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Raising your child to be accountable

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Let’s start by defining what it means to be accountable; being accountable would mean taking responsibility of actions, including making required improvements, and not repeat mistakes with or without the presence of some external controller. The virtues like accountability and responsibility are the outcome of patience and empathy we show while correcting the erring child. Most people assume that punishment is what helps human to do the right thing; that however is a futile measure. Many types of research now suggest that kids who are punished are less likely to make positive moral choices. Wondering how; here is how:

  • Punishment shifts your child’s focus on ‘consequences’ he/she will be suffering rather than the consequences that their behaviour may have on others.
  • The most prominent lesson that a child learns from punishment is to avoid it in the future by sneaking and lying to escape. This fosters dishonesty.
  • Feeling bad is a self-fulfilling prophecy and punishment makes the child feel bad; therefore he/she is more likely to repeat the behaviour for which they are punished.

So then how to make your child accountable without punishing him/her? Here are a few suggestions:

1. Guide them

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Some mistakes are made unknowingly; children may not be aware of the consequences of something wrong they did; in events like this you need to guide them through and explain the right way. Your ill behaviour or angry outbursts will leave them confused as they already find it difficult understanding their wrongdoing.

2. Talk instead of yell

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Raise your argument, not the voice – this works the best when you intend to make child accountable. Don’t end up terrifying the kids with a loud voice and abusive words, or worse, physical punishment; Show exceptional patience instead and talk to them with genuine concern.

3. Play in the same team

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When a mistake happens, it is advisable to not be on loggerheads with the child. Instead, show your empathetic side and work things out with them so as to explain to them how their actions can be hurtful to them as well as others.

4. Practice ‘time in’ instead of ‘time out’

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When the child has landed in trouble due to their actions, include them in managing the aftermath with you, instead of putting them on time out and feel alienated. By including them in the correction process, they know where they went wrong and how not to repeat the same error in the future.

5. Scaffold instead of a scold

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Learning is a never-ending process and your child needs support to develop and harness their skills. So, if they don’t know something or make a mistake, owing to their lack of knowledge, don’t de-motivate them by expressing disappointment or undue frustration. Guide them to do things correctly and be patient while they learn.

6. Point out the mistakes assertively instead of aggressively

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Body language has a lot to do when it comes to communicating well. Be more expressive verbally as well as physically while connecting with your children. Pat their back while consoling, put your hand around their shoulder while explaining their error. This also demonstrates them the right way they should adopt while expressing themselves.

7. Reconnect regularly

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Sometimes children make mistakes to get parent’s attention. Ensure they don’t feel neglected; boost your relationship by giving them enough time. Indulge yourself during this time doing activities they enjoy. Such moments are no less than rewards for your children. It makes them relieved that they are doing well and are loved for their flawed selves as well.

So, patience, perseverance, connection, and empathy are the tools that you must use if you want your child to be more accountable and responsible.

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How emotional neglect impacts your child

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Parenting is all about providing; and that is not limited to the basic necessities like food, shelter, healthcare, and education; beyond these there something that is much more crucial – emotional wellbeing that your little one derives from you. Not catering to your child’s emotional needs is termed as emotional neglect.

Kids, unlike adults, have no filters when it comes to express their emotions. They are sensitive and reciprocative; at the same time very impressionable. They understand the world as you show them and what the experiences they have at this early age, stays with them for life. What if you leave these emotions unattained? This does:

1. Depression in early age

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‘Yes Baby, I Understand, I am here for you!’ – This magical sentence is no less than a blanket of safety to the child’s psyche. There are several situations that may seem traumatic to your little ones; school bullying, learning disability, domestic abuse, fear of failure, etc. While they are under this stress, listen to them and respond with assurance.

If you neglect your little ones during this hard time, your child may eventually cave in and confine all their feelings within. This increases negative emotions and further leads them to depression.

