We as parents play a huge role in influencing our children’s personality and their overall wellbeing. Our reactions, words and actions define a large part of who they are and who they will become.
Being a mother to a 3 year old son, I have gone through my own learning curve. Books have been my best friend on my journey as a mother. I have learnt a lot in these three years. However, almost all the articles and the books that I have read emphasize on these 5 values that will always help your child succeed & must try to pass on to our child through our words, actions and reactions.
We must teach our children the word respect.
Respect towards what? Respect towards people and things around them.
They should always be sensitive towards the environment and the various free resources that they receive. The best way to teach is by doing and respecting their feelings/actions. Children have this automatic nature of trying to copy their parents and the people they meet. Hence, if we don’t waste water, there is a high probability that our children won’t, If we don’t litter public places, then our children won’t and if we respect their feelings and emotions, then they definitely will respect our emotions.
Let’s consider a hypothetical situation where your child is playing and gets hurt. If we give our child immediate attention, then the next time we are hurt, our child would do the same for us. However, if we simply tell the child don’t worry, it will become okay, then the child is more likely to tell us the same if/when we are hurt.
Respect can help our children, attract the right company and things in to their lives.
We must always encourage our kids to find solutions to their own problems rather than finding the solutions for them.
For instance, your child is three and is colouring on the wall. You try to stop him, but he just wouldn’t listen. You ask nicely a few times and then you start to get irritated. You finally get furious and tell him, “Stop it or I will slap you.” In this case you found the final solution for him. However, instead of asking your child to stop, you should instead ask him questions that will help him find a solution. You can ask him questions like-
“Is this making you happy?”,
“Do you think the wall is looking better now?”,
“Are you going to help clean this up once you are done?”
“Do you like not listening to mummy?”
“Will you be okay, if I don’t do what you want?”
These questions will help our children find a solution. This might sound impractical unless we try. We often think that how will a three year old answer these questions. We will be surprised to hear their answers.
We must always focus on the process rather than focusing on just problem solving.
Hence, we must teach them how to take responsibility for their own actions and to deal with the consequences of the choices they make.
We as parents can do things differently and make more conscious choices to help our children become resilient.
As a parent, we always want the best for our children and wish to provide for everything they need. However, there is a difference between what they need and what they want. Our role as a parent is only to provide for their needs and not to fulfil all their wants. By doing so we are doing more harm than good to them. We should not accommodate for all their wants.
Sometimes we tend to over manage and over protect our kids. We baby proof the whole house to prevent them from getting hurt. However, we must not eliminate all risks. It is important that we expose them to some risks and let them acquire the skills to deal with the risks.
We must also allow our children to make mistakes and to learn from their mistakes. Failure is not the end of the world. It is the place that we get to that helps us to decide what is the next best thing to be done and how to not repeat what we did in the past.
Teaching resilience can go a long way and can help our children to stand strong and bounce back whenever they face a difficult situation in life.
Respect and compassion are often used interchangeably. However, I think that they are not exactly the same.
Compassion is something that I could extend to anyone even if he or she is not being good to me. I can teach my mind not to think bad thoughts for anyone. I can be compassionate towards these people but don’t necessarily have to respect them.
The best way to teach our children the value of compassion is my doing it ourselves. We should never criticize or bad mouth anyone in front of our children. We must always say and do positive things when our children our around and even when they are not around. Hence, being compassionate to others is the best way to teach our children the value of compassion.
We must also let our children be at the receiving end of compassion by treating them with love, care and affection. Experiencing compassion first hand can go a long way in instilling this value in them.
By teaching our children- Respect, Responsibility, Resilience and Compassion, we have actually taught them to be wise and make the correct choices in life and to distinguish between what’s right and what’s wrong.
It is important that we encourage our kids to be humble because humble people realize that they don’t always have the correct answers and seek for counsel when in doubt.
Our role as a parent is not just to provide for our children’s needs but to instill these values in them. These values can go a long way in defining their lives even after we are gone. This will help them create a space for themselves where people will love them, respect them and look up to them.
Hence, as parents we must always focus our energy on these five words, RESPECT, RESPONSIBILTY, RESILIENCE, COMPASSION AND WISDOM rather than focusing on problem solving.