Many times I hear parents tell me their kids are naughty, they say all kinds of things about their child thinking they are deficient in some kind of way. The reality is no kids are the same, look at your own kids if you are blessed with more than one. You will noticed from basic mile stones like teething or walking they aren’t the same. So why would their reactions or behaviours be the same? let alone as children with different parents.
The Do’s and don’ts
DON’T Scold or Use Fear
Does your child have ‘negative’ behaviour or acts overly emotional? its normal for kids to do such, don’t scold them or make them feel they need to bottle it in. This leads to feelings of uncertainty and anxiety, we want our kids to talk to us even if they are a crying dribbling mess.
Many times I see parents telling their kid to ‘grow up’ or ‘get over it’ even to the point parents say ‘stop it, your embarrassing me’. really? your child is embarrassing you , well how do you think they feel to hear that? whatever they are crying about it’s because they are a child and silly as it may be its important to them so support them and try to understand you probably did the same.
None of us want someone to tell us,’ oh suck it up and get over it’ if we cried about something even if it was a silly thing for some reason it made us feel that way so we would want a supportive kind listener. Be that supportive, kind listening friend to your own children.
likewise don’t tell them if you’re not honest with me your going to get hit or punished you may find they will then be forced to lie because the fear of anger and punishment in their mind is more scary than just saying yes it was me then you scold them a little. I see parents using this tactic with their kids and i often ask , how do you know they are lying ? sometimes its obvious as mentioned above sometimes it’s not they say when my kids lie they do xyz and that is how I know. Really? well, all I can say is I know this well and I often find myself thinking the same thing but all kids learn from this is trickery and confusing others and is NOT the message we want to get across. If it’s not important or a big issue then if you believe your child is lying just let it go and spend some time outside of that moment a few hours later talking about lying and how it’s not a good thing and why. Don’t bring up prior issues of when your kid lied. Just spend some time educating them about it.
DON’T Name Call
This seems like a no brainer I know but often times as parents we don’t realise how much we ‘name call’ our own children. for example, when they don’t clean their room properly and we say, why are you being so lazy? why can’t you do things properly’ or when a child clearly lies about stealing the chocolate brownies from the bench because, well their teeth show chocolate in them, don’t say, ‘your such a liar i can see it in your mouth’ etc.
Instead opt for words of understanding and purpose, I know its hard but it will become normal. like the above scenario of the chocolate try saying,’ I know it tastes so yummy and you only wanted a little bit but mummy would appreciate the truth from you because we don’t tell lies .
The goal is to speak about the action in a 1) non blaming method and 2) non name calling way
so we don’t say things like you stole and that is bad I cant believe my child has lied to me about this etc.
This is so important I can’t emphasise this one enough, I mean the above are important but this one really is close to my heart. My mum would compare me with my brother a lot she would say, ‘ Your brother doesn’t do this ‘ or ‘ why cant you be more like your brother’.
It would make me very hurt because 1) I didn’t know clearly what was the problem or why its a problem and
2) I wasnt being advised how to change it or avoid it.
Parenting is very simple if we look at our communication and think how we can ideally go about it we should look at how we would like to be spoken to and advised.
Do Compliment and Encourage
When your child has good intentions even if they did something not 100% or maybe even that they shouldnt have really done, don’t scold them, don’t find their faults and point them out instead encourage them. YES even if they shouldnt have really been doing it. ( I promise I’m not crazy )
My son tried to make me coffee one morning and everyone knows I love morning coffee so, he spilt coffee all over the bench milk drips everywhere and not to mention the cream was half eaten, but he brought me this amazing effort in a half filled cup. My heart melted at his happy little smile and then seconds late my mind was like, oh noooo my poor kitchen. I sent him to wash his hands in the bathroom to inspect his battle field he left of wounded bench top and multiple utensils that got unnecessarily sacrificed for the sake of my little ones ‘effort in a cup’.
But then he popped back into the kitchen with the cutest bop in his step and I just laughed. I explained how nice my coffee was and that I love it so much that he wanted to make it for me etc then started the process of asking why certain utensils had cream on them. The best way to understand your child is ask , yes its simple just ask them and they will tell you everything. If they fear being in trouble and punished they will shut down. After this experiment he learnt certain things aren’t used to make coffee and also I learnt that he has a very creative spark and likes to figure things out by try and fail method.
Do Play and Educate
This is a huge one for my home, I love seeing my kids learning new things and how happy they get when they finally grasp it. such a fulfilling moment especially since I home schooled most of their life. I love the idea of kids learning through play, not in a weird ‘hippy’ way people think of but in the natural sense of it all yes. For example, when I see my kids making effort to recognise words and try to read I encourage that but I don’t push them into reading until 5 years old. Why 5 years old, I don’t know it just seems appropriate that kids should start trying around then.
How to implement play and learn? well, to be honest singing songs about things or making rhymes with the kids is my favourite. Sit them down and make up a rhyme with them and watch how many random words they throw in that have nothing to do with the actual topic. This is how they learn you then ask them why that word? Does it have anything to do with the topic? Why do they think it does? The reason this is my favourite is because you can do it with all your kids together, age doesn’t matter here. I generally tell my oldest to allow the younger ones to guess a little before they attempt and let us all have a little laugh. Then the younger ones see the flow of the rhyme with the older ones and they learn.
It’s so beautiful seeing my kids learning from me and each other. I will make more posts about games to teach your kids and learning through play in the future insha Allah.
I can’t emphasise this enough, the title is self-explanatory. TALK to your children, TALK to them about things even that seem a little mature for them sometimes. TALK to them at the end of the day about their day. TALK to them when they return from somewhere or seem down. TALK to them about what they are seeing and hearing at home if there are struggles going on just keep that communication open with them. Believe me, one day they will hit their teens and the last thing you want is a hormonal silent teenager who feels trapped and can’t talk to anyone except their friend ( who knows what kind of friend that will be that listens)
There is nothing worse than growing up and feeling as if no one hears your or even wants to listen to you. Talking to your children teaches them how to communicate their feelings and how to empathise with others. They learn by your actions and one day when someone else feels trapped and sad they will know how to talk with them and maybe even advise them. Every relationship in our life NEEDS communication and the healthier that communication is the more flourishing that relationship will be.
I could write about this subject forever but I will leave it here. Our goal as parents is to raise confident, understanding and tolerant individuals who will better our society and their own lives. To provide the tools for them to be able to stand up and be confident in themself and their own opinions even if they are wrong at least they tried, even if they fail at least they gave it 100% and learnt from it, even if they stand alone they stood by what they believed in.
What do you believe is the number 1 problem today with parenting and how should we fix it?