Here are some ways parents can empower themselves to provide the right care for their child.
Every child needs parental love and support
As a parent, you play many roles as you walk your child through the various stages of development. For example, you could be a caregiver most of the time, yet become a friend, coach or mentor to your child at other times. Which role should you be playing at different times? Your child is unique to you, and so are you to your child. To be at your best in any role, you will need to understand the psychological needs of your child.
Get to know your child, and you will gradually empower yourself to provide the right care for him/her.
How often have you asked your child, “How was school today?” and the reply was, “It was OK!” and that’s it. To be engaged and connected is to understand and communicate with him/her. Effective communication can help you understand your child’s actions and motivations and provide you with insights into his/her thinking and reasoning. When you interact with your child, you do so with both verbal and non-verbal cues, always sensitive and encouraging in both your words and your body language. As communication is a two-way process, listening to your child with genuine interest and with your full attention will enable your child to reciprocate by sharing his/her thoughts and concerns with you. With regular and deeper conversations, you will better understand your child’s personality, strengths and other attributes. Equipped with this knowledge, your relationship with your child is strengthened and you can help your child realise his/her full potential.
Parents often lament: “My teen won’t talk to me, how do I communicate with him/her?” If you face such a predicament, get back to the basics when communicating with your child. For example, a good way to start a conversation with your child is to pick topics that both of you appreciate. These topics could be about how the day went, what went well or did not go well, or about hobbies such as sports, the arts, and movies. Try to keep an open mind to show that you are willing to listen to their views. This creates an environment of trust where your teenager feels assured that he/she can confide in you. In turn, he/she will also be more receptive to your response. Use moments like these too, to share your values and beliefs as a parent, especially when issues of morality are discussed. This will help your child to appreciate and understand your thinking behind your words, decisions and actions.
Be A Keen Observer
While it is crucial from time to time, to stand back and allow your child to make his/her own mistakes so that he/she can learn from them, it is also pertinent to look out for some warning signs indicating that your child may be facing problems.
These include observations such as when your child:
- has problems completing his/her homework;
- is distracted from his/her studies;
- skips lessons or plays truant;
- breaks school rules frequently;
- shows disrespect and defiance to teachers and parents;
- uses rough and vulgar language;
- packs home clothes to change into after school;
- keeps late hours;
- sports tattoo marks;
- spends long hours engaging on social media websites; and
- ·online role-playing games, etc
Loving your child for who he/she is and giving your child the space to find himself or herself is part and parcel of parenting. To pick up more parenting tips, you can refer to these resources:
- workshops, seminars and talks on effective parenting offered in schools and by various agencies;
- books and magazines featuring articles on parenting; and
- parenting resources