In today’s day and age, kids are more aware, progressive and vocal than earlier. They like to speak their mind and make their own choices. As amazing as that is, sometimes as a parent, makes the job a little more scary and in our heads difficult. Circumstances often lead families to be in situations where only one parent is available to take responsibility. At Vidya Mandir I have taught a lot of students who come from a Defense background. This means they’re used to traveling and changing schools every 3 years, making new friends and changing their peer groups, and usually growing up away from one of the parents due to postings. I have personally counselled a lot of parents on parenting in such a situation, because it does get extremely difficult for a single parent to manage the house, their lives as well as the upbringing of their kids all together, all alone. There is a lot of pressure put on the single parent in this case, and I have always extended my support during trying times. Today, I wish to share all that with you through this platform.
Whether you are a single parent, working mother or stay at home dad, here are some tips that will make your life easier and your child’s life happier.
1. Communication is key
The best people to understand each other are a parent and child. However, due to difference of opinion, many times we misinterpret or ignore the signs for need for attention or help that a child gives us. The best way to build a healthy relationship based on mutual respect and love, is to talk to your child and actually listen to what he or she is saying. Take out five -ten minutes in your day to make sure you are talking to your child, how he is feeling, what problems are happening etc. Be open with how are feeling too, communication is a two way process and your child will only open up to you if he/she trusts you and knows you trust and speak to him/her too. Even when you disagree, don’t bury the issue but talk about the rationale behind both opinions. It will help you and your child both, understand each other better.
Even involving yourself in activities/games with your child will show your investment in your child’s life. This will strengthen your relationship and encourage your child to share and be open with you.
2. Balance both ways
In every relationship there must be compromise. There will definitely be times that you don’t agree with your child’s choice or point of view. Look at it from a third persons point of view and if the rationale makes sense, give in. Let your child know that you will be open to being convinced sometimes and agree to things while other times certain things are non negotiable. When you are considering a situation, try to think of it from a child’s point of view.
Do not play the good cop,bad cop game or put responsibility on the other parent/ adult around. Take responsibility for your desicions and explain your actions to your child. Your hold should be constantly reminded that you care, and his or her best interests are at heart. All stakeholders will sometimes agree or disagree with the child, neither has more or less pull or power to decide. Even if your spouse is working away, or visits after long gaps, you need to be on the same page so that treatment is fair and equal from both parties.
3. Practice what you preach
Children are very observant. They base a large part of their behaviour from what they see around them. This becomes a conditioned response and a part of their personalities. Considering that as a parent you spend the most time with your child, most of your traits will be handed down to him/her.
Think of the values you are always lecturing your children about. What are the identifiable actions that directly correlate to those values. Think about whether you set a great example for your child. For example , if you would like your child to respect all, do you treat everyone around you including your child with respect? What are the different ways you show respect and do you explicitly call it out. Likewise when your child is respectful, do you recognise the respect he or she shows and appreciate it? Your child will only take what you say seriously, if they see you applying it in your life too.
At the end of day, remember that your child cares for nobody greater than they do for you, just as your love and concern for them is larger than that of anyone else’s around them. Making sure your child knows this and actually believes it is the most important thing that will ensure a strong relationship and excellent parenting!!