There is no such thing as a perfect parent, so just be a real one.
– Sue Atkins
When I was a kid, I always wanted to become a badminton player and dreamt of representing my school, college, club, state etc. But my parents wanted me to be an engineer and work for a big corporate or get a good government job. This was due to various reasons like, affordability of extracurricular activities, family pressure, education taking the front seat, peer or social pressure, etc. Finally, I had to give up on my dreams and focus on my education and become an engineer. Because I had to give up on my dreams, today, I do not want my kid to miss out a chance of becoming a champion. I will make my kid a badminton champion that I could not become. I want her to live her dreams… Does this sound like your story?
Most of us make this very common mistake. Because we could not live our dream of becoming a badminton player, we want to make sure our kid will live it. Even if it’s not the kid’s choice! What is the difference then, between us and our parents? Our parents wanted us to be an engineer, either because they were engineers, or they could not afford to become one. Now, because we could not become a badminton champion, we are trying to live our dreams through our kids, by making them a badminton champion?! We also go one step ahead to think, “unlike us, our kid is getting more than just education”!! The million-dollar question however is, “Is that our dream or is that what our kid really wants to become?”
It’s essential to understand and realize what right parenting means. Parenting doesn’t just say, raising your kids to become teenagers and then to become adults, then they find their jobs and settle in life. Parenting involves, being a guide, a mentor, and a teacher, along with being a mom or dad and understanding our child’s strengths, nurturing it and help them by guiding them on their journey.
Few things to remember in the parenting journey:
Positive Parenting: Teach kids what they can do and what they should do, rather than what they can’t do and what they shouldn’t do. Turn all your negative statements to positive. To start with, stop using the comment, “If you don’t pass the exams, you will be a failure”! Instead, you could use, “If you get good scores, it will help you succeed in life”. Using negative statements with kids, in their childhood will make a profound impact on their minds. As an adult, they will begin assessing the risk, more than the benefits, in everything. This kills their creativity and it also reduces their capability of taking a risk & making critical decisions in life.
According to science, 90% of a human brain, gets developed by the time they are 5 yrs. Hence, positive parenting is vital in the early stages of a child’s life. They grab things fast and learn even more quickly.
Discover Strength: Discover your children’s strengths; this will be a vital key to the development of the child’s future. Children develop an interest in a lot of things, but it’s our job to find that skill which they are strong in and help them nurture it. We should not just nurture it but, we should help them find opportunities to showcase them too. When they showcase their strength, children develop self-confidence. The best way to identify your child’s strength is, to spend as much time as you can with them. Don’t waste time watching TV or movies together, instead spend time teaching and learning with them.
Motivate: Motivate them by telling them stories of successful people and how they achieved that success. Tell them about the hardships they went through and how they overcame them to achieve success ultimately. Try different techniques to keep them motivated, like playing games, participating in their activities etc.
Along with success, it’s important to teach children how to overcome failure too. While playing with your children, do not make the mistake of losing to them to keep them happy. They will never learn how to overcome failure if you do this. Allow them to fail and then show and teach them how to come back and win all over again. Motivate them to overcome the loss and get to the winning path again.
Always motivate your child in things they are interested in and never demotivate them by stopping them outright. If it’s harmful, make them understand why, rather than outrightly stopping them from doing it, without explaining. Keep yourself motivated always too; you set an example before your child.
Say “NO”: Say NO now and then, it’s important for kids to understand that not everything comes to them when they ask. Do not buy whatever they ask for, let it be food, toys, stationeries, etc., they should learn to take NO as an answer. Teach them to earn it, rather than just getting it for free. Set a few tasks to finish to get the gift. Do not overdo it either. Otherwise, the expectation will be to get something whenever they complete a task.
A balanced life: Give your kids a balanced life, physical and mental growth. Do not put too much pressure on achieving certain grades and/or getting admission into a reputed institute. Yes, it’s important, but it’s not the end of life if they do not get into those specific institutions. While they grow mentally, it is equally important to have excellent physical health and growth too. Physical health helps in keeping their mental fitness; this is proven science. Let them play and enjoy life.
Social Pressure: As parents, we should stop acknowledging and transferring social pressure to our children. Every child is different and has a unique talent. Never compare your kids to anybody, do not fall into peer pressure and start comparing your kid with other kids. Harness the talent in your kid and make them feel confident rather than, making them feel inferior in front of others.
Happy Family: We have time and again spoken about our relationships with our parents. Yet a lot of us fail to create that environment for our kids. A happy family and happy relationships, among spouses, raises a happy child. Make sure to give a pleasant environment for the child; they learn from action more than words. Teach them how to lead a life together for each other, the importance of togetherness, helping others, adjusting for others.
Set example: As parents, we need to start setting the example. If you want your children to learn focus in whatever they do, start doing it yourself, stay focused on whatever you do. If you want them to read, start reading yourself. If you wish good behaviour from your kids, start practicing it yourself first!!
What better timing to start practicing this, than now, when we all have been spending maximum time with our family and children. Let’s show our children how important they are and in that process lets shape their future too…