The Positive Parenting Approach

Parenting is one of the most challenging areas in today’s world. Every parent faces a huge challenge in bringing up their child in an ever changing world.

Most of the time, we are inadvertently pushing our children to practice the piano longer or to study for some more time etc. We wish to pack maximum number of things in their schedule, as we believe that we need to give them the best.

There are other cases wherein parents are least interested, in the upbringing of their children. They are so busy with their work, that they have almost delegated their parenting to school teachers and tuition teachers. They only feel the need to provide for the monetary aspects of their children. Both these cases are extreme and it is important to find a healthy balance between the two.

Today, we will look at the positive parenting style of supporting rather than pushing, in the area of education

1.Avoid extreme involvement in your children’s education

Today, we find that parents want to be involved in every minute detail of their child’s education. There are times when parents have raised concerns of their child not winning any elocution or oratory competition at school. They believe that their child is the best and should have definitely won a certificate. It might sound hilarious to some, but it is actually a reality. Teachers are constantly questioned about their methods of teaching and grading children.

Pushing your children too much always leads to stress for both, children and parents. At the same time, totally ignoring their studies will lead to poor grades. It is important to show your child, that you are there to support and help them, when necessary. Never follow a herd mentality, such as if everyone in school is doing a particular activity then your child also needs to do it. Find what is best for your child and take steps to ensure that your child’s interest is kept in mind.

Sometimes you need to be pushy, for e.g

  • If your child needs extra attention for a particular subject like Maths or French, get them tutor even if they resist.
  • If you feel your child is underperforming because of the teaching staff in school, then get them professional help.
  • Some children have bad handwriting and it is good to get them to practice daily under a tutor.

However, at the same time do not be overbearing and pushy. For e.g. since everyone in the class has enrolled for the swimming class, you forcibly enrol your child for the same, even though you know that your child does not enjoy swimming but has interest in music.

Parents want all their unrealised dreams and aspirations to be fulfilled by their children. A child’s achievement gives parents great pride. Be honest to yourself and resist forcing your children to do things that you could not do. This will lead to an endless cycle of dissatisfaction and stress.

2.Do not have short term goals but look at the future

Do not get stressed about small things like their reading habits or their eating habits etc. Every child is unique and will do things differently. By setting standards for every small thing, you are discouraging them. They need to be loved and cared for, in order for them to have a strong future. Focus on the long term goal of raising a healthy and strong adult.

Teach them the right things at the right time. Many toddlers are well versed with smartphones and ipads but are unable to do basic things like going to the toilet independently, eating independently or understanding basic instructions etc.

3. Avoid comparing your children

This is a tough one to do. Most parents meet each other while dropping their children to school and the common topic of discussion is their children. Politely avoid such conversations as these conversations will only put pressure on you. It is important to know that your child is doing well in the class and is participating in most of the class activities. Not all children can top the class, but you can definitely keep realistic expectations, which are unique to your child.

4. Do not protect your child from disappointments but encourage them

Parents want to protect their children from all disappointments. Remember you cannot live their life. They will face failures and disappointments in life. As parents, you need to encourage your child to get up and look forward and keep trying. In this way, you are teaching them one of the most important lessons of life, in dealing with failure. There will be many instances, such as not getting selected for the music choir or for any sports activity or not getting any certificates and hence you need to teach your child how to cope up with such disappointments

Today, more and more parents are questioning the judgement of teachers, which is wrong. I would like you to go back to our childhood days, where the teacher’s verdict was final.  In those days we would never find a disagreement between the teacher and our parents. In contrast, we would get a good stern warning and advice to shape up.

Our approach should be, to not only understand our child’s feelings but at the same time be able to guide them about the realities of life, which will help them in long run.

5. Plan for a schedule study time

It is important to have a daily planned schedule time. Children get used to a routine quickly. Set a routine of finishing homework or doing some maths sums or reading loudly, daily for about half an hour for small kids. For older children, give them a broad time table of the things to be done. This brings discipline in their life and they realise that they can go out to play, only after they finish their studies. Do not do their homework for them.

Also make studies more interesting and fun-filled, for small children. For e.g. give additions of Ice creams, candy sticks etc. Also follow the same methods that are followed in school to avoid confusion.

6. Never criticise teachers in front of children

We have very often seen parents blatantly criticising the teachers in front of their children. This sets a wrong precedent, as children lose respect for their teachers and undermine their authority in school. Children will learn to challenge you and they will not honour your authority.

It is never too late to start. If you feel that you have committed some very common mistakes, it is time to change now.

The above will give you a clear direction in taking active interest, without overdoing things. Also be creative and do fun things, like watching the Discovery science channel with your children, to understand the concepts of science rather than just reading the concepts in books.

Enjoy your journey of being a supportive and not overbearing pushy parent.

Please  read our earlier article on  parenting.

To know more please click here Positive Parenting

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