Bringing up a child is not an easy job for sure. When a child is born they are like a canvas where you can add the colors you want to. As my daughter turns two the next month, I often sit and wonder what is that I would like to teach her and how would I like to see her as she grows up. I do realize that she is an individual and there is not much I can do about her personality. I am not stressed about the subjects she learns and the knowledge she gets, what I am more concerned about is to try and make her a good human being.
I have read that there is a lot a child learns till they are seven and thus, there are some values I would like her to learn as she grows so she turns out to be a beautiful person. You might think teaching values to a child who is less than 5 is a little too much to start with, but in the longer run values taught and learnt at an early shapes a child’s personality and character when he grows up. Some of the values that I would like her to learn are:
One of the first things we have grown up learning from our parents is to never lie. Gradually as we grew up, we started to realize that there are circumstances where we lie for a reason, harmless. Children do not have a developed rationale to realize the difference. It is therefore necessary for parents to teach their kids the importance of speaking the truth. As for the part of parent, never lie in front of your child. Since most of the things they learn at the growing phase is from you. So it is of utmost importance that you follow what you preach. To make this possible, there needs to be some behavioral changes that you need to make for yourself as well. Never scold your child for any ‘mistake’ they do. Simple incidents like losing his tiffin box at school or unknowingly picking his schoolmates notebook from school. It is crucial for you to stay composed and ask your child for an explanation. Children learn to lie only under influence, be it friends or media. To amend any of their bad habits you may resort to punishments like No-TV for a day or extra homework, but once you lose your cool and scold the child for petty issues, the child will resort to lying than speaking the truth for the fear of getting punished or scolded.
Courtesy and Respect
We have all heard the story of how a son abandoned his elderly father and the child states that he will do the same to his father when he grows up. The moral was, children learn from what they hear and see in their day to day life from their parents, siblings and friends. Teach your child the courtesy required to survive in the world. Words like ‘Please’, ‘Thank you’, ‘Welcome’ should be involved in your conversations, even when you are talking with the kids. Demonstrate them that respect is for everyone despite the age and background. If you have a household help, treat the person with due respect. It will not only make you a better person but also give those valuable lessons to your child.
Generosity and Gratitude
It comes easy for us to hold on to something we have. And this is very appropriate for kids. You need to literally teach them the value ‘Charity begins at home’. Teach them to share their stuff with cousins and siblings. You may want to give two cookies to your child and make your child give one to his friend playing with him, instead of you giving them one each. This way the child learns the virtue of sharing. Involve your child in any volunteer activity that you are a part of. Children can be very stubborn at times, demanding a toy or another object they have seen with his friend. Remind your child that there are plenty of others of his age who have much less than what he has. Though you may buy plenty for your child to satisfy his needs and for entertainment, curb the vice of stubbornness at its inception by teaching them gratitude.
Forgiveness and Compassion
‘To err is human, to forgive is divine.’ If you see your child caught up in a fight- either physical or emotional with his friend or cousin, encourage them to take the first step forward and reconcile with his friend or cousin and forgive them. It is important for you to make your child realize that bitter moments should be let go of once you have forgiven and should make a move forward afresh. This will not only shape your child’s character but also make school an interesting place for him.
Perseverance and Responsibility
A very famous saying that we all would agree to, ‘Try and try again, until you succeed.’ The virtue of persistence exists and starts at a very tender age, while your child tries to take his first step and then the other, or feed himself without spilling. But as they grow, they might feel insecure seeing others do something easily as compared to them. As a parent, make sure you encourage your child to try and not give up. Congratulate and praise him for his little achievements. If you see them struggling with something they can do but just are not being able to, guide them to find a solution rather doing it yourself for them. It is also important for a parent to teach the child the value of responsibility. This comes in tandem with honesty. Teach them to take the ownership of a task and if they fail, they should feel responsible and find a solution to fix it than put the blame on others. Of course, conversation is the key. Ask them why they think they failed and if they think they can do it. If not, then why they feel so. Encourage them to try and rectify their mistakes. Children who learn perseverance at a younger age are more inclined to avoid giving up when they grow up.
Remember, children learn from what they see. To develop healthy habits in your child, you must be following them yourselves first! Patience is the key when it comes to dealing with kids, training them or helping them grow the confidence in themselves. Give them a quote on values and good habits every day, something they can relate to in their everyday life. Gradually you will see your little one growing up to be an amazing human!