2. Increase in negative behavioural activities

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Childhood neglect is more likely to cause a child to grow up in fear, learning to either become very aggressive or withdrawn. Both the extremes are not considered as positive behaviours. More so, when a child is unable to receive the required emotional support within the family he/she is likely to adopt ill habits like drugs and alcohol consumption.

3. ADHD and other mental health disorders

 

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ADHD and various mental health disorders are also common in children who are deprived of emotional soothing. Children who are neglected emotionally show lack of concentration; they tend to switch from one activity to another as they seek satisfaction from what they are doing. They are prone to anger outbursts, having poor learning abilities, and less tolerance. Many of ADHD symptoms are found prominently in children who have a disturbed environment at home or feel constantly neglected by parents.

4. Understand the difference between emotional trauma and positive stress.

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There is a difference between emotional trauma and positive stress. The pressure of accomplishing the task within the stipulated time is not emotional trauma, and being criticized or neglected for underperforming is not positive stress. Be intelligent in filtering the situations and tackle your child’s well-being likewise. Be helpful and understanding in your approach and help your child take positive stress constructively. When in state of emotional trauma, please consult them and be supportive to ensure they overcome it.

So start something with as simple as talking to your kids at the end of the day and know how it was. Remember that some positive stress is necessary for kids to learn and grow.

The parent is supposed to be able to see when to water a plant, how much, and when not in order to yield best results.

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Self-Care Ideas for New Mothers

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Motherhood is full of challenges and new experiences. There is a lot to take care of and ample changes to undergo. One of the few things that will abruptly change for you is your sleep routine. As new mothers, you have to adjust your sleep timings in sync with the baby’s feeding and sleeping schedule. It seems daunting and overwhelming for sure. Another change you would experience is that suddenly your entire world revolves around the newborn. Their likes, dislikes, schedules, development, needs, is all that you think and consider. Your “Me Time” takes a backseat.

A study suggests that 83% of the new mothers are reported to be working for about 90 hours a week; that clearly explains how exhausted they become with a baby on board. All these changes eventually take a toll and result in post-partum depression, anger issues, mood swings, and self-consciousness. However, this all can be avoided if you prioritize yourself amongst all this and decide to squeeze in a “time out” for yourself at regular intervals. Wondering how? Here are a few tips:

1. Do not compare with other parents, at all!

When we say parenting is an experience, it is given that it will be unique for all. Don’t get overwhelmed by provocative social media stories, message forwards, and even blogs that describe everything dreamy when it comes to raising a child.  Everyone has different challenges and thereby different solutions. Evaluate what is relevant to you and consume only relevant data and thoughts. Don’t feel guilty for not doing things that others are. Appreciate your efforts, stay positive, and take this journey one day at a time. Remember you are doing your best!

2. Other common tips you can follow:

Once you identify what your parenting style is, here are some tips that you can follow to ensure you take good care of yourself while raising the baby.

(i) Leverage your baby’s nap time

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Catch up on your sleep when your baby is napping. If you are not sleepy, make yourself a cup of coffee, indulge in reading, watch a movie that entertains you the best, listen to soothing music or do whatever that you find refreshing. You can also use this to finish menial tasks like laundry or dusting so that they are ticked off your to-do list. Afterall a sense of achievement de-stresses like nothing.

 

(ii) Get some fresh air

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Nature has the best soothing effect when it comes to relaxing a mind. If you have a beach nearby go for a walk. Alternatively, you can visit a park and soak in some greenery. If you have your little one along let them be engaged with some toys while you sit back relaxed not thinking or working for some time.

 

(iii) Rejuvenate yourself

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It can be as simple as enjoying a relaxing bath at home. You can use aromatherapy for an enhanced experience. Alternatively, make a spa or salon appointment and get yourself pampered. You deserve it after all. So just use this moment to soak in relaxing therapies and see your exhaustion melting away.

