Being a Good Parent (Part 2)

Article by: Miss Putri Anggraeni

Is what every parent strives to do. The journey is full of challenges, but we are here to help and support.

I am your parent.
You are my child.
I am your quiet place.
You are my wild.
I am your calm face.
You are my giggle.
I am your wait.
You are my wiggle.
I am your dinner.
You are my chocolate cake.
I am your bed time.
You are my wide awake.
I am your lullaby.
You are my peek-a-boo.
I am your good night kiss.
You are my I Love You.

— Anonymous

We continue on to discuss the various parenting issues (read part one here) that we may encounter with our child on the day-to-day basis.

1. Getting things done on-time.
Fostering the habit of getting their chores/responsibilities done on-time is helpful in your child’s character development. During the child’s development, it is common for the child to do their daily routine slower than our expectation. For example, they tend to dawdle over breakfast, shower, dressing up and so on. It tends to get to us in the mornings when we are pressed for time. This tends to cause us to yell to the child “You will be so late!” or “Why can’t you do it faster?” and etc. It is the common “morning naggings” that most of us can relate to, even during our childhood. It does feel like they are testing our tolerance limits but the truth is, they do not fully understand why is there a need to hurry. Therefore a good solution to solve this is to lead and ask them open-ended questions such as “Do you have any problem waking up early in the morning?” or “Can we get ready faster together tomorrow? Let’s see if we can do it or not.” Asking these questions shows that you are on the same side as your child, trying to make the day better for the both of you. On the other hand, yelling to your child put your position as someone on the opposite side. Not to mention that the words uttered when we yell can be stressful and it may work negatively towards getting things done on time.

2. Comparing our child’s achievement(s) with others
Being parents, any achievements of our child gives us immense pride and happiness. In order to instigate the spirit of competition in the child, we often to compare our child to others. It is sometimes done out of convenience, as it is the common way to ascertain the performance of your child, whether their achievement is “normal”, “better” or “excellent”. While we do not have any ill intention towards our child when we compare them with others, we should be mindful because unknowingly, these verbal statements often do more harm than good. One negative effect that may result is the increasing stress level, such that your child may feel burdened, anxious and constantly pressurised to perform. Constant comparisons ever time may also lower the self-esteem and self-worth of your child. They may just one day believe that others are better than him/her and he/she is not capable of doing well or worst, live up to the expectations of mum/dad. As parents, we have to remember that no two children are the same and they have unique talents, interests, they develop at different rates and they have different strengths. Strictly speaking, parents who constantly compare may build (if they are lucky) or break the self-esteem and confidence of their child. Instead of comparing, why not celebrate their improvements over their previous attempts? 

3. Giving praise
Psychologists Jennifer Henderlong Corpus and Mark Lepper reported that praise can be a powerful motivating force in your child if you follow the following guidelines: we are sincere with our praise,  praising for traits that they can change, be using words that convey realistic and achievable standards, encourage them to master a skill and not comparing them and not praising them for things that come too easily for them. Toddlers, in general, will benefit a lot from praises that encourage them to explore on their own. Older children, on the other hand, are more sophisticated and may interpret your praise negatively. As children grow older, they become more aware of any possible motives for praising them. If they detect that you are insincere in your praise, it may be damaging. Older children might think you feel sorry for them or that you are trying to be manipulative. Insincere praise might also send the message that you do not really understand your child. We should strive the give just enough praise to encourage and empower our child but not to the point that it becomes insincere and worthless.

4. Expecting perfection
Our society has unfortunately been obsessed with the idea of flawlessness or perfection. This unhealthy obsession can lead to the erosion of self-worth, self-esteem and confidence in the child. We often hear about parents who constantly hover over their children to ensure that they are doing what they “should” be doing, not knowing that their perfectionist mindset will have a negative effect on their child. Children living with perfectionist parents often heard to have diminished confidence because they are afraid that it will lower other people’s impression of them and makes them feel pathetic. Also, a parent’s perfectionist attitude also sets up children for a lifetime of inadequacy. The feeling of guilt for not achieving the perfect score or getting the gold medal appear so naturally to these children, which cannot be good for their development. Besides, it may also encourage unhealthy competition among the children and make them develop selfishness. Therefore we must not forget what we have discussed before: no two children are the same and they have unique talents, interests, they develop at different rates and they have different strengths. As parents, we have to teach our children to embrace imperfections, mistakes and benefit from it by learning from the experience.

5. Show that you care
This is sometimes overlooked as children grow older. As children grow mature, they tend to be more independent and sometimes with our own busy schedule, we tend to overlook the fact that we should spend the time to reconnect and show our children that we care about them. We must not forget that Children need lots of love, compassion, affection, understanding and a strong sense of security. The most important gift you can give to your child is that to show that you are there for them. When listening to your child, give them your full attention. Put down the phone, the laptop, the remote, and look at your child, take notice of them, hear their stories, ask questions, show interest, encourage them to talk about themselves, what they like and really listen.

6. Accepting who we are
Some children especially teenagers tend to think deeply about their physical appearance and their weight.  Sometimes it affects them too much such that it affects their self-worth and confidence. This is the reason why it is important to start with a positive habit of acceptance at home. Acceptance is a daily value that is an important characteristic of who we are, it is a fundamental core value.  Acceptance of others and teaching our children acceptance starts with us because as a parent we are most influential human being in our child’s life. At the core, we should love who we are unconditionally.

So there you are, some tips that may be useful for you in building that special connection and relationship with your children. Hope it is useful!

 

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