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Editorial Articles

Volume-30, 21-27 October, 2017

Manage Challenges of ‘Parenting’ Your Way

Col (Dr) PK Vaidya

A stage comes in later period of life when one considers oneself as a successful person only if his/her children achieved their goals which they had wanted to achieve. One may do extremely well to climb to the top of the ladder but there is no greater joy than having disciplined, motivated, responsible and loving children who are good human beings.
According to Psychologists, it is the parents who are mainly responsible for shaping their children. It has been rightly said that "there are no difficult children but there are difficult parents", it particularly holds good for those Parents who think that their responsibility ends with feeding, getting them clothing, enrolling them in schools and probably sending them to couple of coaching classes. These days the office pressure on the Parents, particularly where both the Parents are working has increased so much that they just do not find time to interact & share few moments with their children. Some of them have become totally dependent on care takers & maid servants. Parents need to take few minutes from their busy schedule to interact with their children minimum 3 to 4 days in a week if not every day. This needs to be understood by the parents that it has a direct bearing on the overall development of the child. 
 Children are the best imitator, extremely observant and they follow whatever they observe quietly. Parents have to be very careful of their activities; they have to establish set rules and guidelines which they should follow in their daily routine as whatever parents do in the presence of their children it is remembered and retained by them for the years to come.
Young Parents at times get in to arguments, try to let down each other, talk sarcastically, get in to ego issues, both remain quiet with no smile on their faces, it adversely affects the child.
Tensed/monotonous/dull environment in the family has a retrogressive effect on the child and he/she feels suffocated. Conduct and behavior of the parents have profound effect on the children's psychological growth and behavior. It is the early childhood interaction between the child and the parent which ingrains social values in the child. The experience the child gets at home, have an important role in determining whether the child will be independent, assertive, competitive, humble, generous, loving, courageous or on the other hand dependent, aggressive, submissive, not able to handle odds & pressure.
All out efforts must be made by the parents to provide a very harmonious, happy, conducive environment at home. Let me assure if Parents can maintain it, more than half the battle of successful parenting is won. The following actions/suggestions will assist parents in maintaining conducive environment:-
*The basic needs of the child in terms of food, clothing, rest & relaxation must be     ensured. Inadequate sleep may make children irritable; lack of sleep also reduces their concentration which affects their quality of work.
*Happiness & harmony must prevail at home and there should be affectionate relationship between parents & the children. It has been seen that
children from happy home are easily adjustable, more outgoing and more social. Happy children are more energetic and have strong motivation to do well.
*Parents must remain totally impartial & fair to their children irrespective of their age & sex in terms of freedom, restrictions and facilities given to their children. There should not be different set of rules for them.
*In armed forces there is a famous saying that the time spent in reconnaissance is never wasted. Similarly time spent with children is never wasted it ought to give you dividends .When parents play with children; it makes them feel that their parents love them and they are important to them. This is an important aspect of successful parenting which encourages healthy mental & physical attitude. It has been rightly said that" Your children need your presence more than your presents". Importance of parents support can well be judged from the remark of star footballer Ronaldo who has recently written in a sports website that it was a great day for him the day his mother & sister who initially did not take  interest in his game, came to witness his school match. Parents support is very precious to the children; mother of badminton player PV Sandhu resigned from a well paid job to support her daughter.
*Whenever child does something praise worthy he/she must be praised. We need to make our child feel good about him/herself, than only they would perform well. A small clap or pat on back by the Parents boots up the morale & confidence of the child and it encourages him/her to perform better and makes him/her feel that parents believe in him/her. Repeated praise work as a catalyst to condition the minds to aim higher and gives the Child’s body the strength to push harder.
*It is good to keep an eye on the activities of the children but 24x7 supervision is not at all necessary. We need to develop trust between parents and the children. They should have a feeling that Parents are always there with them & they would hold their hands at the time of need. If we develop trust then only children will feel free to come to the Parents to discuss/resolve their problems.
