Raising a child is one of the most fulfilling and satisfying experiences in the world. However, it is also among some of the most difficult jobs. As good parents, you strive to make decisions in the best interest of your child. However, to see your child grow into an individual who respects and reflects the values you’ve endeavored to instill in him or her, requires a lot of commitment and dedication on your part and incorporating a judicious mix of important elements such as love, forgiveness, compassion, discipline and, most importantly, leading by example in your daily conduct and interactions. Remember, no one is perfect—neither a good parent nor a good child and we should always keep this in mind when we set our expectations. However, at the same time, we should keep working around our ultimate goal of raising a good human being who can contribute positively and meaningfully to the world. Here are some Do’s and Don’ts for effective parenting to raise a well-rounded child:
Love is the answer to everything. Some parents think that loving their child too much would spoil him/her. Now that’s a myth. It is how you interpret and equate love with, is what makes the major difference. Being lenient, expecting less, being overprotective and allowing undue material indulgence in the name of love contributes most to spoiling the child. Love does not have to be ostentatious. Simple acts like hugging, spending quality time with your child, and being sensitive and responsive to your child’s needs can go a long way in reassuring your child of your love. As these acts release feel-good hormones like oxytocin, prolactin, and opioids, they bring tranquility and emotional warmth to the child and help him/her develop resilience and a feeling of self worth.
Modeling means teaching the child by example or making him/her learn by observing others. Parents can use modeling as a strategy to influence their child positively. So it is important that before setting high standards for your child, you have set those for yourself. Parents serve as the most influential role model to the child. Human brain contains mirror neurons (nerve cells) which become extremely active when we observe something. Therefore, it is pertinent for you as a parent to model behavior that you wish your child to learn.
Appreciation refers to demonstrating approval. It plays an important role, when done systematically, in shaping your child’s personality and conduct. It also helps develop self-confidence in your child and helps him/her discern right from wrong. In parent-child relationship, this translates as care, concern, respect, fair treatment and courtesy and prevents the child from feeling neglected. Appreciate your child enthusiastically and effusively to make it more effective and reinforce good behavior. Praise should always be exact, clearly stated, and immediate, following the desired behavior. However, as a sensible parent you should avoid inane praise.
We need to understand that discipline is something you do for a child. Discipline is neither punishment nor unpleasant. It is a positive learning experience that sets behavioral limits and guidelines to lead the child to and through adulthood. The idea is to allow the child to progress from parental discipline to self-discipline. Remember, a child who has not been disciplined with love by his parent will be disciplined, generally without love, by the world.
Always temper discipline with love and logic to make it more effective and let your child perceive it as positive, loving, gentle guidance. Don’t forget, discipline is a positive thing and one of the most important tools that you can ever give to your child for his future success and happiness.
Communication is very important for parent-child relationship and it becomes even more critical as the child grows. A healthy communication with your child lets you build his/her self-esteem and strengthen the relation between both of you which makes parenting job a little easier. However, you must not expect your children to confide in you just like that. You have to make constant efforts to keep the communication channel open between you and your child early on, and give him/her the confidence to speak his/her mind in front of you. Begin with sharing your own thoughts with your child so that he/she too can learn to share his/her with you.
- Safe Haven
Being a safe haven for the child is an indispensable aspect of good parenting. We all need safe place, to flourish and your child is no exception. Your child should always be sure that and you will always be there for him/her as pillars of support even when times are rough. Support and accept your child as an individual and be consistently responsive to his/her needs. Let your child explore the world and receive his/her mistakes with patience and grace, to allow him/her to learn from those mistakes.
- Spend quality time
The importance of spending quality time with children cannot be stressed enough. In this fast-paced world, you must make space for your child, and assure him/her that you care about him/her. Spend as much time with your child as possible. It would be an opportunity to bond with your child and get to know him/her better. Time is a precious commodity and you should spend it on your most precious possession. Be with your child to learn new things about him/her, and the quirky events in his/her lives.
- Do not yell
If you yell at your child, it will make him/her disregard the message and discipline will be even harder because each time you raise your voice, his/her receptivity lowers down. Besides, it will be a bad influence on the child too, who will do what he/she sees you doing. Use logical reasoning to get through to your child.
- Use positives instead of negatives
Parents seldom realize that while telling their child to behave they are actually (unintentionally) telling him/her the exact opposite. The problem lies with the words used. For positive results, you should use encouraging positive words in place of negative ones. For instance, instead of “don’t do this” or “don’t shout,” use positive words like “do this” or “speak softly.” This works on the same principle as telling your mind “do not think about a peacock” only to find that you have rather started thinking about a peacock. You will notice a significant difference in your child’s behavior once you replace the negatives with positives.