By Geeta Ramakrishnan
As mothers, we want to offer the best to our children in any given situation. This puts stress on us, wanting to be that perfect mom. We unknowingly stress our kids out as we want their future to be the best. We end up unwittingly judging them for not measuring up to our standards. However, we do learn and grow wiser with our children. As a wiser mother of two grown-up and married children, I can offer my experience for all the younger mothers out there.
I believe the one thing that positively impacts your children’s life is their level of confidence. They look up to you and expect your appreciation in whatever they do. It helps to keep your cool and be positive and patient in your approach when dealing with children. When your focus on their good behaviour outweighs your attention to the negative, you are indirectly helping them be more confident.
So what if your child did not score well in his/her math exam? Maybe he failed the test. Did you give him a hug first? Did you ask what happened and where did he/she go wrong? Did you praise your child for trying? Or did the fear of your child growing up to be a failure overtake you? Did you yell at him for failing? If you are angry and yell as a reaction, that is exactly what your child will learn. Judging him, calling him lazy for not putting in more effort and worse comparing his failure or bad behaviour to his ‘better’ sibling, works to the contrary.
On the other hand, pick up his good points, even if it seems small. Praise your child for every small thing to build his/her confidence. Test scores are just an outcome. By focusing only on a good score, you are not preparing the child to be successful for a bigger achievement. In fact, neither are you preparing him to face failures. There are bound to be ups and downs in life. But if you focus and applaud the child for the effort and not the outcome, this will be a good life lesson.
I am not suggesting that you overlook his pranks when it needs correction. Correct them with kind words, but it’s advisable to be tactful and clever about it. Maybe your child is not oriented towards math. Maybe you were not either. You will only dampen his confidence by yelling at him.
If you want a long-term sustainable positive effect on your children’s growth into a well-rounded adult, these small praises are the ones your children will remember. This behaviour will also nurture and contribute to their confidence and is a useful life tool. As children, they also learn to depend and look up to you, especially when they are in trouble. With your love and patience, you have earned their trust and helped build their confidence. This develops a healthy positive learning attitude in your child’s life, and it is one big factor to propel them into successful adults.
(The writer is author of the book The Game of Change.)