 

(iv) Talk to your friends

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Friends have always been your support system. Use your free time to reconnect with them. Sharing your moments of joy and pain with them will make you feel lighthearted and relieved. An appreciating listener gives you an outlet to vent out bottled emotions and satisfaction of not being judged while you are being heard.

 

(v) Meditate mindfully

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By this, we don’t just mean that you sit in particular asana and do a breathing exercise. Focusing on anything that diverts your mind productively is a mindful way of meditating. So, indulge in activities like painting, clay modelling, or anything that you love doing when you are free or the baby is busy napping.

 

(vi) Take help of family

Portrait parents and daughter at home

Share the load. Let your family help you in taking care of you as well as the baby. Discuss how they can lend a hand in day to day tasks and you can reserve some free time for yourself; use that free time for walking around in the block, meeting or calling a friend or maybe even working from home.

Self-care is important for all; new mothers are no exception. Don’t deprive yourself of the things you love; it is not a sustainable idea of parenting. Focus on being normal instead of being ideal and relax. You are doing great!

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Ways to identify kids’ strengths to help them achieve success

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Having outstanding expertise in any activity is called strength. Strengths play a crucial role in developing talents. All kids have strengths inbuilt and challenge along. As natural as it may seem to us as parents to focus on things that aren’t going well for our child; it’s just as important to see our child’s strengths.

It becomes challenging to identify what kids’ strength is and how to nurture it further so that it pays back later in life. Moreover, strengths take a further backseat in the present world filled with gadgets.

However, explained here are some of the ways to identify and improve the strengths to help kids grow into successful beings.

Is it actually the strength – what made you feel so?

A day in a kid’s life is full of activities. They play, learn new things, and engage themselves to keep themselves busy. But, some activities performed by them are such that can leave you surprised. Does your child makes amazing paintings, or gathers a lot of praise for the singing skill they possess or leaves everyone astonished by their dance moves, OBSERVE. This may be their strength. It is up to you then to channelize the kids’ energy in honing these skills that come to them naturally.

Four important indicators of strength

If you are confident about a kid’s strength one day and get confused about it the other, then follow this way:

1. How they perform in a particular craft

Kids playing with plastic building blocks at kindergarten

Your kids will do well constantly in the activity that’s supposedly their strength. The praise that they get will only motivate them to excel further. So, the consistency in performance is one of the key indicators of innate strength in the child.

 

2. Is it their choice as a pastime too?

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To develop an interest in strength, one needs time. If the kids are willingly devoting their free time to a particular activity and improving it day by day, then the activity is potentially their strength.

 

3. How energetic they are towards the activity

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Perseverance and persistence are other virtues that are required to develop a hobby or interest into a skill. Observe, their undying zeal towards a particular task or activity as the kids do not feel tired when they are doing something they love.

 

4. Do they question the outcome?

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Questioning gives way to finding better options for doing things, but being doubtful does not. Questioning in a constructive manner and not just as a worry of the outcome shows that the kids love the process. They are willing to keep trying until they get the perfect result if not succeeded in the first attempt. They don’t give up on something they want to excel at and that’s certainly their strength.

 

So, expose your kids to various activities when they are in their learning phase and have a keen observation and appreciation of what they do.

 

Lastly, know that there is a difference between interest and strength 

If kids are doing something only to get validation or attention, they will not stick to it for long. Also, the strength is something that is not sown into the psyche; it comes naturally to the kids. So, anything that keeps children happy but only ephemerally is their interest; it should not be mistaken for strength.

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Best time management strategies for your children

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Punctuality and good time management skills are essential to be successful in life. The earlier you teach this to your little ones, the better. Time management enables children with a sense of stability, security, and self-confidence.  For instance, children who attend school regularly, and on time, get a better sense of well-being and confidence. Toddlers, whose parents manage time well, experience a sense of ease and predictability, which helps them to perceive the world as a stable and safe place. Teenagers with a keen sense of punctuality tend to be more goal-oriented and successful in multiple areas of their lives.

