As children our parents are the first people in our lives that influence us. We believe everything they say. They are our worlds. Just before we begin to make friends and get a little independent, they are our friends, our play mates, our care takers, our teachers, our guides.
So many roles in one. That does seem like a lot of pressure. But Healthy Parenting should not feel like pressure. Instead it is a transfer of values, culture, love and character. Of course it is a big responsibility, and comes with its ups and downs. It may also be correct to say that it is a transfer of our beingness that we subconsciously pass on to our children.
So then, what is 'Healthy Parenting'?
Lets say a child is being stubborn and throwing a tantrum because he/she just won't take no for an answer. A parent with the right skills will let them finish his/her tantrums. They will also help him/her cool down a little by making him/her patiently understand that what he/she wants he/she cannot get at this moment. Purely on the basis of their patience and their not giving in attitude, children finally learn to accept nos. Those nos that they will hear multiple times in their life ahead. These parents prepare their children to face the world and be able to cope with some of its harsh realities at an early age. This is called 'Tough Love'.
When you stand your ground and let the child know that once they have been told something, they are expected to listen and follow through, the child learns discipline and consistency. That does not mean the child will just obey you blindly. Children are inquisitive. They have many questions and are always finding meaning in the world around them. These questions should be encouraged. Given the right opportunities, children learn to inspect, introspect and discover how to live their lives fully and make use of all the resources they have been given naturally.
A child learns how to relate to the world around him/her by understanding the way his/her parents are relating to their world. So whether parents think its a good place, people are good, they are loved, they feel secure and many such positive outlooks will bring a sense of safety and trust about themselves and the world at large. But if the parents are living with insecurity, lack of love, anger and resentments, that is exactly what they pass on to their children. Their children become anxious, frightened, they can't trust themselves or others around and some think the world is a bad place to be in.
Hence a very big part of 'Healthy Parenting' is to first take care of yourself. Look into your own being and ask yourself; "Am I happy with who i am becoming?" The answer to your question will give you an insight about your own life and that of which your child is going to embark on. Yes, as adults we are working towards achieving our financial and material goals. And that is something your children will enjoy too. However, an emotionally secure and stable foundation is what your children will thank you for the most.
A big part of parenting involves being the kind of influence you would want your children to have in their lives. Unfortunately, with the fast pace life today, we have become complacent about raising our children. A very big influence these days is the 'Nanny'. This however does not mean that you should not leave your children with the Nanny. Rather the added help is making lives easy. But whilst you are at work creating your own identity, there is your little one who is constantly learning about his/her identity. And who better to help your child discover his identity than you!
Below are a few tips you can follow to develop healthy parenting practices. Make sure you are consistent with them and reinforce them to your children often.
1. Give your children undivided attention when you are with them. Everything else can wait. After all they have waited their whole day for your time.
2. Give them positive strokes when you like something they did. Also appreciate the effort when they miss the mark. It takes a lot of courage to even try.
3. Always give them a goodnight kiss, even if they have slept before you could say goodnight. The warmth and love will penetrate even while they are asleep.
4. Always remind them that they are loved no matter what happens. However teach them the consequences of their good and bad choices. They will learn to make more productive decisions.
5. Always practice what you preach with children. They don't learn from words, rather they learn from your actions. Consistently behave how you expect them to behave.