Feeling love for your child is not enough. Loving a baby, toddler or adolescent through all the stages and phases of childhood requires that a parent expresses his or her love through their loving actions.
Parenting is a lifetime commitment that requires a parent’s energy, demands a lot of work and also calls on parents to rise above their own conditioning and preconceived notions. Once one becomes a parent, they realize very quickly that they cannot be selfish, self-centered or lazy if they want to take care of their child.
Parenting requires continuous efforts and loving actions, even when one is too tired.
Remember,that you are the most important person in your child’s life and how you nurture and guide your child matters. The most important part of parenting is the quality of the relationship between you and your child.
There are ways to show your loving actions, such as:
1.Listen From Your Heart
It is completely different from listening with your ears; it means being genuinely interested, tuned in and eager to hear and not jumping in with your point of view, but listening to your child’s point of view patiently. A child who is upset needs your sensitive attention and your gentle and quiet listening is all that is needed for your child to find his or her own solution.
2. Give Your Presence
The most important gift you can give your child is your time and presence. Giving your child complete attention is much more valuable to a growing mind and is the most satisfying way of being together. Clear your mind, clear your schedule and really be there to give full attention to your child.
Turn off the TV set, your cell phone or computer and just sit together and talk about the day. You must give undivided attention to your child without looking at the phone for messages or doing household chores for at least 30 minutes in a day. It is very important to focus completely on his or her needs.
3. Children Respond to Love and Kindness
Always remember the golden rule and ask yourself “how would I like to be treated or spoken to?” Shouting at children or your spouse creates tension in the air, bad vibes and noise pollution around the house.
Do not label, bully, scream, call names or use threats as children are very sensitive by nature and these actions can lower their self-esteem.
While what you say and the tone of your voice may indicate how you feel, children cannot receive the message a parent is really trying to convey when they see an angry face. Your child will interpret your words and tone as a direct message about his or her self worth.
So please speak gently and respectfully so your child will listen. Remember, every interaction with your child has tremendous potential to hurt or heal, to encourage or discourage. Your simple act of kindness can turn your child’s day around and boost his or her self- confidence.
4. Celebrate Mistakes
Making mistakes is part of the learning process of growing up. We all make mistakes and we all know that success comes from perseverance, practice and trying again and again until we succeed.
It is our attitude towards mistakes that makes the difference in reaching our goals, not the mistakes themselves. Mistakes are the cornerstones on which we build successes.
When we shift the emphasis from trying to avoid mistakes to celebrating the knowledge we gain, our children will remain willing to try again and again.
5. Answer Their Questions
Constant questions are a sign of an intelligent child and not a sign of disrespect. An inquisitive child has a lot of questions and this is how children learn. And if you’re not sure what to answer, just say, “that is a good question.” Then help your child find an answer no matter how tough the question is. Remember that being truthful is always better so your child can trust you.
Children learn their values from watching the adults in their lives. These values are not taught directly but rather absorbed and assimilated from the environment. Remember that you’re teaching your values daily by just living and with your own example.
6. Admit Your Mistakes
Often, we feel that as parents we should set good examples and that admitting mistakes would make us less than perfect. On the contrary, when you admit your mistakes and ask for forgiveness by apologizing, your child will respect your honesty and humility. Your child will see your inner courage and strength. We must do sincere soul-searching and work on ourselves and see if we really need to change our behavior.
7. Act and Not React
This requires a pause button, and deep breathing. Practice breathing, breathe, breathe and think before you act. Nothing is more important than handling our children’s bodies and souls with tender loving care.
When you find yourself coming down hard on your child or when your reaction is out of proportion, take a long deep breath and count to 10 and ask yourself, “why am I feeling this way?”
Sometimes parents are unable or unwilling to deal with their own personal pain and inflict the rage on helpless children.Sometimes parents reach adulthood with some emotional scars of their own, however, staying open to your children’s point of view will give you the opportunity to heal and transform.
8. Empowering Children
We empower children by letting them know that we believe in them and they can accomplish any task once they set their mind and work on it. Yes, at times, they need our guidance and encouragement!
A child who is nurtured to believe in him/herself, and is encouraged to take risks and make decisions will definitely develop a positive self-image. Children whose efforts are continuously reinforced with positive affirmations and respect will most likely develop a strong belief in themselves.
9. Consistent Approach
Although parenting is often the most important aspect of one’s life, it is perhaps the least taught art in our culture. The mere biological capacity to bear children does not qualify us to raise them well.
One thing is for sure, as much as possible, both parents must be on the same page and set age appropriate expectations based upon the child’s developmental stages and personality. Parents must adhere to mutually agreed upon, consistent approaches so that children don’t get confused, rebel or take undue advantage.
We also need to prepare ourselves by reading books on Parenting and Child Development, and interacting with experts and counselors.
10. Enjoy Family Dinner Together
Family dinners are meant to provide nourishment for the body and the soul. Let your dinner time be one of sharing and coming together to help each other by setting up the table, eating together, cleaning up afterwards and loading the dishwasher etc.
Mealtimes should not be an occasion for confrontations or serious discussions. It is better to have simple meals rather than fast food and eating out on weekdays. Let children help and be active participants in family life. Children can also be involved in preparing the meals, and of course age-appropriate chores can be given to them.
Remember, that we at SCMS strongly believe in developing the “whole child “and not just working on their academic development. Parents and teachers must work on their life skills and habit formation skills – by emphasizing an appropriate work ethic, conflict resolution and how to be a team player – in order to be a successful adult.
Isn’t it incredible how quickly children grow? They become quite capable and independent. But remember that they haven’t mastered everything, so be patient and guide them gently, allowing them to learn at their own pace.