So let’s look at some useful strategies that can introduce children to the concept of time management early in life:

1. Avoid Hustle and be careful about what they do. 

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Children, like all of us, have a lot on their plate. Right from attending classes, finishing homework, flaring well in extracurricular activities and more… In addition to this, they want to have some ‘me time’ where they can play and have fun. Now, to accomplish all this during the day, children tend to hustle and finish given tasks as soon as they can; in this process, they tend to commit errors. The errors identified can affect the children’s psyche in two ways. First, it drains them of the energy as they need to re-work on their assignments. Second, they become doubtful whether they would be able to ever complete the activity correctly in the first go. Hence, encourage children to avoid the hustle and focus on the task at hand. If they concentrate and do the tasks mindfully, they can accomplish their tasks in a given time and without errors. This will give them a sense of accomplishment and they can also make more room for additional to do’s during the day.

 

2. Prioritize and Improve Efficiency

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Is your child too busy doing becoming the jack of all trades? Too much of multi-tasking can lead to non-productivity and low efficiency. So help your child prioritize their tasks and analyze what is urgent and important to be accomplished on that particular day. This will also help them channelize their energy better and ensure nothing crucial is undone. To make it more interesting, you can include a combination of activities that they like with activities they have on their task list; For instance, if they like spending time online – on computer and mobiles, you can let them use the gadgets to research some useful information about the assignment they have to do.

 

3. Never procrastinate

Cute smart girl holding clock and pointing on it

A stitch in time saves nine. Hence once should never procrastinate. Delaying the given tasks accumulate workload and thereby creates panic at the eleventh hour. Later, to avoid the panic and dreadful consequences children end up doing shabby or incomplete work. This eventually results in poor performance and even punishments. Children thereby are affected badly and develop a negative approach towards the learning process. Hence, it is important to schedule tasks well and accomplish all in the ideal time.

 

4. Choose multi-tasking only if you are good at it

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Watching TV and doing homework simultaneously is one of the classic examples of multi-tasking that children tend to do in their routine, but not all can accomplish the same quality in work with divided attention. So, instead of letting your children multi-task and measuring their performance with other children; it is better to identify their capabilities and encourage them to follow a routine accordingly.

 

5. Be flexible but stay committed 

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Sometimes tasks take more time to be completed then what was estimated/scheduled. Also, not all days are the same and the energy levels of your little one vary based on the kind of day they’ve had and various other factors. In scenarios like this, you need to be flexible. Give your child some breather, allow them a ‘time-out’ so that they can come back refreshed and focused. If there is one crucial task that is time-consuming but has to be completed during the day, divide it into small portions and allow some breaks in between the execution. Teach children to drop the task only once it is completed in the best way possible to avoid stress later. So, the crux is to allow children to enjoy the process and accomplish the task as it is expected to be.

 

Time management certainly is an art. The above strategies will help children in doing tasks according to their capabilities; and also understand the importance of commitment. So, help your children in practising these strategies and groom them into responsible individuals.

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Hand over Social Scripts to your child

School friends talking

Social scripting is nothing but the process of providing children with relevant ways to express themselves appropriately. Children are exposed to new environments and challenges early on. Most of the time they feel confused, lack in self-confidence, remain worried and have dilemmas. To come out of it clear and good, social scripting will be a great help. Here’s how:

1. Asking teachers help

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It can be a question about an ongoing lesson, permission to answer the natures call, a new concept you couldn’t understand or anything else that needs attention; teach your children to get the assistance they need. As parents, avoid getting involved yourself and encourage children to ask the right questions, the right way and at the right time.

 

2. Trying to be a part of the game

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Kids struggle at times to make a participation request and as a result, end up sitting on the sidelines. Social scripting is about saying the right things at the right time; so coach your child about how they can approach the situation. They can look for someone familiar and make an inclusion request during lull time in the game.

