Parenting 101: Raising a well-behaved child.

Being a parent is hard work. Parenting is not something that you can do for a couple of months or years and then just quit because you don't like it. Parenting is for life. And when we parent a child, not only are we raising them in our own household, we are also raising the future generation that will go on and maybe make the world a better place to live in. This generation that we are parenting also has to face the world when they grow up and it is our responsibility as parents to make sure that our children don't go out in the real world and screw it up for everyone else.

There are a few things that definitely should be kept in mind while parenting: Every parent is doing their best. There is no right and wrong with how you raise a child. If certain things don't sit well with you and your parenting style doesn't mean that you have to do it. Things, like breast-fed is best should not be the main focus of concern. With this developing day and age, a well-fed child is what really matters in the end. Whether you are putting your child in a walker, or co-sleeping with them or using a crying out method, these are all down to individual parents. As long as you are raising a happy healthy baby, no one should really bother with anything.


However, when a child grows, there are certain things that need to be established. Because children's brains learn and absorb faster than an adult brain, it is essential that you teach them an exemplary way of life so that when they grow up and move out, no one else has to bear the negativity that a parent instilled in them as young children.

Stop yelling at your children:
I have learned this the hard way. I have always been someone who speaks too loudly or someone who doesn't know how to control their temper and it really got to me when I had Azlan. I was yelling at him all the time. Taking my frustration out on him. But I realised the damage I was causing to a small child who doesn't even know why he was being yelled at. In turn, I ruined his confidence. He was so scared of me most times that he literally used to ask me for every single thing. The day he asked me if he could go in his own room and sit on his own bed, was the day I realised what I was doing. It broke me from within. That night, I lay down with him and sobbed my heart out. Most of the times we don't realise what we are doing out of habit and we just end up crushing our children's confidence. Once I realised what I was doing, I was more cautious of what I was saying and how I was reacting to certain situations with my son. So much so, that now Azlan wants to talk to everyone about every single aspect of his day.

Don't take your frustration out on your children:
I am a part of a lot of mum groups. Both from the South-Asian community and from the European community. And there is such a stark difference between the style of parenting, it actually amazes me. I am not saying anything is wrong with either of the two but its how women are conditioned to follow certain rules in every household. A lot of mums have confessed on lashing out on their children when they are frustrated with their spouses or their in-laws. Just because you are in a bad mood doesn't mean that you can lash out on your child. Would you feel good if your husband lashes out all his work anger at home? You would feel isolated and disappointed, isn't it? So imagine how a child would feel when you make your bad day turn into their bad day as well. I remember when I was pregnant and a friend just reflected on a situation where she had seen a couple arguing over something and the mother literally just threw her child in the car seat, taking her frustration out in that particular action. THAT situation has always stuck with me. No matter how angry I am with my family or my husband, I always make sure that my son doesn't have to face the effect of my tiff with anyone else. Always, always take a deep breath when your child comes to you while you are boiling with anger. That one single deep breath will help you realise that no child deserves someone else's frustration taken out on them.  

Learn to say sorry to them:
Isn't it funny? When we become parents, we think that we can move mountains. Yes, you might be able to but doesn't mean that you can build a wall of ego for your child. I grew up as an angry teenager. Every time I did something wrong, I was obviously told that I was doing it wrong. But even when it wasn't my fault, I wasn't apologised to. So when I grew up and had terrible relationships with friends, I struggled to say sorry. I struggled to apologise and I still do sometimes. So when you do something wrong in front of your child, make sure that you apologise to them. They will realise that you are human too and bound to make mistakes. They won't see you as a parent on a pedestal who can absolutely do no wrong. Not only that, when the child does something wrong, they will come to you and apologise for their mistake. A few days back, Azlan was whining about playing video games after spending the entire morning glued in front of the tv - I obviously said no. He cried and told me 'you are not being fair' - I decided to ignore and just sit and purse my lips. Two minutes later, after watching my face and realising he needed to apologise, he sat down next to me and told me he was sorry for asking to play video games all day and to say that I wasn't being fair. ALWAYS make sure that you apologise to your child when you do something wrong. Even if it is as small as bumping into them unintentionally. Manners always start at home. 

Talk to them instead of giving them orders:
This one is hilarious, especially in the desi community. Again, we deem ourselves as parents on a pedestal and children as our subjects. Have you ever thought of why your child doesn't listen to you when you tell them to do something and then you end up yelling? We don't reason with our kids. Instead of barking down orders at your child, reason with them. Tell them why you are asking them to do a certain thing. Like for example, instead of just asking them to clean up their toys a million times a day, you can just ask them very politely if they could tidy their toys up so you or any other sibling don't step on them and hurt themselves or break their toys. Kids can be really touchy about their toys. Tell them it will break and they will protect it like no other. Not only that but because you reason with them as kids, they will grow up to be individuals who will learn to make better decisions in life because they would know how to reason with situations. 

The world is changing and so should some parenting techniques. Just because our parents raised us differently and 'we turned out alright' doesn't mean that the future generation will be able to grasp the old parenting techniques. It is really really important to adapt. Humans are made that way. Humans learn to adapt. It a different world today compared to what we lived in yesterday. The smallest of things can trigger something big. Let's aspire to become parents and friends to our kids instead of people who 'raised kids' and become and example to the future generations yet to come. 



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