Parents can play a big role in shaping children into worthwhile adults by being sensitive to their different needs at each stage of development. Here are some do’s and don’ts for various phases.
By Major Pradeep Khare
All parents wish their children to grow up happy, healthy, truthful, hardworking and respectful. But reality is often different from the wish. One of the biggest reasons for this is the role parents themselves play. The way parents respond or don’t respond to a child’s varying needs at each developmental phase has a powerful impact on his personality. Let’s look at these phases, and how parents can best mould their child’s character.
Parenting begins even before your child is born – it starts from the time the baby is in her mother’s womb. Even though her body is still taking shape, she is capable of absorbing and reacting to her mother’s thoughts and emotions.
“A child can teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires.” – Paulo Coelho
In the first year of life, a child’s mind is like blotting paper. The words and deeds of parents and caregivers will have a deep impact on him even though he may not be able to understand them.
“If you want your children to improve, let them overhear the nice things you say about them to others.” – Haim Ginott
The groundwork of personality is laid in early childhood. It is our privilege as parents to help our children unleash their hidden potential and develop it to the maximum. A child who lives with criticism, ridicule and scolding from parents, teachers and other significant adults will develop an inferiority complex.
“Your children need your presence more than your presents.” - Jesse Jackson
Adolescence is a crucial period in a child’s development. It is difficult for both parent and child to navigate.
When your child crosses teenage, she enters a stage where she feels overconfident and averse to following orders. It is now better to treat her like a friend.
We become parents without knowing that any skills are required. But, as the saying goes, “Life is a continuous learning process.”
When we attain parenthood, we often make the mistake of treating our children as our parents treated us. But that doesn’t really work. We, parents, would do well to keep ourselves abreast of the latest thoughts in the art of parenting, so that we can do our best to raise children the world can be proud of.
“Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.” – Robert Fulghum
All through the different stages of a child’s life, we parents will do well to remember that the child will more readily do what he sees you doing, than obey you when you tell him to do something. So be sure to practise what you preach. Show him by example how to adhere to a healthy lifestyle and a sound value system. This will hold him in good stead throughout his adult life.
“Before I got married I had six theories about raising children; now, I have six children and no theories.” – John Wilmot
Well, that’s what parenting is all about – you learn from experience.
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