Parenting shapes a child’s life. The values ingrained in a child’s mind from the very start by the parent prove to be beneficial in the long run. Most of the time parents are the role models of their children. Thus, building the roots of good values is important from the very beginning. Being an attentive parent means to cater to all the emotional and psychological needs of the child. Parents must be open and aware of the psychological and emotional problems that a child can face at a particular age. For example, if a child is acting in a hyperactive manner then concluding that it is in his/her nature or holding the genes responsible may not be the correct way, and considering the possibility of ADHD (Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) and opting for professional help may be required. So how can a parent in this time of unending work, where one is supporting the family by working and meeting deadlines, can give attention to their child?
The answer is to maintain a work-life balance. Children require attention and they love it when someone is catering to their needs as it makes them feel loved and they learn to reciprocate. Instead of leaving them solely with helpers or trying to keep them busy with television, parents must try to spend some quality time with their kids every day and have at least one meal together to build a stronger bond. Leaving them all by themselves or only with domestic help or nannies hinders their mental and emotional growth and they become vulnerable and might start to think that their parents do not care for them and start keeping things to themselves. This will eventually lead to them growing up thinking that they can’t share anything with anyone. If we try to think from a child’s perspective, they do not understand how for some people, work is their passion while for others meeting deadlines is the way to earn livelihood.
Some ways through which parents can be more attentive are:
1) Try to cater to their needs – If possible, do not ignore your child’s needs, especially the emotional kind. It may seem a trivial issue to you but to the child, it can mean the world and your little advice can transform their day. Ask them how their day was. Make the communication about them.
2) Make them believe that you have their back- In case it is not possible to always listen to their issues,because let’s be honest, work does take up a lot of our time, try to make them understand the reason for that and assure them that no matter what happens you will always have their back.
3) Distinguish between right and wrong- Explain them about what is right and wrong, and that even if you have their back everything will have a repercussion of its own and there are limits to what one can control. Teach them how to evaluate a situation and react accordingly.
4) Know you child- Devote time to your child and his/her needs. Strike a balance between work life and personal life, and try to talk to your children and learn about their day. Just by talking, you are assuring that if anything is bothering them, talking to you about it is the foremost thing to do.
5) Don’t ignore the cry for help- Sometimes a child doesn’t talk openly about an issue, so as a parent if you see any changes or any anxiety related problem, take the hint, help your child and try to resolve the issue. If you realise that talking it out isn’t helping, seek professional help.
6) Explain the possibilities- The world has both good and bad people, and the knowledge of that must be imparted to the child from an early age. The child should be educated about one, basic safety rules and two, rules of safety against bullying and sexual harassment.
7) Inculcate a daily family routine- Having a family routine is very important such as having a no gadget dinner, or a bedtime book reading session, etc. These will provide the child the time and space to open up to their parents.
8) No comparisons- Comparing your children with others even with their own siblings can pose a deep impact on their minds as they start to think that they are good for nothing from an early age which has a major impact on their overall development. Teach them to be the best version of themselves without drawing comparisons.
9) Let them be independent- Catering to their needs means to guide them towards the right path and not to do everything for them. They should be aware that they have to do their own work eventually and inculcating small habits such as making their own bed or keeping their utensils in the sink, etc. can bring major differences and can prepare them for life in general.
10) Let them make their own mistakes- Parents should not over interfere in the child’s life as it can push the child away from them. Further, a child should be allowed to make mistakes and face the consequences and should be motivated to stand up and try again.
Lastly, home is the first school of a child and parents are the first teachers. Parents should motivate, listen and give advice to their children but at the same time they should give them their own space to grow, develop, make mistakes and learn. Let them see the world with their own beautiful eyes.
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