Ever wondered if you know who your child is really? Could you really be doing what’s best for your child? Can our ego be something that gets in the way of truly meeting their needs? Sure you’re the parent, and you would no doubt be in agreement that you know what’s best, but sometimes hearing the other side of things can really be an eye opener.
As parents, we need to recognize each child as their own person. It’s through this realization of their separateness and individuality that we are given an opportunity to challenge ourselves to grow. By meeting both our needs and those of our children, parenting becomes a partnership in which our children teach us as much about ourselves as we teach them about themselves. In this much healthier relationship, our children are no longer our possessions or extensions, and they flourish as their own person.
We hear so many parents complaining about their children’s weaknesses, and I find most do so because their children’s limitations evoke some sort of anxiety in them. It often turns out that, on an unconscious level, the parent is faced with an unresolved issue from their own childhood and perhaps wants to see their own child flourish in that aspect or perform better than they did.
More often than not, we find that through our interactions with our children, we get a glimpse into our own behaviour. This is the gift of insight our children give us. Changing ourselves to best meet our children’s needs instead of molding them to meet ours, isn’t easy.
It is important to remember that how we tune into our childrens needs as individuals, whether we notice their feelings and to how much time we put it in to interacting witn them, determines how well adjusted they grow up to be.
Every child is unique and once we as their parent recognize this, it would so much easier to allow them to be themselves creating an identity completely of their own and being content.
Here are some ways to consider opening up to the possibility of having kids be truly themselves:
- Become number one fans of their passions in life.
As your child develops interests in certain things, encourage them by becoming fans along with them. You may not like Pokemon, chess, or comic books. But, if your children do then they want you to be a part of it. Not only are you giving the attention they crave, you are also building their self esteem.
- Teach them to be assertive
One way to avoid self-esteem issues later on in life is to make sure your child knows how to stand up for themselves. Teach them to express who they are without feeling bad about it. Teach them that it’s okay to be different from others, and to follow their own dreams, no matter what other kids think or say about it.
- Give them a challenge
Challenge your child to find what makes them tick. Encourage them to explore different subjects and topics, and don’t disallow something just because you might not be interested in it. Once you find where your child’s interests lie, give them the opportunity to learn more, exploring their favorite topics with different experiences.
4. Earning and learning vs. “You’re so smart!”
Teach them that earning and learning is more important than the natural gifts they were born with. Many times, teachers or parents will get trapped into praising kids with the usual, “you’re so smart!” While it’s important to praise a job well done, “being smart” isn’t always about the intelligence that we’re born with.
- Attend their events
Make sure to attend events of things your child is passionate about. Do they play on a sports team, have dance recitals, or chess tournaments? When these events come around make it a point to take the whole family to support them.
This is a part of who your child is becoming and it is so encouraging to have the people they love most for their support.
- Give them a chance to make decisions
It may not always be a bad thing to allow your child to make a decision about what he wants for dinner that night or allow him to select his own clothes, just for that day. This would help them to develop decision making skills and independence.
Your children need and deserve love, acceptance, and respect regardless of what they do with, their hair, who they want to date, or which career they wish to pursue. When our children grow up connected to their own needs, they quite naturally connect to the needs of others. This paves the way for a truly fulfilling life for every child, as well as a wonderful and enduring parent-child relationship.
By Zahedi Samsudeen