We all know about growing up and getting older. If you ask someone what growing up is all about, they would say: getting mature, going to college, becoming responsible, etc. From the look of it, everything about growing up seems so simple. Now look back at your own transitioning phase.
The first time you felt insecure about a certain attribute within yourself. The first time you got bullied by a bunch of children. The first time you faced failure and were held accountable for your actions. In due course, the hours of your day dedicated to playing became less significant, and before you knew it, the work at hand enveloped your life.
Unfortunately, everyone needs to experience all these events in order to grow up, whether they like it or not. However, there can be ways in which you can make this journey comparatively easier for your child. There is no line between childhood and adulthood. In fact there is a blurred space that separates the two entities and this blurred area is often referred to as ‘youth’.
As a parent, it is important that your child knows someone is watching over them. While growing up, and walking into the arena of real life, a person often feels it’s me against the world. This is when he/she enters his youth and needs to fight for his survival. There are many ways by which you can let your adolescent know that they are not alone.
Talk to them
Ever since your child steps into pre-school, ask them what they did all day. Don’t let them feel as if you’re prying (because you are not). Instead let them consider you a friend and tell you who did what. Ask them what they played, ask them if they had an argument with someone, and ALSO ask them how the teacher behaves with them. Once you start this on a daily basis, your child won’t be able to keep things from you and discussing matters with you will become a habit.
Keep a check on their company
Remember, your child is never too old to have someone who watches over them and keeps a check. Whether at 7 or 13 years of age, ask your child to take certain precautions while befriending someone. Although little children are innocent, family background has a lot to say about what the other person could turn out to be as a teenager and an adult. Whenever your child makes a friend, make sure he asks that kid what his/her parents do and where they live. This information can warn you or satisfy you, whatever it does, act accordingly. If you feel something ambiguous or fishy about that child’s background, ask your little one to maintain a certain distance. This way by the time your prodigy reaches the age of 9-11 years, he/she will know automatically how to be selective of his/her company.
Involve them in your activities
If you like painting, cooking, doing crafts, playing a sport, working out or even reading; ask your children to help or accompany you in it. They can either observe you, or copy you, or they can have their own little canvas to paint their thoughts on. Whether you are a mother or a father, your child deserves to know about your interests and try them as well. Both parents should involve children in their activities so they get a degree of exposure.
Replace technology with creativity and physical activity
The National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education (NACCCE) defines creativity with four factors:
- It should have imagination.
- It should be purposeful.
- The activities should reflect originality.
- The outcome must be of value in relation to the purpose.
- Set examples and make conversations with your children. Show them what they are capable of and appreciate them. This will help their confidence and will develop their creative and analytical skills which are extremely important in today’s world.
- Decrease your children’s time on console and replace it with time in sports. Take them to the park, or enroll them in a sports club. Make sure you don’t stick to one sport, and help them discover their strengths.
Tell them how to deal with bullies
This subject is highly neglected in our part of the world. Being bullied will not make your child strong, it will only weaken their self esteem. They will form armor around themselves as they grow up and it might damage them internally to a lot of extent. Find opportunities to bring up the issue in a more roundabout way. Remind your child he’s not alone, and appreciate the honesty. Tell them it shouldn’t worry or embarrass them.
Talk to your child’s principal about it and involve the bully’s parents, so the bully doesn’t threaten your child. Both kids would need counseling and the problem can be dealt with.
These steps will make your child feel that they don’t face the world on their own and as teenagers also they would discuss their issues with you without reluctance.
Give your child chores and responsibilities
Teach your young one to take responsibilities around the house. Establish rules, and let them know they’d face consequences if the rules aren’t followed.
Try to develop a sense of concern in them for others. Let them know they aren’t the centre of the world and their actions have effects on others. This will develop care and compassion in them and they would be careful in whatever they do. If one of the family members falls sick, involve your children in taking care of them and asking them if they need something.
Allow them to make choices
The child should be allowed to make decisions based on their age group. As a 6 year old they can choose their favorite snack. As a 12 year old they can choose their favorite dress. This will help them decide things for themselves to a certain extent.
Bringing up children is a difficult task. However it is also a gift given to us as we have the power to shape futures and a generation in our own way. Make the best of this opportunity and try to be a best friend to your child. You have the power to make a future for this world, use it wisely.