By Bushra Aafaqi
Being mothers, we always question our parenting style. When we see a well-behaved, loving and confident child, we wonder what their parents are doing right and how we can use the same strategies to ensure our kids become strong and loving adults. I believe that parenting style has a great deal to do with the way our kids turn out, however that is not the only thing. Factors such as friend circle and life events play an important part although they are not in our control. Nevertheless, there are few things we can do so they will have a strong foundation to succeed in their lives.
Acknowledge and give them attention
When your kids demand your attention, give it to them 100%. I know we are always multi-tasking but it is imperative that kids get our attention when they seek it. Giving attention means that you listen and take them seriously, it will make them feel that ‘what they think’ and ‘who they are’ is important to you, it helps them build confidence, a sense of being loved and elevates their self-respect.
Show them empathy and teach compassion
Teaching kids to feel the pain of others and show love toward others are a critical social skill we need to help them develop. One way to do that is by guiding them in the situation where empathy and compassion are needed. If one child is sick or hurt, ask the other siblings to be kind to the sick child and show empathy by putting themselves in their sick brother/sister’s shoes. You will be surprised how it impacts the kids.
Set rules and enforce them
We set many rules, however, implementing them can be challenging, especially rules like bed time, meal time, cleaning up toys, etc. I have come to realize that some rules can be set by your child (of course with your guidance) and this will encourage them to adhere to them.
In order to set a rule for ‘bed time’, let your child pick the time (guide them if the timing is inappropriate). This will encourage the child to think they are in control of their actions and in turn will reduce your bed time stress as well. Warning – Don’t make them feel that they are the ruler of the house.
Be a role model
We are our child’s first role models. As people say ‘Children do as they see, not as they’re told’. Be the person you are guiding your child to be.
If you want your child to show empathy, show it yourself. When you show empathy and love towards your family and friends, kids tend to pick that up. If you hear sad news, be sure to discuss it with your kids and let them know how it is impacting you, so they know feeling sad for someone’s pain is not bad, it is the right thing to do.
If you want your child to follow rules, make sure you follow the rules. If you want your child to be kind, make sure you are demonstrating kindness.
Limit the media & set healthy boundaries
We know that too much screen time can have an adverse effect on a child’s social skills, which impacts their ability to love, and show empathy. As a parent, we need to set limits on screen exposure to encourage more face-to-face time with family and friends. And yes, it will not be an easy thing but we have to do it.
As homemakers, we spend numerous hours in cleaning and organizing the house and our kids are aware of this fact. In order for them to get the habit of helping, we have to assign simple age specific chores to them.
This make them feel accomplished in doing something meaningful for the family and they become more confident and less dependent on others.
Tell them a story
Kids love stories especially about other kids being in a similar situation. Parents can use stories to explain and get their message across in an effective manner. Sometimes, stories can be used to let the child know about the expected behavior, for example, visit to the relative’s home (journey, acceptable behavior, using please and thank you etc.). If told in a story format, kids are able to visualize the sequence and can remember the take-aways from the story.
Having said all the above, each child is different, we can’t even raise two of our own kids the same way. We can just guide our kids in the right direction and pray that they turn out to be responsible, loving, compassionate and confident adults.
About the Author:
Bushra Aafaqi is a Digital Marketing expert; she loves to stay on top of the digital industry trends and new updates. She enjoys reading every night and loves to cook on weekends.
She works full-time and enjoys spending time with her two beautiful kids while juggling the evening chaos between commute back home, kid’s recreational activities and getting dinner on the table. Above all, she loves to learn new things and new skills.