Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Parenting Tips for Teaching Your Children Right from Wrong

How often do we hear a child say, "Mummy Jennie is not giving me her toys, but when she comes home she plays with my toys." A child does seem to know rights and wrongs. This he actually learns by watching parents, elders, neighbours and relatives. And possibly television and movies.

Teach 'em early
Children must be taught morals from their formative years when much of life's vital learning takes place. If parents take care to steady the child's values he will grow up straight. Else he'll become like the angled plant which can't be straightened later.

Set examples
The best way to teach children what's right and wrong is by practicing those values you want to instill. When you don't quarrel, get angry or hurl abuses, he knows that it's the approved behaviour. Let them learn from the way you behave with your spouse and others.

Even if you are upset or in a mood to hurl abuses at your spouse, hold yourself when the child is around. Try postponing the issue and dealing with it when your child has gone out to play. That way you'll ensure that the child understands morals when you talk about them.

Practice what you preach
One day when a friend of mine admonished her child for walking into the house with her slippers on, the child shot back saying, "But even you came inside yesterday with your slippers on." Needless to say the mother was stunned to silence, more so because I was there. This happens to most parents. Remember, children don't forget certain things. If you say something and act to the contrary, the child believes that there's isn't much of a problem doing the same.
Be consistent
Sometimes when parents are busy they tend to overlook a fault in the child. Parents must be consistent with the values that they seek to inculcate in their children. One parent admonishing the child for a wrong and the other condoning it for the same does a lot of damage to the child's psychology.
Worse still is another common mistake of parents. To argue with each other when a child is spanked by one of them. The child will be perplexed not knowing which is right and which is wrong.

Reward good behaviour
"That's like a good boy. Well done!" Well, this is exactly what the child needs. Little praises when he is on the right side. Children tend to learn faster when there's pleasure attached to it. When you reward him you not only boost his confidence, but also subtly tell him that good behaviour makes him acceptable, loving to all around him. Every child loves to belong.

At times you've got to be tough
When I took my child to the family physician one day, my little one after the doctor's examination wanted to be picked up but I asked her to sit on the chair for sometime since I was listening to the doctor's advice. My daughter cried and sat on the floor yelling all the while. For a moment I intended to pick her up but the doctor was cool, "No.. don't…leave her there.. she'll soon learn that stubbornness doesn't pay… then she'll quietly come back to you". That was an important lesson I learnt. Don't give in to everything.

Violence isn't the answer
Spare the rod and spoil the child, you did read when you were young. But, remember, lashing the child for every little wrong only breeds contempt for you. The child could build such resentment inside that everything you say will be discounted. Worse still, the child may begin to think that violence is might. And that it's the way to dominate over others. And soon you'll find him threatening, bullying and picking up fights regularly. You need to be patient with kids, because they are kids, not adults.

Stimulate their thoughts
Whenever you tell them a story ask them a moral question that sets their minds ticking. For example, if you were narrating the story of the Hare and the Tortoise, ask them why the hare lost. Let them come up with their explanations. In the end tell them the true reason. And teach them that being slow and steady in everything you do ensures success.

Teaching your children right from wrong
The best to teach is to
a. Set an example.
b. Be consistent in your behaviour.
c. Openly talk about values.
d. Reward good behaviour.
e. Use Characters in stories, movies and TV serials to drive home your point.
f. Attach a pleasure to practicing good behaviour.
g. Stop giving into everything.