This is the fifth article on the subject, ‘How to raise healthy children’. If you haven’t read the previous articles, I recommend you do so. In my article, ‘How to raise healthy children (Part 4)’, I stated that the attention we give to our children matters a lot, as it can either make them feel desirable or unwanted. I added that however busy a parent may be, he or she must find time for his or her child.
Your child needs both quantity time and quality time. Presence matters in a child‘s life; it‘s like oxygen to the lungs. You need to spend time with your child to know how they are coping with life, and to have a parent-child relationship with them. More so, as a good parent, your child may be able to learn a few things by being in your presence. He or she gets to adopt your good qualities. Your child needs you to be his or her friend, discussing matters, sharing views, and sharing experiences.
When you listen to your child speak, the child feels loved, respected, and valued, thus solving the basic problems of antisocial personalities and narcissism. Most narcissists did not have good parent-child relationship with their parents. They were victims of all kinds of destructive criticisms, and their parents never valued them enough to spend time with them. They were never loved enough. If you treat and respect your child as though he were an adult, he begins to reason like one.
How to spend time with your children is by involving yourself in their activities. Study their books with them, and support them in what seems to be their strengths. If they love to write, sing, or play musical instruments, support them by providing them with the necessary resources needed to help them maximize their potentials. Constructively criticize them so that they can improve. Share your success and failure stories with them. Let them know that you are not so perfect.
Children want to feel that they are valuable and useful, and a way to convey this message to them is by allowing them to share their personal opinions on family matters. Their opinions may not be particularly useful, but the essence of the exercise is to make them feel that they can be understood and their opinions matter. Let your children join in family discussions, or at least sit through them, so that they can learn some things from them.
Your child is also capable of surprising you with very good ideas if you raise them properly. You may even come up with a teaser just to see what your child thinks about it. You may ask your child what he or she thinks about your boss bossing you around. Listening to what they think can help you gauge their intellectual and emotional wellbeing. One thing so many parents do not know is that they never truly know how special their children can be.
Teach your child how to relate with other people, watch out for bad influences, and take note of any form of victimization they may be experiencing. If you teach them adequately, trust them enough to make wise choices, and don’t get too nosy. Your child needs your support and constructive criticisms, not your destructive criticisms. One way to support your child is by showing interest in what they love and what they do. And one way to show interest is by showing that you want them to realize their full potentials.
Learn to use constructive feedbacks to raise your child. They will learn the habit and do the same to others. For instance, you could tell your child: You probably failed your examination because you did not understand the subject, and the teacher was too harsh on the students; I get it that you were afraid- is there anything you want me to do to fix this? Do you think I should buy more textbooks, or do you want me to be more involved in your school work?
By making your child think it’s safe to share their problems with you, they feel valuable enough to express the difficulties they are facing, and this is very good for a child. They feel unconditionally loved and respected by their parents. Let your child know what is right and what is wrong, but do not teach your child to be ashamed or feel less significant. It’s only natural to react angrily, but learn to control your anger, as it can be counterproductive.
Be involved in the academics and sport activities of your child. If your child is taking part in a competition, be there to support him or her. Be like a friend to your child. They will come to love and respect you, instead of fear you. Let your child be able to think back to those times he or she spent with their parents. If you are always there for your child, he or she will always be there for their children, and this will continue forever. And guess what, they will always be there for you too.
Children who are raised by parents that are positively involved in the lives of their children do not become destructive, rebellious, and tyrannical. They do not become vandals. The only life they know is one with respect and constant improvement. Because of the life they know, they are hardly susceptible to the negative influence of their peers. They have stronger characters, show empathy, and radiate with confidence. They live a fulfilling life and try to make a difference in the world.