"There is no such thing as a perfect parent. So just be a real one"- Sue unko.
Parenting is one of the most responsible chapters of life. It is very likely that parents might make some mistakes in bringing up their children but that is alright! Your mistakes can be a great opportunity to learn and grow. The goal is never to be a flawless parent but it is our crucial duty to raise a mindful child for their own betterment and a peaceful world.
Inculcating good habits is not an easy task, it demands a lot of patience and care from parents to raise a mentally and emotionally fit and strong child. Our first school is our home and our first teachers are our parents. Your child might throw a lot of tantrums at you but your response would be what your kids will learn.
According to Psychologist Shipra Lamba, "Many psychologists believe that many of the schemas and personality traits are established in our early years of life."
So here are a few points and suggestions from professionals for parents to follow for the better social and emotional growth of their child.
Encourage them to express: We can see how people are getting stuck into a vicious cycle of mental illnesses day by day. One of the common reasons for such problems is we stop expressing with time, due to different reasons. Psychologist, Shipra Lamba says "Sometimes, a child needs to be taught how to express love and there is no better way to teach this by expressing it ourselves and helping them understand how to express it."
It's not just about love, children must also be taught to process other overwhelming emotions such as anger, frustration, sadness, happiness, and so on via healthy communication and setting an example yourself.
If sometimes your kid cries because they do not feel good, do not stop them by saying things like 'brave people do not cry' or do not associate grieving or crying with gender.
Let them know that strong people also cry and it is one of the ways of expression.
Stop labeling emotions: It is necessary to guide your little ones about self-awareness and not to differentiate any emotion on a negative or positive basis. Instead, it is the reaction or expressions which set the boundaries of being positive or negative. Lamba suggests, "Provide alternatives of an inappropriate expression rather than just telling them not to do it."
Parents can also teach their child that how reacting in a negative way can affect someone so that they won't repeat it. For example, if your toddler is getting impatient while waiting for his food and hits you in response to expressing his frustration and hunger, do not scold them. Instead, make them understand the reason why food is getting late and tolerate it till they get you properly. Secondly, tell them that hitting someone can hurt and be painful.
Let them make their decisions: Deepti Puranic, assistant professor and psychologist says, "Teach the child to ask themselves what is right and wrong before reacting to a situation and making any decisions. Encourage discussions in-home and involve their child in important decisions." This way they will become independent, learn patience, and understand the difference between right and wrong. It will also let them improve their mistakes.
Be patient: It is important to watch how you react to certain things in front of your kids. Lamba says, "We might have noticed our children imitate our behaviour or say the exact things which we say in a particular situation. That is why it is a crucial step to look after how we react in particular scenarios."
For example, if someday you are frustrated due to an overload of work from the office and your kid wants your attention. In such a situation try not to get angry, irritate and shout at the kid, instead make them identify that it's your hard day. Patiently ask them for some time, so that you can manage your emotions. This will not only make them learn patience but also a way to manage stress and deal with overwhelming situations. Later on, go to your child, thank them for providing you with some time and dedicate some of your hours only to them.
Reward your little ones: According to Ms Lamba, it is important to reward your kid when they behave in a good way. The reinforcement does not always have to be materialistic but can be an extra bedtime story, playing sports together, baking, going for a walk together, extra playtime or any other activity your child loves to attend. This is how your kid will respect the time spent together with family and will learn the importance of being united.
Accept what you feel: We all make mistakes and that's okay but important is to accept it in front of your child and apologise about it. Dr Puranic mentioned, "Similarly, if your kid makes mistakes, teach them to accept it and discuss the right way it could have been done."
Acceptance is not only for mistakes, one should apply it to other emotions too. Encourage your children to share what they feel, if they are sad or not happy because of some reason which can not be changed. Make them learn to accept the situation according to their age. Also, mention your experience of acceptance and its power of bringing peace to one's life.
For example, if your child fails at winning a competition for which he/she was very excited and enthusiastic, assure them that it is okay to fail at times and failures bring a lot of lessons. Motivate them for the future and make them remember that it is a part of life. Tell them winning is not always what we should aim for, participating and getting experience is also a part of the competition and growing self-confidence.
Follow Gratitude: Gratitude is one of the most important things we need to follow nowadays. Discuss the things your child feels happy about and ask them to be thankful for it to the almighty. It can also be learnt while performing day to day activities. For example, you can thank your child for passing you a glass of water or helping you with the household chores.
Dr. Puranic says "Another much-needed habit a child needs to learn is to celebrate other's happiness. Teach your child to celebrate his/ her friend's success and be happy when they achieve something."
Do not Judge: Your child may only have you to whom he/she can come and tell everything. So have those conversations with your kid while maintaining eye contact and make sure to assure them that you won't judge them.