Your child and you II

A small recap

In the last article titled ‘your child and you-I’ I spoke of ISP and the best you can do with your baby, the toddler. I will move to the next age group in this part, the 5-12 years age group and what may be in store for the parents during these years of parenting. For the pregnant moms, who have read the article and enrolled for the ISP classes; good luck to all of you and I can assure you that you will be immensely benefitted. You are already on the road to joyous parenting. For those who are already in the ‘old’ category like I was when I joined the program, no harm done. We simply must practice honesty with our children and love them to their fullest. Children are unique and incomparable; all formulae need not bring the same results for every child.

A small note before I go to the next age group: I deliberately left the food part out for the toddlers. India is such a blend of diversity that it is next to impossible to pin down on anything common for a child to eat and drink and say , ‘Give this only, the child will be healthy!’ The culture and food habits are related and then the geographic location and food availability define the culture of the place. For north Indians wheat is a must for the southerners rice is a must. My mother used to insist on garlic, excellent for lactating mothers, my in-laws house is garlic –banned place! My chances at ‘good lactating’ were squashed the day I married this family! So, my only suggestion is mum’s milk of course, till it lasts. Introduce fresh home- made stuff and stay away from canned food as much as possible, especially the first 3 years. Now, to continue with toddlers…

The busiest 7 years

Toddlers are biggest mischief mongers and by the time they turn 5 all the tricks in their book are out in the open and they have very few in their kitty. So the parents also breathe easier and have a little free time on hands, with the children going to pre-school and beginning formal school. The days of being at their wits end and hair rising din are thankfully out of the way and very little shocks these well trained parents anymore. The parents get a good chance to have the upper hand with this age group , in the sense they can introduce rules , give instructions to get a few things done independently, set a time table for the them, some activities to be done on their own, some family time, some play and friends time etc. Instead, the parents begin to get used to this little free time, and the full night’s rest as they are out of the ‘staying up through the night phase’, enjoying a little freedom and have a few hours when the toddler is at school, so it is very luring, to grab another few hours of peace or freedom or sleep, if you can get the child to do what you want. They innocently begin the blackmail game of, ‘do this or eat this, you will get to watch your show or you will be given an extra chocolate’. I notice most parents with children in this age group are either shouting, ‘No, no, no don’t do this, don’t go there, don’t run, don’t touch….’ A string of ‘No’s’ or trying to cajole the child with, ‘I will give you this, buy you that, take you there, do this…’. Already the children are grooved into a life of blackmail and bribery, right at home. I know it is very tempting for the tired parent, but it is strictly taboo. This is exactly the kind of long casino online run harmful habits that I wish to warn the parents against. Most of my counseling cases deal with this issue and I am tired of telling each parent, individually, you brought this on yourself! You thought you were in control and you could get the child to do things your way, but in no time the tables turned and you end up doing everything to the child’s bidding, yielding to every whim and fancy. So, please parents, hold on to your temptation a little longer; that is all. By the time the time the child is 7-8 they are very independent and have 10000 things to do. They will have no time to bother you because you would have occupied them with so many other educational distractions! Play the smart parent. Let them walk into the trap rather than vice versa.

Begin with learning from the child than teaching the child. Reason being, the more you are with your children the more you really get to know them. The longer you black mail them, you will remain in the dark about what they really want. One by one they will explore, it takes patience, but the result of patience is always sweet, yes? So play along peacefully please. Remember the brain cells they have and their count; think of what slim chances we have, at our age, of out smarting them! So, smartly learn from them instead. Then the parent has the advantage of knowing the child inside outside and everything about the child’s world is like an open book to the parent. Now you can start the extra-curricular classes, based on the interest of the child. I found the ‘Multiple –Intelligences Test by Howard Gardner’ very helpful in this case. It narrows down the options effectively and you can start moving on the right track from this tender age itself. No time is wasted and the child ends up with a career of choice and liking too.

Secondly, a suggestion, please enroll your child to any one creative class, it may be drawing, dance, music- instrumental or vocal, anything on the fine arts side. Nothing else inculcates discipline in the child in a natural way. Dance music and arts still the child, rather force the child to sit and a gradual sense of calm and composure comes to the child. Most of the children with attention problems are only begging to be put into something like this; and this is the perfect age. The academic pressure is nil and they have too much time to kill with too little to occupy them! Even if this is not a career option for them, no harm will come. This paves the way for everything else that they will want to do in future. Many parents enroll them into karate classes to bring in some self confidence etc, I am not their mom and they do know the best for their child, but as a counselor, I wish they wait till the child crosses 12 years at least before putting them into such classes.

A smart parent need not be a house wife or a full time mom, a smart parent simply needs to know the child and be with the child when with the child. As for the rest, time flies and you will be enjoying every minute of parenting, re-growing, re-learning and bonding with the child.