It has been seen that in some cases both the Parents and in many cases one of the Parents resort to these technique of parenting to ensure that child does what Parents want him/her to do. Parents resort this short cut approach to make the child understand the difference between right and the wrong. But when the child is spanked, the brain and the part of the mind of the child which mediates learning & understanding goes in to alarm mode immediately. Child brain senses the danger and responds accordingly. For the child it is the experience of being small, unable to face the overwhelming force. In such a state   portion of brain of the child which is the centre of reasoning & judging stops working and therefore child's behavior during spanking and after spanking is not the thoughtful behavior, it is a reactive behavior which  is due to fear. It has got nothing to do with the understanding of right or wrong. As a matter of fact it creates state of confusion in the mind of the child that why is a person who loves him, hurting him?  When the child is regularly spanked it creates a wedge of fear & resentment between the child and the Parent and his behavior becomes more reactive, a vicious cycle starts and the fearful child either becomes aggressive or withdrawn. Though many Parents feel that they were spanked by their parents and nothing alarming/ adverse has happened with them and therefore it is all absurd. However detailed research & studies in many countries clearly show that effects on children are negative. One of the study has concluded that the more children are hit, the more likely they are to hit others including peers, siblings and later on as adult they are to hit their spouses. I though it is easier said than done but in the larger interest of our children, Parents should avoid this negative aspect of parenting.
Some Useful Tips
The Parents should possess some good qualities which are inherited through direct observation by the children. Some of the essential values which we as parents would like to have in our children are enumerated below. These are not listed in order of priority. These virtues cannot be inculcated in a day, some of these require long time to develop:-
*If Parents want their child to have important quality of humility, they themselves should be humble to children so that they can observe humility at close quarters.
*These days' children do not like to read, they prefer watching TV than reading books. Parents should keep their passion for learning alive. Children get influenced by their Parents .If Parents want to inculcate important habit of reading in their children they themselves should read a lot.
*While communicating with the children, Parents should use language which reflects honesty & respect. Child is likely to cooperate more if parents communicate with him in calm & non threatening manners. Parents should always remember that child should be spoken to as we would like to be spoken to by others.
*Parents need to create such an environment at home that family feels grateful for what they have and not bother about what they do not have. Expression of gratitude should be part of our daily life. Parents should encourage their children to say thank you even for routine activity which they take it for granted. When children say thank you many times a day, expressing gratitude becomes easier for them.
*We as Parents have to conduct ourselves very carefully to create atmosphere of honesty at home so that our children deliberately avoid dishonesty which they ought to face outside their homes. Parents should frequently find opportunities to discuss what is honest and what is not .For example a Parent trying to protect his child in a PTM giving an excuse, is introducing his child to dishonesty.
*Children should find determination in their Parents to draw strength from them. Whenever a child falls, Parents should offer a helping hand and help him/her to stand up once again. It should be discussed with the children that the life is all about success failure and more success provided one is determined to rise after the fall.
*The parents should encourage child to talk. He should be motivated to be vocal. He should be encouraged to ask queries which should be explained to him in a jovial manner by the Parents. Child should feel free to discuss about anything with his Parents, rather than looking for help from someone else .As a teenager he/she may start questioning the decision taken by the Parents which should be taken in positive spirit ,after all it is sign of developing  reasoning and thinking.
*Give your child permission to make mistakes otherwise he/she would never take risk necessary to discover a talent.
Avoidable Dont’s
*There are some  which has retrogressive impact on the development of the child, some of avoidable Dont’s are enumerated below:-
*Parents should not expect to have a perfect child. Realistic and rational goals should be set for him otherwise it will bring unhappiness and disappointment to the child. A demoralized child cannot be happy and will not perform well. The development of the child may get hampered.
*Parents should not indulge in negative conduct such as manipulation with peers, relatives & elderly people. The reflection of negative attitude, feeling, facial expression etc are very well perceived by the children. Parents may get it back sooner or later.
*The child should not be insulted before his peers. Time and place should be kept in mind before rebuking a child. It is always better to deal with him one to one when he is alone. Parents should also not indulge in sarcasm & taunting as it adversely affects his morale and lowers his self esteem.
*Two children should not be compared as each child is biologically & genetically different from other. There ought to be difference in their physical, intellectual, behavior and personality development. You may help your child to compare himself to his own past performance.
*It has been seen that Parents, sometimes differ in their opinion about child's behavior & conduct .Parents should not show the difference of opinion in front of their child. It is necessary to support your spouse's stand. The problem should be discussed between the Parents when they are alone, they should deal with the problem with the united decision and common stand .In most of the situations, Parents can arrive at a common stand some via media comes out which is acceptable to the child.
Parents need to accept that children are remarkably perceptive, their eyes closely observe, ears intently listen and mind keenly processes what their environment offers them. Their experiences in childhood leave lifelong impressions. We as Parents should always remember that our children may not remember what we teach them but they would certainly remember what we have been. Parents from their busy schedule and office work load have to strike a balance in their Parental responsibilities in the larger interest of their children and manage challenges of parenting their way.
(The author is certified trainer)Views expressed are personal.
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