The science and art of parenting has been a challenge to mankind since time immemorial. No matter how successful, knowledgeable and accomplished you are, parenting will be a black box to us all. Our love for our children, our desire to give them the best that we can offer, our commitment to preventing them from facing the hardships that we have faced, blinds us from giving them the best upbringing.
Coming to the title of this article. Honestly, there is no secret sauce to parenting. Every child, every parent and every case is so unique that there is no one size fits all. But, there are certain broad guidelines that can be used.
Let me introduce you to the ABC's of parenting:
1. Attention for the right actions
Unfortunately, all of us (Yes, you included!) have been programmed by our parents and relatives to give attention only when a negative situation arises. If the child is happily playing or has performed a good deed, no attention as such is given. But if he falls down, breaks a leg or has performed a bad deed, the whole family gets involved and pours a ton of attention in either taking care of his broken leg or reprimanding him for his bad behaviour. This is also seen as a classic example where teachers pay extra attention to the naughty children in a class.
This programs the child to create a linkage between bad behaviour/negative behaviour with attention. So every time the child wants attention he looks towards a bad deed.
Please ensure that you give extra attention and time when your child does something good. ALWAYS PAY ATTENTION TO THE THE RIGHT THINGS!
2. Blame Game
When a child trips or falls down, don't hit the floor or the object in an attempt to pacify the child. Taking care of him and sympathising (with touch) is very important but also ensuring that he learns to accept his mistakes/ see his wrongdoings because of which he faced a certain consequence is just as critical. If you do not bring this understanding into the child, he will think that he is always right and that he cannot do anything wrong. He will blame everyone except himself for the situation he is in.
NEVER PLAY THE BLAME GAME!
Ensure that you never compare your child's weaknesses/strengths with that of another's. This can either breed a superiority complex or an inferiority complex. Both of them are just as dangerous.
4. Decision Making
A lack of decisiveness is a huge hurdle for today's children. Always make sure that you present a set of choices (when in an inconsequential situation) and ask the child to pick from the given set of choices. This programs decisiveness into the psyche of the child.
Ask the child to decide which restaurant he wants to go to and present a set of options. Or
Ask the child what he would like to eat and present the menu to him.
5. Emotional Expression
Make sure that you express your emotions to the child. He is always supposed to know that he is loved. Especially when there are two children at home and each of them need two different forms of upbringing, always make sure that you communicate to both of them that you love them equally and that a difference in treatment is being seen because both of them need to be given different things (good and bad) to become successful.
6. Food and Screens
Today's teenagers are actually 'screenagers'. Screens have become the biggest form of a new widely accepted addiction. Research shows that chemicals released in the brain when one consumes narcotics are similar to the ones produced when we excessively see a screen.
DO NOT use Youtube/Facebook/WhatsApp or any form of media to distract the child in order to feed the child! Try avoiding the exposure of mobile phones to a large extent until the age of 18.
These are very broad guidelines that can be used. Parenting will always be a challenge. Let's face it gracefully. Happy Parenting!! :)