This is in continuation from the previous article here.
Sharing some Positive Parenting Skills here in the next article for ‘modern age parents’. These are simple attributes to raise evolved children with a clear social conscience and to have a progressive approach towards life without disturbing the balance of life.
1 Effective Parenting Skills:
Autocratic parenting with a desire to control children’s decision may lead to children rebelling or become a failure due to the fear instilled in their personalities.
On the other hand, helicopter parenting with over involvement in children’s lives not only restricts the overall development of children but also make them unsure of their own choices, resulting in low self-esteem and confused personalities.
Parents need contemporary and effective parenting skills to raise physically, emotionally and mentally strong children.
“Authoritative style” of parenting is suitable for modern age parenting wherein the parents firmly set limits for the children, reason out the demands, make informed choices mutually with the children and provide for their justified needs while making them responsive. Empowerment with defined parenting skills activities can make children self-assured and responsible about their choices.
2 Teach them the value of Right Choices:
Every day we make choices. Whether mundane or life-altering, these choices define us and shape our lives.
Columbia University professor Sheena Iyengar, in her book “ The Art of Choosing”* talks about the complex relationship between choice and freedom, and why one doesn’t always go with the other. Through a series of studies, she showed how too many choices can overwhelm us, leading to unpleasant experiences and indecisiveness in making the right choice.
3 The Dining Table Camaraderie:
Try to have one meal of the day together with children and share moments of the day with your loved ones despite all your engagements.
You will be amazed to see how invigorating conversations on the dining table strengthen your relationship with children. The dining table conversations also provide a platform for children to get a glimpse into the rigamarole of the grown-up the world.
Mealtime together should be gadget free with television and phones switched off, with undivided attention to the children, conversations, and food.
4 Create an Environment of Mutual Trust:
Growing up years are a playground of hits and misses. Children being curious beings, ever eager to gain new experiences may indulge in venturing into unknown avenues. They may make grave mistakes and in case the parents do not show trust in them, they may hide the truth and end up harming themselves.
Mutual trust and respect also mean respecting the boundaries and space of individuals in the family. Set ground rules without compromising their safety and security.
5 Be a Good Listener:
Children are full of stories, of marvels and wonders they experience in the outside world. They go through a moving cycle of joy, friendship, hurt, excitement, conflicts, and heartbreak as part of growing up. There are unresolved emotions they do not how to deal with and are sometimes shy or confused or ashamed to share with the parents.
Listen.Empathise.Help them grow.
6 The Congenial Atmosphere at School:
Children get their conditioning from either home or school, parents, teachers and peer group being the top influencers.
Inculcate virtues of congeniality and cooperation in children, help them concentrate on gaining knowledge and building congenial relationships with educators and other students. These relationships make the founding base for the students to build upon a large network as they grow and move on with higher studies and work.
7 Create a Safe Ecosystem for Children:
The foremost fear new age parents living in nuclear families live with is not having the support system to fall back upon in case of a family exigency. Therefore, it is important to create a safe ecosystem for their children.
Have trusted teachers network at school who you can reach out to in case of an emergency.
Talk to younger children about good touch and bad touch. Teach them how to reach out to emergency services and make their phone numbers accessible to them.
After a certain age, give them a basic mobile phone. The advanced technology can help you track the child’s movements.
8 Teach them Mindfulness:
Teenagers go through a tough time coping with the academic demands and peer pressure. Extreme stress can affect children mentally, physically and emotionally, making them prone to depression, anxiety attacks and in some cases, lead to substance abuse.
Aim at creating a stress-free and peaceful environment at home. Encourage children to have an exercise routine, yoga, and meditation. Practice mindfulness, the art of living in the present moment to cope with the stress. Help children develop Emotional Quotient (EQ) and teach them to manage their emotions.
9 Constructive Criticism:
The aspirational parents sometimes forget that children are “Work In Progress”. They criticise children for slightest of mistakes, making them unsure of their selves, affecting their self-esteem.
Children value their parents’ opinions and feedback. Parents need sensitive and subtle handling of feedback mechanism.
10 Life is all about Experiences:
Life is all about new experiences children gain once they step out of their comfort zones.
Let them explore the wonders of nature, wander around in tough terrains, discover their strengths in outdoor activities. Take them to museums, zoos, historical buildings, busy markets, narrow lanes and experience lives in contrast from theirs.
Every child needs wings to fly and dream on. Give them wings and watch them soar. Make travel bucket lists together, list down the individual and family travel goals to follow during the course of the year. This also makes children feel involved in family affairs and be responsible.
**Look at these children who, with their endless curiosity and tendency to ward off the beaten track engaged in quite a bit of scientific research and exploration. From spotting a supernova to digging up dinosaur bones, the children made these discoveries stepping out of the house.
11 Importance of Participation:
Modern-day educational institutes offer skill development courses and also sports, theatrics, astrology, social activities, arts and music, dance, astronomy, maths olympiads etc. Schools also organize periodic competitions and cultural fares, creating opportunities to volunteer and participate.
Encourage your children to participate in as many activities as they can. Participation would help them to be better team players and also sharpen their social skills and competitive streak.
12 Creating Safer Boundaries:
There is a paucity of time in lives of modern age parents and their children. In their individual quest to stay connected to the outer world and mark their presence of social media, each member of the family turns into an individual silo, neglecting family time.
Look for silent signs of help from children. Tact and diplomacy are crucial to avoid tarnishing the young minds with harsh punishments. Do not casually handle sensitive issues.
An environment of mutual trust and open communication at home will help children not seek answers about growing up issues outside. Involve school or consult a child counselor on sensitive issues if needed.
Create a positive atmosphere in the house, invite their friends. Organise group activities under parental guidance. Meet their parents. This group set also becomes the community support modern age parents need mutually.
Monitor children’s interactions on the internet. Educate them about cybersecurity, pitfalls of the internet and protecting their identity on the internet. Set ground rules. Do not intrude but ensure their cyber safety.
13 Quality Vs. Quantity Time:
Despite the paucity of time, carve out family time. Let children help with household chores. Make them feel valued and appreciated for their value addition.
Board games and activities help develop competencies and focus amongst children.
14 Teach them Empathy, the Power of Giving and Purpose of Life:
The children need to be taught the power of giving and sharing to the less privileged. Help them develop assertive behavior, teach them the power of logic and balanced emotions. Mentor them on life skills on development, survival, and networking.
15 Teach them to Read and Write:
Read small bedtime stories to toddlers in their formative years and encourage them to read as they grow up. Many schools have good reading programs, encourage participation. Get them access to local and online libraries. Take them to book fairs, let them interact with authors and other readers. Help them develop unbiased and uninfluenced opinions on pertinent issues relevant to the society.
Encourage children to maintain a journal. Let their minds wander into an imaginative world to create a story. Getting bored at times is a boon for children.
A study conducted by Gasper and Middlewood of Penn State University suggests that boredom boosts creativity.***
16 Develop Competencies:
Help your child develop these core competencies through parenting skills activities which would help them to do well in life.
-Use of language and symbols
-Interpersonal relationship management
-Community involvement and sharing
17 Do unto Others What as you would have to do unto You:
Children mirror who reflect their parents’ habits, behavior, conduct, and shortcomings in their own actions. The new age parents need to be a role model for their children through their own conduct, ideology, and behavior.
My best wishes.
* Sheena Iyengar “The Art of Choosing”, Published 2010. Abacus.
This commissioned article was published first time here a few months back. Reproduced on the blog with permission.
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