About Parenting

Expert Advice


TIPS ON EFFECTIVE PARENTING

Boosting Your Child's Self-Esteem :

Children start developing their sense of self as infants when they see themselves through their parents' eyes. Your tone of voice, your body language, and your every expression is absorbed by your child. Your words and actions as a parent affect their developing self-esteem more than anything else.

Praising accomplishments, however small, will make them feel proud. Letting kids do things independently will make them feel capable and strong. By contrast, belittling comments or comparing a child unfavourably with another will make them feel worthless.

Avoid making loaded statements or using words as weapons. Comments like "What a stupid thing to do!" or "You act more like a baby than your little brother!" cause damage just as physical blows do. Choose your words carefully and be compassionate. Let your child know that everyone makes mistakes and you still love them, even when you don't like their behaviour.

Catch Kids Being Good :

Have you ever stopped to think about how many times you react negatively to your kids in a given day? You may find yourself criticizing far more often than complimenting. How would you feel about a boss who treated you with that negative guidance, even if it was with all good intentions?

The more effective approach is to catch kids doing something right: "You made your bed without being asked — that's great!" or "I was watching you play with your brother and you were very patient." These statements will do more to encourage good behaviour over the long run than repeated scolding.

Make a point of finding something to praise every day. Be generous with rewards — your love, hugs, and compliments can work wonders. Soon you will find you are "growing" more of the behaviour you would like to see. Give points for every good deed and reward them after certain points are collected. Initially it is an effort but later it becomes a habit which is a good one.

Set Limits and Be Consistent With Your Discipline :

Discipline is necessary in every household. The goal of discipline is to help kids choose acceptable behaviour and learn self-control. They may test the limits you establish for them, but they need those limits to grow into responsible adults. Establishing rules in the house help kids understand your expectations and develop self-control. Some rules might include: no TV until homework is done, and no hitting or hurtful teasing allowed.

You might want to have a system in place: one warning, followed by consequences such as a "time out" or loss of privileges. A common mistake parents make is failure to follow through with the consequences. You can't discipline kids for talking back one day and ignore it the next. Being consistent teaches what you expect.

- Dr. PRABHA SANGHI

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