As the saying goes, ‘The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,’ which is to say that a kid’s behaviour and characteristics are derived greatly from his parents. It implies that the manner in which your child behaves is drawn largely from your interaction with him. Aren’t we quick to judge a child’s upbringing if we notice behaviour issues with him?
As a parent, you always want the best for your child, but sometimes, inadvertently, your behaviour can pass on the wrong message to them. You may not be aware of the extent that your actions and behaviours affect your child.
As you are his first and foremost role model in life, his beliefs and prejudices are greatly impacted by your own. Parenting is a full-time job so even with the best of intentions, sometimes you are in a dilemma on how to conduct yourself around your child. If only there was a guidebook on good parenting behaviours!
Take the following 5 bad behaviour patterns as red signals in your parenting approach. If you notice yourself behaving in the following ways with your child, then you need to introspect yourself and change them. We will also show you classic examples and suggest a better way of interaction so as to bring out the best in your child during his most formative years.
Physical and verbal attack
Witnessing small children hitting their friends while playing has become commonplace. While it may look like innocent banter, in reality, it is an outcome of the effects of bad parenting. Unbeknownst to you, your child may mimic your behaviour, so if hitting and cursing is your way of maintaining discipline, you need to think twice. Sometimes, kids pick up such behaviour from other kids. Nevertheless, you should talk to him openly and insist that it is intolerable. Additionally, educate him about the implications of his actions and hold him responsible for his bad behaviour.
Example – When your child uses swear words with other kids, the last thing you want to do is raise your hand or launch into verbal abuse yourself. All it will do is teach him that such behaviour is acceptable. What you should do instead is lead by example and show him that hitting or cursing is not the right way to behave. It is rightly said that actions speak louder than words and when your child watches you act a certain way, he will follow suit.
One of the best things about growing up with siblings is that you have a companion to share your daily experiences with. Sadly, there is some degree of sibling rivalry as they are competing for the same things: to be mom and dad’s favourite child or for social acceptance. It creates a divide between siblings when, as parents, you compare him to his siblings or friends. Your kid may start feeling inferior and jealous and act out by indulging in bad behaviour. Your kid needs to know that he is unique and loved for who he is. It can hamper his self-worth in the long run if he feels left out. Good parenting involves correcting your child for his mistakes while giving him plenty of room to improve.
Example – When exam fever is rampant kids inadvertently get compared to their better-scoring siblings or friends. If your child has scored fewer marks in an exam as compared to his siblings or friends, don’t reprimand him for his inabilities. It causes his sense of self-worth to take a nosedive. An encouraging word like, “You tried your best, and I am proud of you” will be duly appreciated by your child. Every kid is born with a unique gift and studies are not the be-all and end-all of life. Instead, enhance his natural talents, be it cooking, acting, or playing sports and watch him put his best foot forward.
Childhood is all about learning new things through experimentation and trial-and-error. At times you may feel at your wit’s end with your child’s never-ending questions and arguments. He is bound to make mistakes, and if you let your temper get the best of you, or worse still, stop talking to your child, he will undoubtedly blame himself too. Never stop the channels of communication between you and your child. Recharge yourself and go back. Some of the things you should never say to your child are, “Leave me alone!” and “Stop talking to me!” It will only make him feel like a liability which cannot be further from the truth. Instead, drive your point home by talking to him using the correct tone and expressions. Another important aspect is to listen to his point of view and justifications, acknowledge it and offer a middle ground that works for both of you. Parenting is the art of patience after all.
Example – At times, when your child is throwing a tantrum to watch TV, you may want to give up and isolate from the situation. But retaliating your kid’s behaviour by shunning him will only make matters worse. Rather hold your ground by insisting that he can watch TV after he finishes his dinner. Direct communication is the only way to get through and learning to negotiate will go a long way with your child.
Kids are born with a strong sense of self, even though some may be deemed unsuitable by society. When you use phrases like, “Boys don’t do that!” or “You are a girl!” you are limiting their capabilities. Your support means the world to your child, so when you reprimand them, they feel lonely and isolated. Encourage their natural talents and dispositions as it empowers them to be their true self. Your kid needs to know that he or she can do anything that they set their minds too.
Example – If your daughter shows an interest in sports like football, which is predominantly a boy’s game, get her enrolled in suitable classes. Although society dictates that girls don’t play tough sports, your belief is the one that matters most to your child. By showing faith in her abilities, she will feel encouraged to excel. And who knows, she might pave the way for many girls like her in the future?
Labelling him as a bad child
One of the worst parenting mistakes is not knowing how to scold a child for bad behaviour. Sometimes in a bid to discipline your child, you may end up using harsh words, not realizing its adverse effects on your young one. Kids take everything personally as they lack the ability to distinguish themselves from their actions. So, words like, “You are a bad child for making a mess!” can end up having a debilitating effect on their self-esteem.
Contrarily, your words should reflect positivity and instil in him a sense of worth. By using statements like, “If you jump from the bed, you will hurt yourself” you are teaching him that his actions have consequences. Rather than using a judgmental tone, explain to him that his bad behaviour may cause inconvenience or harm to others or even himself.
Example - If your child has broken expensive glassware at home, your anger may be justified. Instead of losing your temper, show him that at his young age, he cannot manage breakables on his own. Avoid using words like, “No! Don’t touch that,” but rather negotiate with him so that he can do it under the supervision of an adult.
Good parenting is all about being emotionally attuned to your little one’s ever-changing world. Your kid hangs onto every word you say
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