By Vaibhav Datar
There is a reason for calling parents the first teachers for children as they learn so much just by observing us. And it is our responsibility to pass on skills they could use for their lifetime. As parents, we are constantly learning so much from our growing kids. Each day, it is about learning to feed to learning to care, be gentle and controlling our anger. In fact, we may inculcate some habits in ourselves, just so that our kids learn from us.
As a mid-life coach, I have seen so many parents with teen kids coming up to me, with problems like the child not sleeping on time, not being focussed, always being on the mobile phone, etc. If we take a closer look, we realise that we may have done the same at their age. It is a passing phase. We yearn to earn our “good parenting certificate” from our kids. I believe that kids need to learn certain basic personality traits from us. Here are some of them.
We all know how curious a child can be, making us wonder where they get their questions from. Children tend to question everything, sometimes challenging our belief systems. Just telling them “because we say so” does not help. We need to go deeper. We need to explain concepts and rituals that even we are not really sure of. It could be because our parents asked us to follow something blindly. As adults, we lose our capacity to question. We accept things as they are. We must remember that development happens not because we accept things as they are, but because someone challenges the status quo. So, create space for your child to ask questions.
Learning to listen
Have healthy dinner table conversations with your child and get into the habit of having at least one meal together as a family. Dinner is a great time to bond together, share your thoughts and experiences and listen to your family. A family that eats together, stays together. Let this thought be imbibed in your child. The dinner table talks and etiquettes will help children respect others’ perspectives and give an opportunity to listen and learn from you.
A child learns from you, your interaction with the spouse, family members and friends. He is a sponge ready to absorb almost everything. He will learn to handle emotions the way you express them. If you are prone to getting angry, he understands this as the way to interact with the world and so he gets angry as well. Remember, a child is never taught to handle emotions in a school, which is more about building them intellectually. It’s at home that a child learns emotional skills. So never lose an opportunity to show them how you handle emotions with utmost maturity.
Dealing with older kids
A child learns so much by playing with kids older to him. When a child plays with the peer group, he does not know how to handle leadership or authority. In the long run, especially in a professional setup, he is going to be an employee one day. For him to perfectly handle work pressure and manage his boss, he has to hold his own. He has to be a risk-taker, assertive and outgoing, skills that can be learnt in a playful environment, when he interacts with kids older to him.
Good food and physical fitness
Never before has so much importance being laid upon physical fitness. Is body your master or are you in control of your body? There will be outside influencers like junk food and an inviting bed that will tempt you to lose focus. Let your child know the importance of good food and physical fitness. Let him be a master of his body and bodily needs.
(The writer is a mid-life coach and author of Simplify Your Life.)