I recently read an excellent article that I have to share with you.
Here are some of the nuggets of parenting wisdom from the write-up:
THE key to nurturing your children to become well-rounded adults is to understand that it’s not really about what you want your children to be, but about doing your best to develop your children to their full potential.
Consultant paediatrician Datuk Dr Zulkifli Ismail, says: “Unfortunately, some parents are just too eager to ensure their children get a head start. You’ll be surprised to know that some five-year-olds nowadays are spending their weekends in tuition classes.
“And when these children do not turn out the way their parents want them to be, the parents get so upset that they begin to be less affectionate to the children. This in turn has such a negative impact on their development and self-esteem.”
So as to ensure children develop to their full potential, parents need to understand how all the aspects of child development interrelate with one another from birth to maturity.
“Also, talk to your child. Find out what he likes and dislikes so that you will not ‘torture’ him without noticing it. ”
Common pitfalls of parenting
If you’ve ever felt that children nowadays are growing up on fast-forward mode, you’re not alone. Consultant clinical psychologist Assoc Prof Dr Teoh Hsien-Jin, for one, is someone who agrees with this view. “We’ve noticed that there is a change in development within this country,” he says. “For instance, four-year-olds nowadays can easily operate DVD players or use hand phones to take photos.”
Assoc Prof Teoh says that although many parents are proud of such accomplishments, they don’t seem worried about whether their children develop basic social skills. “Parents today are overly concerned about academic achievement and are neglecting their children’s social development.”
He points out some common areas where parents often go wrong when it comes to equipping their children with the necessary social developmental skills, and what they can do to remedy the situation:
1. Leaving it all to the maid
Successful parents do not always bring up successful children. This is because their commitment to work often leaves them little time to spend with their young ones. These parents instead leave their children totally in the care of the maid, depriving them of the love and affection they need from parents. Spend some time with your children and let them know that they still have a secure relationship with you.
2. Not allowing them to help out
Your children are never too young for simple chores. Besides, you cannot always do things for them. Some parents give in so much that their children begin to boss them around.
Letting children help with things around the house will help them develop. Folding blankets, making their own beds and allowing them to set the dining table will not only improve their motor skills, but will also give them a sense of responsibility that boosts their social development.
3. Praising only the ‘As’
Praising your children definitely makes them feel happy. But why only praise them when they do well in their exams? Do you praise them when they act in a school play? Or sang on Teacher’s Day?
Address your children’s talents and encourage them even when you think they should be doing something else. Try to understand and see things from their point of view. Remember that you’re not always right. For all you know, it could be something that they would want to do for the rest of their lives, so recognise and appreciate all their abilities.
4. Telling yourself that ‘they are just children’
You notice your child spitting on his friend’s hamster, but all you do is laugh and ignore it, thinking that there is no need to scold him as he’s just a child.
When parents do not correct such behaviour, or worse still, become role models by behaving badly in front of their kids, children will grow up thinking that it’s okay to misbehave. This often leads to anti-social behaviour that will be practised throughout their lives. Children need to learn the appropriate social behaviour. If you do not start now, when do you think you should?
5. Letting them learn solely from TV
Some parents think that placing their children in front of the television all day will improve their vocabulary and make them more intelligent. Little do these parents know that real interaction is essential. Children may understand words that they hear on TV, but will not know how to use that particular word until they practice it.
The next time you let your children watch television, join in and talk to them. Discussing subjects that interest them will develop speech and language skills and also encourage creative thinking.
6. Using threats and lies
How often have you used phrases such as “Come inside or the ghosts will come after you” or “Behave yourself and I’ll take you to the mall”? Many parents think that threatening, “blackmailing” and lying to their children will gain them some compliance and respect. They don’t think, however, of the negative images, thoughts and false hopes they’re instilling in their children.
Children are vulnerable, they get hurt and confused easily. Threats and lies will only add up and interfere with their personal and social development.
Assoc Prof Teoh has these words of advice: “Think carefully about what you are doing to your children now. If you wish for the community to move forward, nurture your children’s abilities and mould them to become good individuals. Build a good foundation for the future because your children will be passing it on to the next generation.”
Source: I wanna grow up to be …