Well, I had intended to do this round up and assessment before the session on Parenting this year. And in a single post! But the first two points, EQ and Consistent Parenting, made one post each 🙂 I’m hoping I’ll cover the rest here.
Be a role model – children are completely aware of their surroundings.They may not listen to your words but they sure listen to your body language. And beware ‘children do not do what you SAY…they do what you DO’
Ever noticed children’s mannerisms? They look cute doing what they do! And any resemblance to either of the parents or anyone in the family… everyone goes ooh..aah 🙂 So cute… so sweeeeet… so on. Its but natural! But what when the child shows some behavior that is not so nice… not so acceptable, and we go… ‘where do they learn such stuff from?‘. For most things, we need to just look within and we’ll know the answer! No doubt, kids will learn many things from outside the home. But the most basic stuff, they learn at home… in the initial years!!
And the experience was the same for me too. I was shocked when Ammu did the not-so-nice things. I realized, though a bit late, that I’ve been the role model. She is just like me at such times. Like, the way I yell at someone, or say defensively ‘Yes.. I’m like that only!’ My perspective… ‘I have been an obedient kind of child. Did not yell at my parents. Mostly complied to the ways they set for us. Now, I’m old enough to sometimes yell at people, to vent my ire, to expect younger sisters and dad to listen to me at times!, etc…‘ which seemed fair. Not a big deal I thought!
But how is she to know the difference? That, it is not OK to yell back at granpa or anyone for that matter. That, you cant say ‘Yes.. I’m like that only!‘ for everything. That, the context is not the same… for me and for her. I have accepted this and am working on myself at least to some extent. It seemed impossible to change my nature or my behaviour that has shaped up over so many years! But, I’m trying. Trying in the hope that I’ll be a good role model to her, may not be a perfect one though 🙂 And, for the damage that is already done, I hope she’ll learn to unlearn those things… in due course. I sincerely hope that I’m right!!
Keep your word, if it is not not possible then do not make promises in the first place!
This is one golden rule which goes a long way in securing the trust from your child. I have not been 100% successful in implementing this. There are times when I say something or promise something but am not able to fulfill the promise because of some unexpected situation. Happens. But I see to it that it doesn’t happen often. Because she is quick to sense such things and has even said once ‘You say it but I know you wont do it‘. So I’m on my guard. I think before making any promise. And I try and explain to her whenever I’m unable to do something as promised! And thankfully, she understands 🙂
Make children understand the value of things they have access to; never give into their whims and fancies just to save face.
This is one touchy topic and I can go wide and long with it 🙂 But suffice it to say that I try very very much to adhere to this. I don’t like it even when my dad and sisters and their husbands indulge her too much. In fact I tell them so! One such point I have mentioned previously also. And believe me, most stuff in her wardrobe and book shelf is due to their combined contribution 🙂 I know that she has got lot of stuff even before she has asked for it. But I make it a point to make her realize, whenever possible, just how blessed she is!! and that she needs to value all that she has got and be thankful to God for all this!!
Many parents may feel that this is too early an age for all this. But for me, it is the way of life… value the things that you have. The tangible ones as well as the intangible ones! And I love to keep this dialog going… between me and her 🙂 This does not mean that she doesn’t make any demands! But she knows what to expect from mamma. Probably that is the reason she doesnt throw tantrums in a mall or any shopping place!!
Here’s a secret… one time you give in to their unreasonable demands and they’ve got you!! So be firm and put your feet down when you feel the kid is being unreasonable. Do not try to accommodate ‘just this one time’ to avoid the tantrum! It will prove to be costly!!
Don’t be guilty if you are not able to a spend lot of time with them and never splurge on them out of a guilty consciousness, but make sure you spend QUALITY time with them whenever it is possible.
I used to feel guilty and even now, I do when I end up going home late in spite of not having much work at the office. But I don’t remember having ever splurged on Ammu out of guilty consciousness. Instead, we have our own unique konjifying* time. Ammu actually says ‘I feel like konjifying you mamma‘ 🙂 It takes just a few minutes… we hug… we roll over on the bed … we giggle some 😀 Thats all it takes. And it is so gratifying! more than any toy or any gift can ever make you feel!! and then she goes off happily to do her own thing 🙂
As for ‘quality time’ vs ‘quantity time’. I’m not so sure. I feel there needs to be a balance between the two. ‘Quality time’ all the time is not very feasible I guess. Meaning I cant be involved with all that she does every waking moment that I’m at home. And she also does not expect that from me. Ammu tells me whenever she wants me to be with her or do something with her. Sometimes she just wants me to be in the same room as her. I sit beside her and read something…maybe the newspaper or a magazine. Other times I do stuff like cutting the vegetables, with her doing her drawing or writing. Most other times she lets me do my thing. And if i’m taking too much of time in the kitchen or even in the bathroom, she comes asking me what I’m upto 😀 I’m always on her mind!! And then we talk a bit, exchange some jappis or ummas 🙂 Again get back to what we were doing.
When Adi is with us, my involvement needs to be near about 100%. You never know what the two are upto. One moment they are playing happily and next you can hear a scream!! I try to just observe them when they are busy with something. Love the excitement in their eyes, eager to tell me what it is that they are doing 🙂 I realize that the kids just need us to be around and to feel that we care about what they are doing!!
Negatives put them off…DON’T, NO, NOT THAT, etc are words that parents use without discretion, in an effort to teach children the right things..Whenever possible try to use positives, or else, after the negative…explain why…in words or figuratively…why not to do a certain thing….even a small baby can comprehend expressions..if not words
This is the most difficult part. For me at least. I have tried the suggestion of using positives and offering explanations. But there are certain things that Ammu will do no matter what I tell. Out of curiosity maybe or due to habit. It gets exasperating for me, many a times 😦 I dislike the fact that she does it even though she understands why I tell her not to do a certain thing. Dad says… ‘just wait for some more time’ I wonder!!
Adi tries to get his share of fun by doing such things and then looking up to see if we are watching. Like touching the switches, which is a favorite among kids. The more we tell him that it is dangerous to fiddle with electric switches and gadgets, the more curious he is to explore them!! I really really don’t know if children will not do certain things just by knowing the consequence of their actions. Maybe I’m not doing it correctly 😦 But yes… I try as much as I can to avoid negatives. Perhaps, I’ll see the results only in the long run. For now, I just want that the kids dont run into trouble trying to do stuff that is not suited for them. Any pointers that will help me on this one, are most welcome!!!
Phew! I’m done with this exercise. Overall,I think we’re doing pretty good for now 😀 But I need to work much more on the role model bit.
Konjify* – from konjum, a tamil word meaning ‘to pamper with love’. Am I right Ums?
P.S: The points I have mentioned here and in the previous posts are from a workshop on Parenting skills by Dr Ali Khwaja. And this is an assessment of how we’ve fared in the past year, with respect to these points.