December 6, 2022
What is the best way of parenting? Parenting is a very noble, divine, and also a very unique activity, which could be beyond all prompting and nothing can substitute it. No one can explain and elaborate fully the way parents should fulfil their task of parenting the best way. Nevertheless, following few reflections on the topic can enlighten the parents regarding their indispensable and august career.
Dear parents, you need to be aware that you play a pivotal role in your children’s life. You are the pillars of support, guidance, and love. Family is the place, where life begins and love never ends. No matter how old you are, there’s nothing more comforting and soothing to your children than the embrace around the arms of their parents. It is therefore natural that you wish and desire to parent your children the best way.
If you ask the question, what is the best way you can go about doing that, here are few hints: first one is to work upon yourself a little bit, namely, spend sufficient time with yourself. Look at yourself carefully, how you are, how you sit, how you stand, how you speak, what you do and what you don’t do! I think you must observe and inspect yourself very carefully, because the children are picking up everything rapidly and they will observe everything from parents, and they will exaggerate everything that you are doing.
One most important thing is to try to conduct yourself in such a way that you yourself like it. Somebody may not approve that, but it does not matter; at least you conduct yourself in such way that you like the way you are and know that your children observe everything you do. The growth and development of a child is rooted in their parents. A parent thereby acts as a visionary to their children. Parent - child relationship, is the first step towards wise parenting. Failing to give proper guidance, love, acceptance, affection, support, care, can seriously affect a child’s life and can have serious impacts that can lead to character defects.
Here, I would like to share few points regarding the role of parents in a child's life.
(i) Develop skills
Parenting is a never - ending skill. Once you sign for it there’s no looking back. Parenting and child development are in a symbiotic relationship. Nobody but the parents are the most influential characters in their children’s life and they model them. And this is the basic rule of every parent-child relationship. Parents contribute to the cognitive, socio- cultural, physical, mental, and spiritual development of the child. Parental values and expertise play a vital role in the healthy upbringing of children in all the areas of their life.
(ii) You should know to say “NO” to children whenever it is needed
Whenever you think you should say NO to your child, just say it. As a parent you do not need to give into whatever they ask or demand. Saying no is an important responsibility for parents.
(iii) Example is the best teacher
Children will always follow what their parents do, not what their parents say. If they see you spending a lot of your time on gadgets, they will do the same. Instead, lead by example and focus on cultivating healthy habits for yourself (like reading, gardening, cycling, etc.), so as to encourage your children to follow the same habits. As parents you should limit the time you spend on gadgets (especially, the phone!) in the vicinity of your Children as they are very sensitive. When they hear a NO for toys, favourite food/dress, electronics or simply anything they wish to have, they willingly say YES, if it corresponds to your life. If they see that you do not practice what you demand from them, they will revolt or keep a grudge or just obey out of fear. We cannot blame them as they don’t have the maturity to understand situations and the contexts. It is the responsibility of yours, as parents to explain to your children why they cannot have or cannot do certain things at certain times. Of course this requires a lot of patience. But let them know that they cannot get everything they desire but be careful to provide them with what they need. The difference they should learn from your actual life style.
(iv) Be strict with rules
As a responsible parent, you need to ensure that your child has a healthy lifestyle and healthy habits. Make tough decisions and put your foot down on limiting unhealthy habits like too much TV/computer time, no matter the pleading and cajoling. Make sure to explain to them the reasoning behind your decision.
(v) Set a daily limit on screen time
Allocate an appropriate amount of screen time for your child, irrespective of the gadget. Give your children the option to watch TV, use the computer, etc. and let them choose what time of the day they can use the gadgets. This gives them a sense of freedom and involves them in making decisions too. In case time is extended then there should be punishment, punishment like limiting the screen time next day. If a particular child is fixed on time allotted, reward her with appropriate words of praise and appreciation.
(vi) Involve kids in other activities
To limit gadget addiction, it is important to use different resources within your children’s reach that attract their curiosity. Involve your children in enriching activities like reading aloud sessions, music, sports sessions, board games, art and craft time, etc.
(vii) Limit the number of gadgets in the house
When buying gadgets, try and limit the total number of gadgets in the house keeping the usability and affordability in mind. The kids don’t really need the latest version of every game or laptop. Try and be consistent with your right to decide from the very beginning, and for yourself too! Also try and limit the number of visible gadgets in the house. For example, the particular game can remain in the playroom cupboard through the day until play-time.
(viii) Spend maximum time with Your Kids
This may sound too simplistic, but spending quality time with children is necessary. So, take the initiative to spend enough time with your kids and do things that interest them from playing with dolls to playing hide and seek. Buy some story books which you can read together.
(ix) Avoid using gadgets as crutches
It is easy to hand the child a cell-phone or turn on the TV to keep him occupied and get your own work done. However, the little things matter more than you think, after a point these gadgets might become an addiction that distract your child from other activities! Instead, be involved, ask what they want to do and listen to what they have to say. Try and get the help of your partner, parents, or grandparents or paid help when needed.
(x) Maintain ‘Gadget-Free’ areas and time during the day
From the dining table at dinner time to the play room, certain areas of the house should be marked as ‘gadget-free’. Here, the whole family is not allowed to use any gadgets at all. This will ensure your child understands the importance of other activities in relation to gadgets.
(xi) Praise your child’s efforts
Finally, it is important to praise your child’s efforts when he/she makes the effort to prioritize other activities over screen time, of his own accord. Praising positive behaviour will encourage your child to continue doing it!
(xii) Involve your children in household chores
Involve them in the maintenance of your residence and surroundings. Expose them to small works like keeping the plates in the sink, folding the bedsheets, cleaning and keeping tidy their own room and the like. This will help them to develop fine motor-skills and a sense of belongingness, attitude of helping others, caring and sharing with others.
(xiii) Healthy competition may go to develop the personality of children
But competitions should be on exposing the talents and never to prove ones superiority over others. For this, avoid comparing your children with other neighbourhood children. Encourage and praise what your child has done and achieved. Do not compare your child’s achievements with others. Often parents inquire about other children in the school and in the neighbourhood. What they have scored, how many prizes they got, etc. Never compare your child with other children. Every child is unique like a flower, every flower is beautiful its own way. Nobody can say rose is better than sun flower. Sun flower also has its own beauty, its own colour, smell and it is different from other flowers. So, every child is like a flower by herself or himself. Many parents have a bad habit of comparing the academic marks of their children with those of neighbours. Encourage your child to do its best and appreciate for the marks it has obtained. That will develop the self-confidence of your child to do better next time.
As parents, we need to understand what’s good for our children and what is not, from the moment they are our children. The proper role of the parent is to provide encouragement, support, and access to activities that enable the child to foster key talents and their own capacities. A parent is the child's first teacher and need to be so throughout.