Criticise the problem or bad habit, and work with your child to help him improve. Don't criticise the child.
All children at times display behaviour that needs to be checked. This is how children learn right from wrong, and figure out how they should and should not act.
However, parents often tend to forget that their children are kids
after all, and cannot be expected to be perfect all the time. As a
result, whenever their children make mistakes, parents criticize them.
"But I have to criticise them, or how will they know they are wrong?"
feels Jhanvi, mother of 13 year old Rehan.
There is a huge difference between criticizing a child, and criticizing a mistake.
How often have you called your child careless when he has
forgotten something? How often have you called him irresponsible
because he hasn't done something? By doling out labels you are hurting
your child without solving the issue. When you call him careless, he
will believe he is careless indeed. He will feel bad about his mistake,
and will blame himself or try and defend himself and refuse to accept
fault. Either way, you have dented his self-esteem.
Help him find a solution instead of just apportioning blame.
Rehan is always late to school. Every night Jhanvi struggles to get Rehan to go to bed on time. Rehan would rather watch television, play computer games or talk on the phone than go to bed,
with the result that he always wakes up late and is late to school.
You're such a stubborn boy, shouts Jhanvi when Rehan refuses to listen.
Has Jhanvi ever sat down and explained to Rehan how he should try and change his pattern for just one week, go to bed
early, and see if he can reach school on time? No. The only
communication they have had in this regard is through arguments every
night, with Jhanvi telling him to go to bed again and again, and calling him stubborn and irresponsible.
Yes, by telling your child to go to bed
early you are definitely offering a solution, but shouting it out is
perhaps not the best way to go about it. And when you call him
stubborn, he will believe that he is stubborn indeed, and will set out
to show you exactly how stubborn he can be! Hey, no one said parenting
Communication and explanation is the best way to go forward.
Sit down with your child and talk to him. Treat him like an
adult and make a deal with him. Let him know that he can stay up as
later on a Friday and Saturday night, without you saying anything to
him, if he goes to bed on time on a weekday. Work with him when coming
to a compromise. Both of you can decide on a bedtime together. Make him
promise to stick to his word for at least a week. Then, together you
can see if it makes a difference to his waking up on time. Tell him
that it may be hard, but it is a sacrifice worth making, and that you
are there for him to help him get through. But at the same time, he
needs to be there for you as well, and together you will lick the
problem! Make sure he knows you are on his side, and not against him.
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- The Indiaparenting Team