Parenting Skills

Aton Lunghar *

"Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn" Benjamin Franklin

Parenting is the process of raising a child from childhood to adulthood. We must all suffer one of two things: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret or disappointment. There is no greater joy and happiness for every parent in life than to have raised up his child obedient. Parent-child relationship at home and outside depends on parents' style of raising their child/children. As parents your priority is your child. Hence arises the importance of parenting skills.

Children aren't a distraction from your important work. They are the most important work. The parent-child relationship is a continuous teaching and learning experience for parents as well as children. Kids go where there is excitement. They stay where there is love. Therefore bring up your child in love. Does your child long to come back home when he goes out? If not, ask yourself what is lacking in your parenting.

Today there are many parents who are providing themselves unworthy of being parents. They do not seem to bother at all about their children who are growing like the wayside plants. Nobody waters them. But they need manual supply for their growth. Today's parents do not seem to be willing to spend their time for their children. Parents, not only that your children do not belong to you, but even your own life is not yours. Though you begot your child, he can't be likened to your property to do whatever you want.

You aren't the owner of your child, but you are only a manager/steward. Parents are role models of the children. It is a fact that every day we deposit in the memory banks of our children something good or bad depending on our dealing with them. Your children become what you are, so be what you want them to be. Children listen to you not through their ears but through their eyes.

According to an optometrist, eighty percent of everything children learn in their first 12 years is through their eyes. Don't worry that children never listen to you, worry that they are always watching you. Children have never been good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them. Parents should therefore teach their children not only by what they say, but also by what they do. Therefore every parent needs to ask himself what am I teaching my children by what I do. The way you live is more important than the words you use.

Let's remember ever and forget never that our children are watching us and storing in their memory ever word we utter and every deed we do. Children are keen observant and therefore they will recognize the discrepancy between what you say and what you do. Parents' parenting nature should always follow the principle of "Do as I do, but not do as I say." For if our deeds are different from our words, we'll lose our credibility and respect. We've to make sure that our deeds conform to our words. In other words our words and deeds are to be in perfect conformity. Every child wishes that his parents maintain perfect congruency between what they say and what they do.

If you want your child to walk the righteous path, do not merely point the way, lead the way. We are apt to forget that children watch examples better than listening to preaching. Parenting approaches differ from one another. Authoritarian parents demand complete obedience from their children whether what they do is fair or unfair.

Children of these parents are nervous, shyly, rebellious, moody and they lack confidence. Permissive parents have little or no control over the behavior of their children. If any rule exist in the house, they are followed inconsistently. Such parents' children are disobedient, disrespectful, aggressive and irresponsible. Uninvolved parents are unaware of their child's needs, discipline and affection. Their children will have psychological difficulty and behavior problems.

Authoritative parents have discussion with their children. They respect children's opinion. Children of such parents have richer cognitive development and higher self-esteem. They are also more interactive and sociable. This authoritative approach is friendly and is parentally proved to be more effective and successful. The first three approaches are not going to do the children any good. They can only increase the distance between them and their children.

Parents have to take utmost care of their habits, conduct, behavior, manner and values. They should have consistent principles in their life. Parents, mind your language you use daily and don't ever shout at anyone at home, unless your house catches fire. Teach your child before he does wrong. Take time to be with your children.

For the best inheritance a parent can give his children is "a few minutes of his time each day." Your presence is better than your presents. Don't speak at them but speak with them.

A husband has to respect his wife before his children then only he will be respected by the children. For respect is to be earned and not to be demanded. Parents should recognize each child individually. For every child is unique. There is no one like your child in this world.

Your child must know that he is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn't been and until the end of the world there'll not be another child like him. Therefore, identify your children's areas of interest and encourage them to fulfil the same. Don't treat your child like pieces of inconvenience.

At the same time don't handicap your child by making his life easy. For if we are in the habit of fulfilling every desire, every request and every demand of our children, we are not helping them. Unquenchable thirst for money is what we must make sure we don't leave in our children. An infallible way to make your child miserable is to satisfy all his demands.

If you, as a parent really want your child to improve, let them overhear the nice things you say about them to others. Praise your children openly and reprimand them secretly. Don't always provoke and be violent. Encouragement always bears richer fruit than dictatorial discipline.

According to child psychologist/experts "the more and greater the reward the stronger the motivation, and the stronger the motivation, the faster and surer is the learning. As much as possible don't ever speak ill about others at home or anywhere. You must also not pass on negative traits to your child.

The greatest wealth and assets we can pass on to our children are to teach them by means of our own good examples 'how to live with dignity.' Parents are 'home letter' which is being read by the children. Money we leave for our children can be stolen, houses we leave for them may collapse or be destroyed. But what we leave in them will be with them ever. Therefore what we leave in our children is far more important than the material-items we leave for them.

Parents-child relationship is to be built up reciprocally. For while we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about. Teach your child while raising him, that "true happiness in life isn't in things, but in the Lord (Lk. 12:15).

Dear parents, talking to your children about God is great, but talking to God about your children is greater. Therefore begin today. Unsuccessful parents do yesterday's work today, Average parents do today's work today, successful parents do tomorrow's work today.

* Aton Lunghar wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was posted on February 11, 2016.

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