The Harm We Do

As parents we often are the first ones to destroy and suppress the children’s abilities and talents. We may have logical justification for our acts and words but the way ‘we act and in turn how the children react’ can carry negative implications.


Through this article we will try to clear how through our acts, we push children downside.


1.       Children are like fingers and finger pints- please do not try to match


The first thing that needs to be highlighted is that stop comparing and matching people and especially children. Like all fingers cannot be of same size, similarly we know that even identical twins have different fingerprints. While we might be giving comparisons in order to make a child learn that ‘we want you to do this or behave like that’, the children’s mind can often conceive it in another perspective with the result that the more gaps are put in between children and parents and this clearly affects children social and mental growth. For instance you might say “Salma is so good in studies and sports” to your younger daughter to help her put in efforts to be like Salma, the child may conceive and perceive it like this that “Salma is good” it means “I’m no good”. Result? The opposite: Child starts to live in distance from the parents and starts to underestimate him/herself keeping a low self esteem about ownself.

You want the child to progress, evaluate the reasons, try to understand what factors could be acting as a hindrance? Encourage and facilitate and you would see how quickly the child learns and improves.

Another factor is often the child associates ‘being good’ to something external such as ‘studies an sports’ instead of focusing on good morals, ethics and manners.


2.      Know the children type:


Some children are stubborn, some are shy, some are sensitive, some extrovert and some introvert. These all qualities are a whole new world in their ownself. Do not attempt to treat every child by the same formula and techniques. Know the children type and deal accordingly.


3.       Learning best occurs in relaxed environment:


You want your children to learn, be gentle, friendly and supportive to them. Learning best occurs when the mind is relaxed as it is receptive to receive new ideas. If you keep scolding, passing discouraging comments, laughing and criticizing at their mistakes, they are never going to learn anything from you.


4.       Be their role model:


If you lie in front of your children then it would be unwise of you to expect them to evolve into honest beings. You want them to be good, be good yourself. Set an example, be their role model and they’ll follow you without your constant reminders to them. We take so much from parents even many aspects of our actions and behaviors are being taken from parents, so whichever way you want your child to grow, be that way yourself.


5.       Keep opinions and debates open:


You want them to agree to something, encourage them to speak and not keep quiet. Ask them to come up with their views and suggestions, analyze them and help them understand how and why you think a thing would not work. Do not snub them as it will prevent them from participating in future discussions with them.


6.      Fighting in front of children:


This repels and terrifies them from you and the child finds security in staying away from you, many children who are emotionally unstable have the history of having parents who used to fight in front of the children.


7.       Doing it all yourself:


You want your child to grow mature and responsible, give him/her certain tasks rather than trying to do everything yourself. If you do everything yourself, children never will learn how to be act responsible and will take you for granted thinking that no matter what, it’s not their job but parents job to take care of things.


8.       Criticism:


Criticism of any sort is detrimental. I like this statement a lot “Criticism is like homing pigeons, they always return home”. Avoid criticizing the child since it never conveys the original message, what the other person picks is what you say (taunts) and not what you want (behavior change).


9.       Labeling the child:


Learn to differentiate between the wrong acts and the person doing those acts. Your child may commit many wrong acts during his/her growth, educate and make him/her aware, without the part of educating the child on why you think that he/she did right, your child will keep repeating the things no matter how much strictness you show to your child.


10.   Make them handle their mistakes and failures:


Obviously life cannot be mistake and failure free, instead of criticizing them, getting angry with them when they do and go wrong, make them handle their mistakes and failures. Encourage them to analyze what factors went wrong, make them develop alternative plans on what they need to do next time to prevent things again happening the same way.


11.   Constant complaints:


Appreciation is more important for learning than complaints and criticism. Constant criticism by parents desensitizes the child in such a way that even if you want to convey your disappointments, it is received casually by the child since child thinks about you as a constant complainer who is never happy.


12.   Don’t own them:


Like you they are individual beings too. Respect their preferences, likes, dislikes as well and do not control them thinking that they have to do what you have said.


Written by Dr. Muhammad Wasif Haq, Islamabad, Pakistan.


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