Everyone knows that we raise children, not with words, but with our actions. A child grows and forms in the image and likeness of parents. Therefore, mothers and fathers need to work hard on themselves, first of all. “To defeat the old man in yourself” – as Fr. Andrey Lemeshonok, a spiritual father of our convent, says. In this material, prepared jointly with children’s teacher Polina Kotova, parents will find some practical tips that will help them to avoid the most common mistakes in upbringing.
Children are imitative. They learn from us not only when we play, work, or do homework together, but simply by watching us. Our views, beliefs, communication culture, lifestyle, atmosphere within the family, attitude to elders and work – all these are bricks in the foundation of the child’s personality.
On this issue, Anton Semenovich Makarenko, world famous educator, teacher and writer, wrote: “Your own behavior is the most decisive thing. Do not think that you educate the child only when you talk to him, or teach him, or give orders to him. You educate him at every moment of your life, even when you are not at home. The way you dress, talk with other people and about other people, the way you rejoice or grieve, communicate with friends and enemies, the way you laugh and read the newspaper – all this is of great importance for the child. The child sees or feels the slightest changes in tone, all the turns of your thought reach him in invisible ways; you do not notice them”.
Children are miniature crystal copies of their parents who, when handled correctly, can shine and delight us with beauty, or can scatter into thousands of pieces.
The child needs to communicate with adults, he needs their love and care. But thoughtless parental love, without basic knowledge in the field of education, can bring some harm. Over-protectiveness, ‘all is forgiven’ attitude, and undemanding are as destructive as excessive rudeness, violence and indifference. We need a balance: to learn to see in children both positive and negative sides in behavior in order to understand how to help them.
So, what mistakes of upbringing should be avoided?
– Try not to react to the child’s bad behavior with screaming, threats, scandals, physical punishment in a rage. It only pushes the problem deeper. In response to such a negative reaction, the child falls into a stressful state in which he is simply not able to hear you. The best way to get out of a difficult situation is hug. And only when the kid calms down and stop being fussy, it is possible and necessary to discuss with him what happened, to talk about his and your feelings, to think together what is the best way to act in such situation.
– Listen to your children. It is extremely important for small persons to see that they are being listened to. It is extremely difficult to negotiate and compromise if you do not believe in the capabilities of your child. Do not dismiss him: “You are too little to know! You are not mature enough to understand! ” If you disagree with something, convince him consistently of your position, offer an alternative. He must have a choice.
– Be simple, attentive and good-hearted in communication. Try not to spill your anger, annoyance on children. Breathe, go to another room. Remember the most effective way to calm down – to pray. Try to maintain a warm marital relationship, say more tender and kind words to each other. Do not put your personal problems on small fragile shoulders. Remember: in the future, the child will transfer your family model to his family.
– Respect your child at any age. Be attentive to his hobbies, interests, and needs. Patiently listen to what he wants and why. Explain the benefits or harms of his actions. He must hear not only “you can’t”, but also why precisely these or those actions are dangerous and unacceptable.
– Do not seek to control the child constantly. Avoid over-protectiveness, suspicion, and disbelief in his independence. Give little tasks to him. Yes, making dumplings yourself will be much faster and more accurate. But if you always pick toys up, wash dishes, or sweep yourself rejecting the help of the child, albeit clumsy, – you are raising a non-initiative and irresponsible person.
– Parents’ expectations about the character and success of children often do not coincide with reality. They perceive minor failures of children as large-scale tragedies. Love your child, do not put your unfulfilled desires onto him. Today you have music lessons, tomorrow – tennis, the day after tomorrow – English, and finally – drawing with math. And all this while being three years old. Curb your impulses! Excessive requirements cause nervous and mental strain in children. Study your kids, consider their abilities, strengths and weaknesses, age-related opportunities. Adjust the load and remember: children develop best during the game.
– In parenting, consistency and coherence are of strategic importance. Work out some family rules and restrictions with your loved ones. The child must know the rules clearly. Spontaneous changes, inconsistency in the decisions of mom and dad, parents and grandparents – all this teaches the child to manipulate, makes him fussy and unbalanced.
– Whatever you do, you can’t compare your child with someone else. Such comparisons develop selfishness and envy, lower self-esteem, and lead to even greater denial by the child. In the future, it will be difficult for him to accept and respond normally to other people’s successes.
– Children are sensitive to the intonation and emotional coloring of what is said. Do not allow rude words and negative evaluations towards a little human. This forms an inferiority complex and blocks development. If the child did something wrong, evaluate his act, not his personality. It’s correct to say: “Now you’ve done bad thing, because …” but in no case “you are bad”. And, of course, if one constantly tells the kid “you don’t know how to draw”; “let me do it myself, you cannot build”, etc. – self-confidence is lost instantly, and it will be very difficult to regain interest in these or those activities.
– And one of the most important tips: always be sure to keep your promises, even if this promise is punishment!
To summarize, we parents need to work harder on ourselves. And remember that there is no more reliable, durable and promising investment than our children. Today, fathers and mothers, trying to create the most comfortable conditions for their children, are working round the clock. But no matter how many clothes, toys, classes and travels they have, the most precious thing for little persons is our time and attention. Only parental care and love can make them truly happy.