Witnessing your little bundle of joy grow into a human with ideas, opinions, habits, is one of the most amazing and integral aspects of parenting. Parents often wish that their grown up kid would revert to a tiny toddler with rosy cheeks. Watching your child grow and being a part of that growth is challenging, yet rewarding. Every child is unique, and so is yours. As parents, nurturing the child’s unique qualities is important. It might not be easy, but it is necessary to do so.
Shaping your child’s personality
A child’s personality begins to shape up in elementary school. It is during this phase that your child develops an introverted or extroverted personality, their creative minds begin to grow, and you will discover whether your child is organised or disorganised in life. As a parent, you even discover the temperament of your child and parenting skills help shape the child’s personality. The upbringing, socioeconomic status, the core values, all together make your child a unique individual.
Providing for your child
Physical needs, including food, clothing, shelter, are something every parent strives to provide for their child, irrespective of their background, economic status, ethnicity, etc. What can be a challenge however, is providing for a child’s emotional needs. There is no textbook for parenting, no hard and fast rules to tell you what and how to do. Parenting styles are umpteen and every parent, at every stage, tries to give their very best to their child. Striking a balance between physical and emotional needs of a child, without trying to use one to compensate for the other, can help your child grow into a good human being.
Set reasonable expectations
Every child goes through certain stages in development. As a parent, it is important to be aware of these stages and set reasonable expectations. Do not expect too much or too little from your child. When your child accomplishes something, make sure you appreciate and applaud it, and when your child makes a mistake, help them learn from it.
Help your child express their feelings
Your child, though way younger than you, is an individual with a mind and heart of their own. Your child too experiences all sorts of emotions - joy, anger, anxiety, fear. As a parent, try to understand what makes your child feel the way they are feeling, and help them express their emotions, rather than suppressing them. Bottling up emotions can lead to violent behaviour as a means of letting out those emotions.
Communication is key
Keep communication channels open and listen to your child. As your child’s mind begins to develop, they build their own opinions and sense of understanding. As a parent, these views might be different from yours. It is therefore important that you promote mutual respect & trust, and avoid raising your voice. This will help your child express their thoughts clearly and eloquently. Encourage your child to ask questions, foster thinking, and give your child the freedom to talk about any subject.
Set an example
Whenever in doubt, look within. Are you setting the right example for your child? Children often emulate their parents, and you might want to be at your best behaviour and showcase your problem-solving skills. Your child might react in ways you might not expect. If you feel overwhelmed with your child, do not shy away from seeking help or guidance.
Let your child explore
If your child is timid, help them open up. If your child is gutsy, let them explore. Never compare your child with another. It lowers their confidence and self esteem. Celebrate your child’s uniqueness and help them embrace it too. Be a part of your child’s adventures. Grant them independence and steer them as they face life’s ups and downs.
Parenting is a challenge and you learn it as you go. You can never be a perfect parent, but you can be a good parent. Love your child unconditionally, teach them how to apologise, to be thankful, to be forgiving. Nurture your child’s true spirit and for this you might have to stop doing things that you are doing. Take a step back and let your child shine for who they are.