Shaping of a Child's Persona

You can teach a child respect only by being respectful to your child.

You can teach a child gentle behaviour, only by being gentle in your interaction with her.

You can teach a child living lovingly however bad the situation is, only when you deal tough things lovingly.

You can teach a child patience, only by being patient with your child.

In other words,

You cannot expect a child to not hit other kids, while you hit her for her behaviour.

You cannot expect a child to not threaten kids, while you threaten her for not doing things your way.

You cannot expect a child to not react violently to other kids' actions, when you react violently to her tantrums.

You cannot expect a child to speak softly, while you speak to her in loud/threatening tone.

A child takes the form of parents' thoughts and behaviour.

The child may not immediately react to parents' inappropriate behaviour, but, everything is recorded and is usually shown in the child's social interaction.

So, what is the primary care taker's role? Is it to threaten that she's going to beat if the offered meal is not finished? Is it to threaten that someone's going to beat if she's being messy? Is it to shout out loud if she is not being heard by the child? Is it to secretly threaten/beat her and then say she shouldn't be behaving that way with other kids? Is it to react impatiently when the child is repeatedly asking for something? Is it to yell at her and then say she shouldn't yell? Is it to say that the child is younger and she ought to listen to what is being told?

No! It is a BIG No!

Children learn and take shape of what they are exposed to since their early childhood. Remember, as I keep mentioning in many of my posts, every moment you spend with your child is both precious and important. It creates an irreplaceable and lasting impression on the child's mind.

So, what are the key points?

When the child is saying something, hear her.

When she is asking for something, respond positively. It can easily be provided if it is in near reach. If it is not an appropriate time for it, do not right away say/shout 'No'. Tell her that she is definitely going to have it, but, that is not exactly the right time for it and she will have it the next day(or whatever be it). And, most importantly, try to fulfil your word.

When the child is being messy, let her be.

Let her enjoy that phase. You can always decide up to what stage she can get messy. But avoid saying 'No' as your first word. Patience is very importantly needed to handle messy situations. It is easy to forcibly stop the child from doing it and then ignoring the tantrum that follows. But it is impossible to erase that memory from your child's mind.

First observe what she is doing, then find something interesting in it and show her, observe your child as she is experiencing the joy, then gently, bend down to her level and explain to her that, the place is getting dirty and she can play the same way once again on a later day. Now, she can move on to another play(suggest her some activity of her interest at this point). And the child immediately moves on to the next play.

Respect the child.

Respect the child. Look at her as another beautiful soul moving around in innocence. Children are constantly learning. They are curious. They like to experiment. They like to learn from their failures. Sure, it is messy when they are left free. But, always having an eye on the child and guiding the child positively will definitely help reduce the mess and improve child's learning as well.

Do not yell.

You cannot yell at a child and ask her to stay quiet both at the same time. You cannot say 'eeeyy' and then stop her from saying in public. The frequency of both listener and the one who is saying should sync for the message to be conveyed. You need to get down to your child's frequency. Children are gentle beings. They don't understand it when the message is yelled at them. They need to be spoken to softly.

Love the child.

Love her not just at the beginning and end of every day by saying 'I love you', but every moment. You can read a related post here. Love her when she refuses to eat. Love her when she spills water. Love her when she smears paint over her body. Love her when she is trying to put something inappropriate in her mouth. Love her when she wants you to sit beside her during play. Love her when she tries to pick the mop and wipe the floor. Love her when she wants you to carry her while cooking. Love her when she asks for clay right at sleep time. Love her when she asks for inappropriate food just at the dinner time. Love her for being her. Thank her for being your child.

Here, the word love doesn't imply being permissive to everything. Lovable and respectful parenting is not the same as permissive parenting.

There may come a question, when you only keep loving the situation and do not react negatively, how does the child know what to do and what not to do?

Reacting in a negative way is not the solution to reinforce discipline in child. Yelling is not the way to instil good behaviour in the child. Your child talks what she hears from you and does what you did to her. Her thoughts are framed from your actions towards her.

As someone rightly said, 'Love conquers all'. Yes, truly, love conquers all. It conquers everyone and every negative feeling around you. Once you start loving the situation you are in, however hard it is, your mind is tuned to positive behaviour, all your muscles are relaxed, you can feel the calmness, your vocal cord is tuned to the frequency of the one who is listening and you react softly in a positive manner. From the child's perspective, because she was not right away stopped from being herself, having experienced her share of fun, she is now fine to move on to another activity.

When there is love, you are gentle and you have a solution to every situation.

P.S. Each parent has her/his own way of dealing things, tough times and tantrums. Likewise, I have my own, and have always been positively directed.

If any parent's questions are left unanswered after reading this post or have any new questions, please feel free to drop me a message in the 'Ping me' section.