A parent's guide to bringing up well behaved children
Every child has certain basic emotional needs, which ought to be satisfied to ensure his optimal development as an emotionally mature individual who is able to relate meaningfully with the society.
The child is dependent on parents, who should ensure for him a sense of belonging and security. He should be able to trust them. Opportunities should be made available for play, activity and recreation. He should be able to take pride in his achievements. Every child wishes to model his or herself after their parents and therefore should have adequate social and emotional interaction with the parents. The following factors should always be kept in mind while interacting with a child as a parent.
Children should be disciplined. Too permissive or too rigid discipline is both counterproductive. Parents should never shout, shriek, or spank their children for petty pranks. The best way to discipline a child is to take him in a separate room and explain firmly why his/her behaviour was wrong and make it clear that this misconduct will not be tolerated in future. Children must be made to understand the long term ramifications of their actions. A consistent discipline and parental attitude is conducive to a more balanced development.
A child never learns anything from scolding, teasing, ridiculing or beating. He/she perceives from the examples set by his/her parents. Children understand rewards more than punishments. Disciple should be exercised without tears. Punishment should be minimum and consistent. During first year of life no punishment should be handed out to the child. In the second year an expression of displeasure by the parents is adequate. The child may be punished by depriving him of certain privileges when he/she is in the third year.
An overindulgent parent may prevent the child from developing a sense of independence and autonomy. The over solicitous parent feels frustrated at the revolt by the over protected child. Catering to all the needs and demands of a child will turn him in to a brat. Overprotection also leads to dependence. The child may not be able to make friends and remains an introvert.
Parents may seek unrealistic attainments from their children. They may push them to achieve scholastic or sporting goals much beyond their level of ability. A conflict between the child’s achievements and parent’s desire increases the stress. Hence parents should not seek unreasonable feats from their children.
Love should be expressed evidently, not by lavish gifts or pocket allowance. Parents should spend time with their children together in a family environment. This will be remembered fondly by both the child and parents.
If birth of a child coincides with a tragedy in the family such as death of a family member, loss of employment or financial loss to the parent, the child may be considered unlucky. This may result in rejection of the child by the parent. Birth of an unwanted child or a child of sex other than the desired sex or of disputed paternity may also lead to rebuff of the child. The child easily beholds the lack of warmth in the parent’s attitude.
Parents want to take pride in achievements of their children and therefore impose their own value systems, aspirations, and philosophy on the child. This leads to over domination of the child’s personality which may build up stress in the child’s interaction with parents.
Contrary to popular notion there is intense rivalry amongst siblings. Children could be resentful of the success or achievements of their kith and kin. The child’s emotional need for affection and security may appear to be threatened with the birth of another child. Parents have to give a part of their time and attention to the new arrival. The older sibling may feel deprived and this may initiate hostility in its behaviour. To avoid such situations, conscious effort should be made to involve the older child in the care of the younger sibling under parental eye so that he/she can relate to the sibling with love, affection and a feeling of belonging.
Unhealthy criticism and unfavourable comparison
Children are very sensitive to overt or implied criticism and unfavourable comparisons with other children. They may display resentment towards parental attitude resulting in maladjustment. Appreciation and recognition of the achievements, however small are imperative for development of his/her self respect.
Broken homes and parental discord
A broken home due to parental discord, dichotomy or separation is devastating for a child. Parents should always consider the effect of their squabbles on the evolution of their innocent children.
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