When asked what attributes they want to see in their child, almost all parents would list the following: happy, healthy, sincere, truthful, hardworking, respectful, compassionate, intelligent, etc. But in reality if we look around how many children do we find having these qualities? The answer is not very encouraging. Let us examine the reasons for this paradox. Parenting has a big role to play in this context.
Does parenting have a role before the birth of a child?
This seems to be enigmatic. But the truth is that parenting begins when the child is taking shape in the mother’s womb. During this stage the soul is gradually acquiring the body form. Since it is body less, its catching power is very strong. It catches all the thoughts, vibrations and feelings of the mother. In the light of this it is imperative that the thoughts of the mother-to-be, should have all the attributes she wants to see in her child. There should be no thoughts of anger, hatred, jealousy, criticism, or violence. She has to be very careful what she reads, talks, listens or even sees. The father to be also has a big responsibility in supporting and cooperating with his wife to maintain peace and harmony.
Parenting during infancy
These are the formative years of a child when his mind is like a blotting paper, which has a lot of absorbing capacity. Whatever the parents, family members speak or do in front of the baby, it has a deep impact on his mind. He may not understand the language, but he imbibes the intentions, being a powerful soul. The overburdened lifestyle and advent of nuclear families, forces many parents to entrust their loved ones to crèches and nanny’s. This may harm the child.
Parenting during childhood.
“A child can teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires.” – Paulo Coelho
During childhood the basics of one’s personality are shaped. If he is criticized, ridiculed, scolded by his parents, family members or teachers, then he will develop an inferiority complex. It is imperative that parents find ways to appreciate, encourage and uplift the child so as to empower him. It should be realized that the child is a unique soul, so it would be unfair to compare with any other child. If both the parents are good swimmers, it is not necessary that their child will be a good swimmer.You never know he may have been drowned to death in his earlier birth, which has caused hydrophobia in him.
Parenting during adolescence.
“If you want your children to improve, let them overhear the nice things you say about them to others.” – Haim Ginott
This is the most crucial period of development, when the parents need to be well informed, aware and must be prepared to give sufficient time to their kids. It is counterproductive to flood the house with expensive toys, amenities, and gadgets in lieu of spending time with him.
“Your children need your presence more than your presents.”-Jesse Jackson
Children are eager to share each and every incident of the day with their parents, but they shun them away on the pretext that they are tired or don’t have time. This forces the child to find people outside who not only listen to him but also appreciate him. Suddenly, when the parent finds that the child has done something wrong, he is scolded and punished. This widens the rift between them. Even when he is caught in a difficult situation he does not have the confidence to confide in his parents, but depends on his friends.
If a child fails in an examination, the parents scold and sometimes beat him. This is detrimental and should be avoided. This is the time when the child needs understanding and support rather than rejection and reprimand.
“Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.” – Robert Fulghum
A child does not do what his parents tell him to do, but does what he sees them doing. So parents would do well to practice what they preach. Parents should not force their ambitions on the child, rather give them the freedom to choose careers according to their aptitude and interest. There is boundless energy in adolescents. Parents would do well to help them to channelize that energy in constructive ventures. The importance of healthy lifestyle and adherence to values should be imbibed during this stage.
Parenting for youth
When your child crosses teenage, it is better to treat him like a friend. This is a stage of life when one feels overconfident, and is averse to follow guidance. Never repeat the incidents of your yesteryears in front of him .They will put him off, instead of impressing him. It is better for parents to listen to him with patience, appreciate his genuinely better qualities and then tell in a suggestive way that if he gets over his weakness he will do wonders. If all these years the parents have played their role well, they will have a worthy son, whom they can be proud of.
It is said” Life is a continuous learning process.” We become parents without even knowing that any skills are required.
“Before I got married I had six theories about raising children; now, I have six children and no theories.” – John Wilmot
We start treating our children ,mostly as our parents treated us. In this age of growing awareness parents would do well to keep themselves abreast of the latest in the arena of parenting ,so that they can give the best to their children.
(NB: The pronoun ‘he‘used in the above is inclusive of both genders.)