Happy Parenting


Today, Let me share my notes about a session on Parenting in my office Aricent At the end, I have captured few more useful resources about parenting specially for readers of this blog "Express YourSelf !

As parents we always have many basic expectations from our kids. For example, he should brush his teeth before sleep. He should eat at his own. He should go to bad on time at 10 PM. He should not eat chocolates. He should do his homework. He should perform well in examinations.  The list is long and difficult to achieve. However all these things are achievable and possible. Parents should keep showing responsibility to their children. 

However, as parents we often commit few common mistakes as below. 


Blaming children. 
Accusing children.  
We even threaten our kids. 
We command them. 
We delivered a big lecture to our children about dos and donts. 
We give warning. 
We compare them with other kids. 
Sarcasms: We say, “You and homework? Never” 

All the above mentioned acts, brings down self-esteem of children drastically. It creates inferiority complex.  All parents want, their kid to become a successful citizen. They want their kid to be independent as well as sensible. Self – esteem is very crucial to become independent.  We all know that, self esteem does not come naturally. A very successful person once, quote that his 3/4th life is empty. How surprising such statement is !! As we the people are looking at successful person as a role model. However, without self-esteem, success is nothing. Today’s education system is not sufficient to make a child, independent, responsible and with full of self-esteem. The self-esteem is much more important than academic knowledge he receives in 24 years from school and college. 

Maria Montessori observed four distinct periods, or "planes", in human development. To know more details, click here

1. From birth to six years, 
2. From six to twelve, 
3. From twelve to eighteen, and 
4. From eighteen to twenty-four. 

She saw different characteristics, learning modes, and developmental imperatives are active in each of these planes, and called for educational approaches specific to each period. At the age of six months, a kid started noticing and observing the mouth / leaps movement, when one speaks.  For the first two years of life, all kids are just observing the surrounding environment and listening to various sounds. First two years are very important for the overall development of a child.

As per Montessori education approach, each child is unique. Parents can influence the child at very large extent. Parents play a major role consciously or unconsciously for the development of child. We as parents should create right environment for the kid. We should take following actions for that. 

1. Encourage independence

Parent should encourage independence as much as possible for 3 to 5 years old kid. The kid should able to take his food himself, with his fingers/hands at age of 2.5 years. Then, we should allow doing their work themselves. Allow your kid to press lift button. We should feel proud that they have tried. Show respect and appreciate for a child’s struggle/efforts. Do not instantly give answer. Give sources. By all means, we should provide them independence mentally and physically. Kid may get longer time to become independent, in the presence of made or grand parents. We can give them their own room, so they feel more independent, may be at age of 2 years. 

In our day to day life, we should never deal with situation on behalf of our child. Let the child handle himself or herself. Otherwise, his/her personality does not unfold. Let them deal their situation themselves. Suppose, it complaints that his friend has beaten him. Then ask him, “What you want to do?”  As parents, we should never fight with his friend or his friend’s parents. We should educate our kid, to accept the fact and ask him, now, what he want to do. Then your kid will start thinking independently.  

Just Remember, the child cannot become exactly like you. He has his own life, own way of thinking. Sometimes, we as parents deal his situation as per our thinking. 

2. Freedom within limits

Make your kids, mentally independent. Treat them as individual to make choice.  

Suppose, you are going out for party. Do not make choice for him about what he should put on. Ask him what he wants to put on. He may choose night dress !. Then just repeat the options.  Educate with patience about party dress and night dress. 

Same applies for food alternatives. Suppose you all go to a restaurant. Then allow the kid to make choice for himself to order. Yes, due to ignorance, he may make wrong choice and waste food. Just remind him about such incident from past. 

Sometime the kid may have difference of opinion. First ask why? Try to understand his point of view.  The interaction/dialogue is important. 

3. Rewards are external motivation. 

Children are intrinsic motivated. Do not kill that motivation. Child has no value for external rewards, initially. It is shocking, that nowadays parents gifts iPad to kid just for good performance in LKG !!

If you attach performance with outside reward, he will perform just because of reward. It creates dependency on external motivation. We are also removing that Eureka moment.  You can slowly delink the reward and performance for the kid. Like just say, “If you do that, you, yourself will be so happy.”

4. Punishment

It causes more harm. It instills fear in child. It ruined his self esteem. Once a child commit some mistake in school and hide himself inside bench. He was not ready at all to come out. He had fear of punishment from parents. 

Alternative of punishment
  • Get healthy relationship with mistake. “It is ok” 
  • Express disapproval. “I am sorry this is not the way to talk with adult.” Just focus exactly on the problem. Not consequences. 
  • State expectations clearly.
  • Take some visible action. Like declare you will not take him for a picnic/circus/exhibition/movie. Then stick to your words and as punishment do not take him with you. 

5. How to praise?

As parents, we must appreciate and praise the kid for his good behavior, without any reward.  It must not be blanket praise. Describe what you see. Describe what you feel. Giving a word what the kid is. For Example, “Wow! You already started.” “ My goodness you have done it.” Etc.

