Share your budget with your children – From I-pads to the X-box, there is no end to the demands of our children nowadays. Every family has a budget and the sooner we learn to teach our children to “fall in line” with our respective budget, the better it is for the entire family. Children now make the highest of demands in the most casual manner (mostly under peer pressure) and the easy way out is to give in to these demands, rather than to see the sad and swollen faces of our children. We are earning for them, right? However, in the long run, it makes sense to treat the children like adults (after all they keep comparing themselves to adults so why not?) and explain to them where the money goes – be it giving them figures of the electricity/petrol bills or how much it costs when you take them for one game of bowling with a dinner at the mall. If your child can justify the pricing of an F1 racing ticket or a branded T-shirt, he can very well understand the logistics of your budget. Teach them to value money.
Never say “NO” to spending time – Who will be in the mood to listen to the trivial juvenile politics when you have a deadline to meet the next morning. The important thing here is to realize that your child wants to share his life with you. He’s turning to you so don’t let go of that opportunity to be there for him. After a hard day’s work and no caffeine to pump up the system, my daughter tells me to go shopping. My brain says “Plzzzzzzzzzzz leave me alone “but I listen to my heart and go along. I should consider myself lucky that she wants to go with me rather than go with friends and come home with bags of shopping I don’t approve of. Then she points to 2 bottles of nailpolish and asks “Is this pink nice or is this pink nice?” Frankly, I can’t tell the difference and think “who cares?” but I rather tell her “Hmmmm, the left one is more pink, take that.” The minute you avoid spending time with them, they will turn to other things that will eventually disturb your sleep one day.
Spare the rod but use the scanner – Never hit a child especially teenagers. No parent I have ever met has achieved any positive results by slapping his own child – rather you create an emotional rift. Think about it. The better way to achieve results is to withhold certain advantages at the same time explaining the reason and taking their consent. Learn to look at the bigger picture and ask yourself – was it peer pressure, carelessness, rebellion, immaturity or just growing pains. Don’t hesitate to consult a psychologist/ counselor or talk to a friend for advice. Get over the taboo of keeping things in wraps – You just might find your child back where you wanted him.
Show respect for inter-personal relationships – be it grand parents, teachers, siblings or friends, the first rule is make children realize the importance of the people in their lives and value them. Teach them how to say “sorry”. Once a child learns to say “sorry” to the people who matter, you have downsized their ego. This is the first step in making children realize that its ok to make mistakes and learn from them. Even parents should not hesitate to say sorry to your children. We tend to overlook the emphasis of using words like PLEASE, THANK YOU & SORRY. Imagine a child using these words in his vocabulary while talking to his grandparents, teachers and parents – you can’t help but dote on him and praise the parents. It is not difficult to be one of those parents.
Don’t compare – We all know this but when we speak to our children, how easily we forget? We have to make our child feel special no matter how he performs academically or even if he comes second in a competition, or if he cries during a stage show. Studies show that comparison and lack of encouragement can create lifelong complexes in your children. Apply the rule of acceptance. Do as much as you can to bring up a vibrant and happy child full of life.
Accept children for what they are academically –For those of us who are blessed with children born with natural intelligence or better known as TOPPERS, parenting is mostly smooth sailing. However, for those of us who have academically-average or under average children, everyday is a struggle and every PTM is a nightmare, for both the parent and the child. The first step to overcome this is ACCEPTANCE. There is a very fine line between a child trying to work hard but not achieving results and a child who just doesn’t want to try. Differentiate between that line and stand by your child. Accept and understand that it is NOT necessary that every child who scores 95% will make it in life or every child that scores 40% is a failure. Today it’s a whole new world full of endless opportunities, and the children know it. They are much more aware than we were at their age. Once you let go of your expectations, you will see that it doesn’t pay to judge your child by their report card. Make academics a fun part of growing up and accept the 60% happily if it’s achieved with hard work, sincerity and dedication.
Be a friend, encourage transparency – Create that bond with your child where he doesn’t feel the need to hide anything from you. Be it their first love letter, detentions at school or the first tryst with smoking. It is easier to fight a known enemy than an unknown one. Spend time with them and talking to them without taunting them, humiliating and criticizing them.
Never take advantage of what they share with you or even think of betraying their trust. They have to realize that the love they get from their parents is the only unconditional love in this world, the only love that will bail them out of trouble. You will be aware of what is happening in your child’s life and take corrective measures if required. Otherwise be prepared for a big ugly bubble bursting one fine day which is an inevitable part of growing up.
Encourage exercise and adopt a hobby – Instill the importance of fresh air and physical fitness. How many of us know of friends who start exercising and walking only after they have had a health setback probably at the age of 35 and above. Children are full of energy and if we channel this energy in a positive way, their minds won’t wander. Introduce them to hobbies like Chess, Painting, Court Games, Musical Instruments etc., and find a genius in your little baby and at the same time, keep the energy focused on something positive, and please control the junk food.
Social etiquette and the Rule Book – As your child enters his teens, set the rules. Some of my rules are :- wherever you are, whoever you are with, any disciplinary activity that happens in school, I need to know. I also need to have the telephone numbers of the best friends with a promise only to use the number in a panic situation. Set deadlines to return home and don’t hesitate to cancel the movie tickets or confiscate the PS3 if the rules are not complied with. When your child begins to choose his own clothes, guide them what to wear for each occasion and differentiate between formal and informal attire. Settle the hem line for the skirt and show them how to wear clothes that suit their physical structure rather than go with fashion. What’s important is how you carry yourself and not what you wear.
Don’t forget the daily hug – Can’t live without this one. Children are the very essence of our being and if you don’t display your love or emotions, how will they learn to show their appreciation for you. Nothing can replace the feeling of grabbing your little boy or girl reallllllllllllly tight and planting a noisy kiss on their cheek. This always brings out a smile and melts the ice.
The 11th commandment is the most important – teach your child to respect school, teachers and the education system. After all, when you have entrusted your child’s welfare to a school for the next 12-14 years, it only makes good sense to respect the institution in front of your child.
Even if you feel the need to question any rules or regulations, the better way to deal with it is NOT to discuss in front of our child. Never encourage your child to talk/think against the school. Handle all matters discreetly in confidence with the school authorities. History proves that any action provoked by anger has never won an argument. So learn to draw the fine line between fighting for your child’s rights at school and discussing what is good for your child in the long run. Raise our child in partnership with the school as very rightly explained in the poem below:-
WHOSE CHILD IS THIS?
“Whose child is this?” I asked one day–Seeing a little one out at play–“Mine”, said the parent with a tender smile “Mine to keep a little while–To bathe his hands and comb his hair–To tell him what he is to wear–To prepare him that he may always be good–And each day do the things he should”
“Whose child is this?” I asked again–As the door opened and someone came in–“Mine”, said the teacher with the same tender smile–“Mine, to keep just for a little while–To teach him how to be gentle and kind–To train and direct his dear little mind–To help him live by every rule–And get the best he can from school”
“Whose child is this?” I ask once more–Just as the little one entered the door–“Ours” said the parent and the teacher as they smiled–And each took the hand of the little child–“Ours to love and train together–Ours this blessed task forever.