 

3. Expressing emotions

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As parents, you need to talk out things with your children when they are frustrated or depressed. Ask correct questions, acknowledge their feelings, and be patient. This makes them feel comfortable and it makes them consider you as their confidant. For instance, if you see your child stuck on a problem for a while, you can ask them to take a quick break and start fresh with the solution attempts.  This will be the right way of taking the child out from a phase of frustration.

 

4. Rejecting an offer without making an excuse

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This is your child’s way out of peer pressure. There are situations where your child has to confidently say ‘no’ without a supporting excuse. For instance, you can teach your child to say ‘no’ when their friends ask them to play along for extended hours, but teach them to say it with reason instead of an excuse; so, they can say, ‘No, I cannot play further, I have got to finish my school’s activity.’ This brings assertiveness in their way of dealing with people.

Social scripting helps your children:

They stay safe as they are capable of saying ‘no’ to things which are not good for them. They do not tend to become people pleaser and make productive choices.

Since children now know what to say, how, and when, they are able to impress people around. They are not afraid of being in difficult situations, and so, it helps them enjoy being in the social scene. Thus, instead of sitting in the corner or avoiding going out in public, social scripting makes children more sociable.

Last but not least, it makes them more confident. Children practising social scripts can mould situations in their favour. They can get things done as they want, avoid altercations, and can handle new situations, too, with added ease. Thus, they stand out in the horde effortlessly knowing their scripts properly.

Good parenting is more about making children independent and confident rather than acting as the knight in shining armour for them all the time. The sooner children are weaned off the parental support, better they are able to deal with situations on their own. So, start preparing them for the unforeseen battles by giving them the power of words in the form of social scripts.

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3 ways of saying ‘yes’ to help your child grow better

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Saying ‘no’ is a part of the deal when you are parents. But constant ‘no’ becomes tiring for kids. Saying ‘yes’ has the power of its own. But, you need to add something more to it. Adopt the act of saying ‘conditional yes’, and see how it helps to imbibe wonderful qualities in your children and improve their behaviour and attitude.

 

Here are three important ways to say ‘yes’ that can help in grooming kids into positive and responsible individuals.

1. Say ‘Yes, when’ and develop responsibility

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Your kids will eventually be responsible for the decisions they make. Making them aware of the possible consequences of the decisions they will make from an early age improves their sense of personal responsibility. A simple way to do this adds a condition to your ‘yes’; doing this will teach your little ones that good things in life often come with a condition attached. For instance, when your child seeks your permission to be with friends till late, you can say ‘yes’, but only ‘when’ they promise to behave well. Or, you can allow them to play with their toys, but only ‘when’ they pack up the entire lot and put them back in place once done.

2. Say ‘Yes, if’ and develop decision-making skills. 

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Independent kids are capable of making their own decisions and also aware of the consequences. To imbibe this quality in your little ones add ‘if’ to your ‘yes’ judiciously. For example, say ‘yes’ to their request of going out to play but only ‘if’ they promise to be home on time. Or allow them to buy the toy they love but only ‘if’ they are willing to save their pocket money to buy it.

3. Say ‘Yes, and’ develop a benefit mindset

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In today’s world of high self- consumption, teaching a child the act of generosity can be challenging. As parents, you must imbibe the quality of ‘giving and contributing towards others welfare’ in your little ones from an early age. Leverage the act of sharing is caring, and develop a benefit mindset in your children by adding ‘and’ to your ‘yes’. So, for instance, when your child asks for your permission to go to a friend’s place, you can oblige with a yes and ask them to drop the younger sibling to his/her friend’s place as well. Or if they ask for a cake, you can oblige by saying yes and ask them to cut a piece for their sibling as well.

 

Using every opportunity constructively is the very essence of good parenting. Use the instance of saying ‘yes’ as a powerful tool for teaching some great values to your children, it will help them throughout their life.