Parenting is one of the toughest jobs there is. Children are always watching their parents for behavioural cues. It’s a big responsibility, and to ensure that they grow up to be good, confident individuals requires a lot of hard work. To make it easier, Seema Hingorrany, a Mumbai-based clinical psychologist shares tips on how you can prepare your children for the journey that is life.
1) Inculcate an optimistic approach
It’s important for parents to strengthen belief system of the child. Frankly tell your kids that life will invariably throw challenges at you, but that as parents, you will always be there to support them. This instills confidence in them and makes them better equipped to handle the rough parts of life.
2) Teach them self-care and self-love
It’s not possible to love others unless you love yourself. Self-care begins at a young age. Allow them to make their own choices. For instance, ask them for their preference while selecting a movie to watch. If someday your child doesn’t want to eat paneer, be okay with it and don’t force him/her. This adds confidence in their personality and makes them individuals with high self-esteem.
3) Provide them with a safety net
Never tell your children “You are good for nothing” or “I wish you weren’t born”. Instead, make positive statements like, “I love you, “I’ll always be here for you”. Often, these kind of affirming language is alien to Indian parents. They are just not used to showing affection. But it provides your kids with a safety net and reassures them that they have their parents support.
4) Narrate your own experiences
For children, their parents are the ultimate heroes, who know everything and can do no wrong. But as the child grows older, tell them about your mistakes, failures and struggles. For instance, if your kid loses a sports tournament, share an anecdote about how you also lost matches when you played in college. Tell them what you learnt from that experience. This will make sure the kid is not disheartened or depressed easily.
5) Listen to them
Spend quality time with your kids. Engage with them and allow them to talk. Don’t just give them gyaan all the time. Hear all about their experiences and ideas. Make sure they feel comfortable in expressing their emotions – no matter what they might be. This will lead to your child being communicative and in tune with how they are feeling.