the fullest.
6. Do give full attention to your children. Children need positive attention. If they do not receive positive attention from family, they may choose to seek out negative attention. This is because negative attention is still attention, and any attention is better than being ignored. So, set aside some time from your hectic schedule and spend them with your children, with minimum distraction. Remember to communicate with your child. Love and care are the greatest healers. This will also help your child become more self-sufficient and less needy as he/she grows.
7. Do monitor your child’s social interactions and use of the Internet. The stuff that kids can access in cyberspace and offline through their social circle can be dangerous. These days there is increased usage of parental locks that can help you restrict online content for kids. Get a program that will let you see the web sites they visit and monitor their chats. But remember not to make them feel too restrictive. Make them understand the difference between what’s right and what’s wrong patiently and with love.
8. Do accept that your life changes when you have a child. Lazy weekends in bed or outings with friends are replaced by soccer games and recitals. Remember, you still need to make time for your partner – date nights and weekend getaways are important for your relationship. So, think of activities that can keep your relationship with partner alive along with giving you time with your kids.
9. Do parenting by being an example. Think of your kids as little copy machines who will mimic everything you do. If you behave badly, you are giving them permission to act in the same ways. Check in with yourself, and don’t lose it in front of the children.
10. Don't give up on your child, ever! All of your child's problems can be worked through with patience, understanding, love, humor, goodwill and perseverance. With proper parental support, even the most troublesome teens can become amazing people. All you need to do is never give up!
Parenting is a hard job but not impossible. Give all you can, keep your cool, and stay in the game. The results and your own joy will surprise and reward you.
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