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Tips for parents

Updated on September 30, 2010

Who we are today was determined by a lot of factors in our childhood past. Things that influenced us like our neighborhood, our friends, the books we read, what we saw on TV, teachers etc. But the most important factor, that governs who a child grows up to become are - the PARENTS. You notice how most abusive parents have kids who grow up to be abusive or how conservative families produce conservative kids. 90% of the memes, a child gets, are from the parents and they predominantly determine his/her character for the rest of his/her life. Trust me, trying to undo some of the things I picked up from my parents, consciously or unconsciously, is enough to drive a psychiatrist to the psychiatrist. That’s why it’s so important, that the moms and dads of present become great parents, so that their kids turn out great. Here are a few keys to become a better parent:

1) GIVE UNCONDITIONAL LOVE AND CARE: Most parents behave with their kids in a way that develops a pattern of "be good and only then will you get love". For example, if I didn't get good grades, my parents wouldn't talk to me very nicely. There tone would be of condescension and demeaning. But if I got good grades, they'd praise about me to all their friends. Or when I made a boo boo, they'd get impatient and call me stupid, but if everything went prefect, they'd give me a reward. What this does is setup a link in the child’s mind that if I behave, only then my parents are going to love me. If I make a mistake, there going to take that love away. This kind of thinking, can lead to a lot of insecurity and intimacy problems later on in the psych of the child. Parents should give their child UNCONDITIONAL LOVE; it doesn't matter if they make a mistake. As a parent you should be the one to say “its okay kiddo, I'm here, I'll keep you safe. Pick yourself up and shrug off the mistake. No matter what happens, I’m here for you."

2) DISCIPLINE THE CHILD:As an adult now, I realize how important discipline has been in my life and I am thankful to my parents for having imbibed that into me. What comes into peoples mind when they think of discipline is The Army, and some cranky, rough tough marine sergeant demanding 200 pushups from his cadets. That’s not what I'm talking about. Discipline means tempering the child, teaching emotional endurance and strength to fight off natural cravings. Getting up late, eating too many chocolates, delaying studies till exam day, inconsiderate and excessive spending are just a few of the signs of lack of discipline. Pampering is one of the main catalyst of indiscipline.

Initially it may be tough to discipline the child, but soon the rhythm builds up. The main 2 way to build up discipline is through:

(A): Start a habit pattern for the child. Something worth developing. It takes 21 days for a habit to be ingrained into the subconscious, so whatever you want to make a habit, start with it and then add something fun to do after it, so that the child is motivated to follow through. Here are some examples - Get up early and go to play sports together. The child learns to get up early and gets to have fun in the sports after it. The main objective is achieved. Another one is asking the child to finish all the homework or daily studies and then his/her favorite meal will be prepared. Be creative, there are a tons of ways to combine the two steps.

(B): Simply deny the demand of the child, which is only a luxury. In cases like over excessive eating, shopping, inconsiderate demands by the kids, parents should be firm and say NO. No need to snarl or hiss, a simple "no son, let's do this instead...I'm sure you'll have more fun" will suffice. It may be a little cruel, but that’s what tough love is, and in certain cases, parents have to put there foot down. They may whine a bit, but kids are very curious and will forget about it in a short time. If there teens, they might stop talking to you, but a little one-on-one chat explaining the situation will clear it all up.

These methods are sure to help a child develop good discipline and willpower to handle the tougher challenges in life, and parents would do well to make a point to educate their kids with this Powerful skill.

3) NEVER BE VIOLENT OR CALL THEM HARSH NAMES: Kids can be a pain sometimes. Always playing around, sometimes agitating, sometimes breaking things, sometimes not listening to their parents. These are the times when the parents bubble bursts and they vent out their anger on the kids. It is important then to remember that children are a blessing and you were once like that too. As a parent, you are required to be the responsible one and handle the situation by being mature and not sinking to the low level of hitting them or calling them "stupid, dumb, idiots..." to get them to stop misbehaving. Explain to them the consequences of their action, if they understand, well and good. But if there still not at that level of maturity, parents must utilize discipline style B and be firm and put their foot down. A way to improvise on punishment is by assigning the child, daily chores for a week. Something like cleaning the car, dishes, cutting the grass etc. Raising your hand at them or other types of physical or emotional attacks is going to only affect their self confidence, esteem in the long run. Think about that the next time...

4) MAKE THEM ALL ROUNDERS: children have the potential to be anything they can imagine when they grow up, as a parent you have the duty to help them on their path. The best way to do that is to expose and encourage them to be all that they can be. Bring a variety of books for them to read, teach them art, music, literature. Don’t just make them study bugs, Give them food for thought. Nudge them in the direction of sports, poetry, dancing and other extra curricular activities. They will love you for it in the future. Show them the wonders of this life. It will enhance their character and get more synapses to spark then the 4th July fireworks show. Don't impose only studies on the child. Let him/her GROW and expand.

5) APPRECIATE AND ACKNOWLDGE THE CHILDS EFFORTS: You have to show your child that it doesn't matter if they failed at something. What truly matters is that they gave it their best. Everyone knows that only the PERSISTENT succeed. So by acknowledging their attempt, you are motivating them to improve and keep on trying. Eventually they will succeed. I remember that once, as a child, I tried to sing a song for a crowd and fumbled it up midway. Boy was I embarrassed and discouraged to ever sing again. But then my mom said to me “You did great baby. Only those who are the best get to be up on that stage, and you were one of them. Keep practicing and you'll be Number 1" I won't ever forget those lines. It gave me support and the drive to practice and comeback next year to win the 1st prize in that competition. Thanks a lot mom. Be the fuel for you're child's ambitions and dreams. Keep refilling their tank of inspiration when it's running dry.

6) BE THE CHANGE YOU WISH TO SEE: These were the words spoken by the greatest promoter of peace and non violence in the world- Mahatma Gandhi. What this implies is that, parents should try to be like the character they wish their child to develop. Children emulate their parents all the time. SO become someone worthy of being emulated. Let you're child see you and wish to be like you. Become greater than great and your child will become great as well. Be someone whom your child can idolize and grow towards becoming.

Parents are the guide's that children have into this life. Thus its of utmost important that as care takers of the future generations, they should take it upon themselves the responsibility to polish each child to his/her potential and support them to make the most of their talents.

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