There is no one right way to be a good parent. It is a skill you learn on the job, and often, you are not prepared for what comes your way. With friends, family and sometimes even strangers telling you the right way to parent, it can get confusing and overwhelming. However, the end goal is the same. It is to raise the children into responsible, kind and disciplined adults in the safest way possible.
With parenting, there is no manual or a list of commandments. However, with more children suffering from frustration, depression, behavioral issues, and anxiety, we have compiled important no-nos’ for parents. Here are five things to avoid while you take on the astronomical task of parenting:
1. Overworking your children –All parents want their children to succeed but pushing them over the brink can cause them to snap. With school work, extracurricular activities, sports and all the activities you push them to, their little minds get too cluttered and full. It can cause your children to begin experiencing stress, anxiety, disrupted sleep cycles and even give up quickly. It has also caused an increasing number of parents to frantically search for spinal alignment products. While all the activities can look good on their college application, take into account the pressure, you are putting them under. Coupled with peer pressures, stressful elements like bullying and demands from home, your children can be easily driven to depression.
Solution – Talk to your kids every day about the events at school. Lending a compassionate ear to their troubles can prevent unfavorable outcomes. Accept the fact that you might be putting more pressure on them than you should and change your ways.
2. Criticizing and comparing – Everyone makes mistakes, including our children. Expecting your child to be and act a certain way is unrealistic. Think about the times you rebelled as a child! Comparing your kid to your neighbours or the brightest student in the class will only put a hamper to their spirits. Encouragement and uplifting words go a long way. It also creates a safe space for them to talk to you. Criticizing your child, especially after they have tried hard, can cause them to quit that activity.
Solution – Find the strength within you to match your expectations to their actions. Having unrealistic expectations from your child is absolutely unfair to them. Try to understand the activities they excel at and encourage them to do better. Using positive words and affirmations is a huge part of parental communication.
3. No parenting post bedtime –Parenting is a full-time job, and that goes past their bedtime. Children are prone to insomnia, stress, depression and so on that can affect the quality of sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to a reduced ability to learn and memorize, irritability, distracted tendencies, and increased anxiety. If your child is suffering from lack of sleep, it is important to understand the problem. A problem like a bad mattress can be resolved by proper mattress education. However, if the problem goes deeper, it needs a non-judgmental, empathetic parent to recognise what needs to be done.
Solution – Your child might not comprehend the need for eight hours of dreamy sleep or ask questions like ‘what time should I wake up’ but you must. Sleep is important for the mental and physical development of your child, so, take all steps to ensure they receive the appropriate amount. Knowing things like best sleeping positions and sleep cycles is an important part of being a parent. Investing in quality bedroom sets like a metal bed frame and bedroom area rugs is vital to creating a safe, comfortable space for your child.
4. Wrong answers instead of research– Parents don’t always have all the answers. However, in this age of information, you can try. A quick internet search can give you the right answer to almost everything. What is the best flu remedy? What if my child is too stressed out? What are the best activities for relaxation? How long should a nap be? You can get your answers from the experts. You can also take precautions to safeguard your child from illnesses like depression, injuries, and effects of bullying.
Solution – Never assume you know all the answers. You can be wrong too. Find what the experts have to say and protect your child well. You can also find communities of parents who are going through the same struggle as you are.
5. Contradict your words from your actions– Practise as you preach. This is an age-old adage that basically means to walk the talk. Your children learn from your actions more than your words. If you want them to read more, you pick up a book. If you want them to be more kind, look at your own words. All around the world, people are summoning kindness in actions. However, our children also see the amount of hate and anger in the actions of everyone around them.
Solution – Show your children through your actions how to be better individuals. Allow them to think and act for themselves but setting a good example can go a long way. There is a huge tendency to be hypocrites among all of us. Take conscious efforts to show your children how they can improve.
The minds of children are always developing, be it day or night. They feel emotions in magnitude, stress out for what we would consider frivolous things and think in extreme ways. It is up to parents to stand by them, teach them right from wrong and be a good example.
Violence, anger, and pain are emotions we try to keep away from our children. However, protecting them with compassion, kindness and aiding them in their holistic development is the number one job as parents. Often, as parents, we can get caught up in petty matters and forget the fact that our children are watching and learning. Unnecessary inculcation of competition and frequent exposure to failure can remove their drive and crush their spirits.
As with most things, parenting should come from a good place. Our children are individuals and have their own strengths, dreams, and desires. Honing their strong suits and letting them develop in their own time is an important part of being a parent. This also allows them to grow up to be independent individuals with strong characters.