Trust Me ! The first day when your child goes to his big school (the one where he will in all probability spend the next 15 years of his life), it is a ‘Happy Realisation’ moment for you. Your responsibilities take a leap to a new level. It’s not just your kids food, hygiene and health that will be your concerns anymore. You will get into an endless process of planning and co-ordinating for your kids journey at school. When I recall my time at school, I have Goosebumps. God ! How did my parents manage me through all these years?
Nevertheless, this post is not about my musings and insecurities over how I am going to manage my son’s school life. It is about the orientation session that I attended on my son’s first day of school. There was the customary address by the school principle, vice-principle and the course co-ordinator apprising the new parents about the school vision, mission and philosophy. The last address was by the student counsellor, who brought a lot of perspective to the concept of parenting and how the onus lies on both the parents for a balanced growth of the child. Here I list down the things he said, that caught my attention and thought the most –
The good guy – Bad guy strategy is no good
Often we as parent couple bring balance to a situation by one of the parents taking a strict stance and the other taking a soft stance while dealing with children. Parents do this so that the child does not feel sidelined or left out. This seemingly looks like a very logical thing to do – the message has been sent out strictly by one parent, and the other has taken care of the poor child in distress. The spin-off of this strategy often results in the child creating a perspective that it’s easy to get around one of the parents than the other. It is likely that they may also tending to believe that its easy manipulate their way around one parent and use this difference of opinion between their parents to their advantage. A better way to deal with situations where the child needs to be sent a strict message is that both the parents act as a single unit and have a constructive communication session with the kid. Thus as a parenting couple you ought to respect and pay heed to each other’s opinion not only in matters of parenting but otherwise too. In this way, your kid will come to appreciate the understanding between you two and eventually will know that one’s stand on any matter is the other’s automatically.
One thing is for taken. Kids will flout boundaries. They will do so to check if the boundaries set by us really do exist, or we as parents just mentioned them in the passing. But you still have to keep checking them, sternly enough everytime they cross the boundaries. This does not call for aggressive reactions; sending out non-appreciative signals through verbal and to some extent behaviour communication should do the job. The idea is that every time an instruction is flouted, your reaction should make your kid uneasy enough to wonder if he/she wants to do it again. Remember, the bottom line is kids constantly seek affection and approval. You can use this as your bait, to manipulate them 😉
Parents should encourage books at all times and all places within the house. The right age for your kids to learn to appreciate books is asap. One way to do so is – they should observe that books are important enough to occupy space in every nook and corner of the house. This task becomes easier when both or either of the parents is an ardent reader. It is assumed that your kid will observe you and learn to spend time with his own books. But, if you are not a reader yourself, you ought to start now. Atleast for your child’s sake. Create a routine to read yourself or to your child from books containing stories relevant to his age. This will go a long way in your kids academic journey.
Spice it up but do not Spice the food
Just to ensure that the kid eats, mothers try to camouflage the taste by sweetening the food. In other instances, we try to make the food taste tangy – because kids love tangy (atleast all the kids that i have known do!) But this may not be the best idea. Your kid will have the food, but will never know the real taste and nature of the veggies or fruits that she/he is eating. So, try and develop eating habits and follow a food menu that not only balances taste and nutrition, but also enables your kid to identify and appreciate natural tastes.
Never threaten in the name of school
A lot of parents tend to threaten their kids into behaving right by way of threatening in the name of school teacher or friends. “If you behave naughty, I’ll tell your teacher.” , “What will your friend think of you if he knows that you did this wrong?” Statements like these, may serve to restrain them for the time being, but will lead to a lasting negative impact in their uninitiated minds.
Develop a sense of pride for the school in your kids mind. Never criticize any aspect of their school/schooling in front of them. Through constant positive reinforcement, the kids will eventually develop a responsible and enthusiastic behaviour towards all the stakes and stakeholders at school.
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