This is the sixth and final article on the subject, ‘How to raise healthy children’. Therefore, if you haven’t read the previous articles, I recommend you do so. In my previous article, ‘How to raise healthy children (Part 5), I stated that healthy children are children with healthy parents, because it is impossible for a parent to give out what he doesn’t have. A parent that loves and respect himself or herself will love and respect his or her child.
Children learn by imitating what their parents do. This process of learning is known as adoption by the child, or deposition from the parent. If you love and respect yourself, your child will love and respect himself or herself. If you are humble, your child will be humble. If you shout a lot, your child may learn to shout a lot. If you are tidy, your child will learn to be tidy. Thus, your behavior should be exemplary. If you live a faithful life, you are indirectly teaching your child to do the same.
Apologize when you wrong your child. Most parents don‘t do this because they find it awkward and think their children will abuse the privilege. They think it’s shameful and condescending. If you establish an understanding between you and your child, this shouldn‘t be difficult for you. The reason we do not apologize is because we have adopted this from our parents, and also from our society. It has become our belief system. We believe that our children are supposed to fear and respect us.
When you apologize, you demonstrate humility and humanity. Your child will also be able to demonstrate such humility and humanity when he or she grows up. By so doing, you help your child develop the habit of forgiving himself or herself, apologizing to others, and establishing a healthy parent-child relationship. There will be little or no rebellion and you will have a much healthier family. Remember, home should always be that place you come to when it‘s cold or corrosive outside.
Many parents do not know how to spend quality time with their children. Although, it isn’t easy to work all day long and still have time for your children, spending quality time with your children every day is essential. While a man may toil every day to make ends meet, the time he isn’t working would normally serve as his rest time. Yet, there is still that essential part in life where he must spend both quality and quantity time with his family.
As a parent, you cannot be with your child all the time. And although you’ve got to rest after work, you must create time to spend with your wife/husband and children. After work, the next thing that should come to your mind is how you must get home to spend time with your family. Teaching your family to be purpose-driven will also help them know how to value their time, as they aspire to do something great and meaningful with their lives.
Teach your children the art of reciprocal generosity. For example, children can always buy things for their parents, and there is no law that states that parents should be the only givers. This also applies to marital relationships. We live in a world where it is believed that men are the sole givers, whereas women should also learn the art of giving men. True love does not follow these meaningless societal ideals. Children should be able to willingly buy things for their parents.
When it comes to issues relating to a person’s ward subjected to psychological, physical, or sexual abuses from other people or from a member of their extended family, as many report these days, the parents of that ward have a lot of work to do. Extra care must be shown to such child, because he or she is emotionally in need of it. Psychological abuses are common in many families, and although they are milder in some families, they are more intense in other families.
Physical abuses may be less common than psychological abuses, but parents who have poor self-concepts may physically abuse their children, for they don’t know any better. We couldn’t possibly stress more on emotional stability and emotional composure. Alcoholic parents with insecurity issues also have the tendency to be abusive towards their spouses and wards. The fact that you do not experience physical abuses in your home does not mean every home is like your home.
Psychological abuse and physical abuse in the form of bullying are also common in schools and in some institutions. They can be corrosive on the mind. And while you may not know what is going on in your child’s school, you can establish a healthy parent-child relationship by spending quality time with your child, so that you can know what is going on in their lives. And you as a parent must be strong for your child at all times.
Any form of abuse towards children can be disastrous to their self-respect, ruin their sense of security in this world, and constantly incite them to be on their guard. Such children may grow up becoming belligerent, temperamental, grumpy, rude, or even timid. While parental-relationship with their wards can be the onset of this abuse, inhumanity and hostility from the outside world can aggravate the problem. But if parents train their children to be emotionally composed, this can be reduced.
Often, when it comes to matters relating to sexual abuse, the ward may become withdrawn, melancholic, and aggressive. Low self-esteem, feelings of worthlessness, depression, and trauma are experienced. Excessive abuse of any form may lead to chronic depression, shame-feelings, and in extreme cases, suicide-considerations. The victims of such abuse can become so habituated to these negative emotions that it becomes a struggle to extricate themselves from them.
Parents need to show more care and be more supportive towards their child who is a victim of abuse. Giving the opposite treatment would worsen the state of the child. Parents in this challenge have to constantly remind their wards that they love them. They must work to fill that void which has been dug by the abuse. With their love and support, the child should heal and regain his or her confidence. A traumatized child will always be in need of plenty love for effective recovery.