6. Being a role model

The parents are the most biggest figure for child. He observer daily that, how independent his parents are. They can choose their cloth, food. They can go wherever they wish. So behave nicely in front of kids. Do not get defensive when your child caches your misbehaving. Suppose you said sorry for yelling at him and continue habit of yelling then there is no meaning. 

Do not accuse child in front of him. Do not talk negative aspects in back also. Sometimes, kids/teenagers get shocked, “How can my parents say this to me?” 

There is a very good book, ‘How to talk so kids will listen and how to listen so kids will talk’. The book describes five essential skills about talking with children. 
  1. Describe
  2. Give information: Keep repeating the same. Feel have a choice
  3. Say it with a word. A kid cannot make sense of lots of word, particularly when he is crying or angry.  Let him calm down. Just say one word, “Stop”, then you can talk. 
  4. Talking about your feeling. For example, “I do not like it.”
  5. Writing a note: to remind the kid. 
For details please refer the Powerpoint slidedeck. 



Now let’s examine two scenarios, closing matching with real life incidents. 

Scenario 1. In the morning a Kid named A spilled milk. His mother shouted him and blamed him he always do such mistakes. His mother did cleaning. The kid got late. Somehow he could catch the school bus and reached the school. 

Scenario 2. In the morning a Kid named B spilled milk. His mother smiled and informed him, “there is a mob”. The kid cleaned the floor. He also got late. Somehow he could catch the school bus and reached the school. 

Now, at school, teacher asked someone to become a volunteer for a task. Obviously the kid B will stand up. As he grow, he will take more responsibility and grow up. 

Summary: 

Involve kids in decision making. Give then environment to grow to develop, that is your task. Give them independence, freedom within limits. Child will create his work himself. Just have respect for a child’s natural psychological development. A kid can do self-evaluation: “This is my best for today but not best for ever”

Question and Answer

What to do, if two kids are fighting?
This is called “Sibling rivalry” It is quite common.  It automatically result in competition. The fighting  should not be physical or verbal.  Make sure, you do not introduce it. Just ignore it. Sometime the elder one may feel frustration. Many times child scare to express. Give them words. Ask the younger one to speak , “Do not bit me up”

The kid have limited vocabulary. Sometime they do not distinguish between what and why. They may keep asking the same question.  They may not understand our answers. Next time, you can give different answer. 

About gadgets. 
Make sure, not to give cellphone to 2.5 to 3 year old kid. At 3 years kid may hooked up to game in cellphone. No game till 8 years. Make sure, they do not glue to TV either. Particular watching TV and eating.  No TV, No cellphone, No computer while eating. Even learning CD, games for kid with age of less than 8 years is not good. Just introduce to book and many other things. Not to computer. 

Handling non-genuine demand. 
Have more humor/fun . Say that, “I do not deny your wish. Sometime we will.” Be more relaxed. 

Son is rebellious, at 3 years saying “I am going out”
He is just seeking for attention.  If you punish to stand in a corner, then after a while, the corner does not serve any purpose. You just say “Stop” firmly. Just spend quality time with kids. Here quality time means undivided attention.

Yes, parenting is a tough job. Not easy. Particularly for first 10 years. After then they will be at their own. Irrespective, of you know skill of parenting or not, children will grow up. However with some skill, some techniques, some knowledge, you will enjoy parenting. Sometime parents scared by their Teenage son/daughter. There nothing to scare. The teenagers are like source of enthusiasm and energy. 

Wishing you "Happy Parenting."

Notes: 


  • This article is result of a session by Ms. Parul, from Formative Age at our Aricent office during September 2012. 
  • Ms. Parul has passion for better parenting.  She has been a child development counselor and consultant for 8 years. She is currently working with Learning Time. She is engaged in parenting workshop for corporate employees. One can reach her at parul@learningtime.co  +91 9845799228
  • Learning Time is the fastest developer and promoter of early education products for last 17 years and it has presence in 10 countries. Learning Time has tie up with psychologists from across the globe who deal with child psychology. 
  • I come across few interesting books. 
  1. There is a book-cum-diary published by BAPS. It is a book. It explains various topics on parenting with facts and figure. Each topic content is limited to single page. After reading a page, parents can discuss and note down their resolution in a blank page. So it is a diary too. To find more details click here
  2. Discovery of the Child by Maria Montessori
  3. Secret of Childhood by Maria Montessori
  • I come across few interesting websites
  1. Guj Mom in Gujarati http://gujmom.com/
  2. Parentree http://www.parentree.in/
  3. many website links are captured about educational resources on this blog. Education Resources 
  • You may like one interesting article about my daughter Ojasvini
Disclaimer: 
  • This is not a verbatim of the speech. The content is reorganized to provide logical flow. 
  • For simplicity I have used pronoun “He/His/Him/Himself” for the kid. However this article is equally applicable for daughter and son both.
  • The article is not for debate or for creating any controversy. This is just my understanding of an old session. The content may useful for parents.

2 comments:

mohit said...

Hi Manish, Really liked your article for Parenting. Keep writing, Keep Sharing :)

Madhavi said...

Interesting and insightful article Manish. Thanks for sharing.

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