use COMMENTARY instead of LETTERS
‘You should also avoid spanking a child. Spanking can bring about short-term compliance which sometimes is a much needed relief for the parents. However, spanking doesn’t teach children right from wrong. It only teaches children to fear external consequences. They are then motivated to avoid getting caught’
THE NEW school term will soon be ready and it’s a good time to remind parents of their huge responsibility. So this article is addressed to all you parents.
It is a responsibility for which you must be prepared, and if you were not prepared for it you have to learn what is expected of you as a parent so that you will be able to shoulder that responsibility in the best way possible. No one on the face of this Earth is the perfect parent. You just need to be good enough.
Let’s start with home life. As parents you will need to create a happy life for your children by providing a safe, stable home for them. You have to ensure that your children are provided with a peaceful and pleasant atmosphere.
When children see that problems or conflicts or disputes are settled by threats, quarrels and fights they will only learn to settle differences in the same way.
Instead teach your children to pray. Pray with them, allow them to pray. Show them how to thank God and to love God. Encourage them to show love among their siblings, encourage them to share what they have. Children are easily inspired by what their parents do. They learn a lot about how to act by watching their parents.
Model the traits you wish to see in your children:
* Speak courteously and with decency.
* Be honest with your children.
* Encourage and motivate your children about their school work.
* Do things for other people without expecting a reward.
* Support and accept your children as individuals.
* Talk to your children and also listen to them carefully. By keeping an open line of communication with them you will have a better relationship with your children and they will come to you when there is a problem.
* Take good care of yourselves physically and mentally and the father must take time to strengthen the relationship with his wife and vice versa. If these two areas are looked after your children will be emotionally strong and will benefit.
You should also avoid spanking. Spanking can bring about short-term compliance which sometimes is a much needed relief for the parents. However, spanking doesn’t teach children right from wrong. It only teaches children to fear external consequences. They are then motivated to avoid getting caught.
Spanking children is modelling to them that they can resolve issues by violence. Children who are spanked, smacked or hit are more prone to fighting with other children. They are more likely to become bullies and to use verbal and physical aggression to solve disputes.
Later in life, they are also more likely to become delinquent, antisocial and get involved in criminal behaviour. They are also likely to become domestic violence victims or abusers with mental health issues.
There are better alternatives to spanking. For example, redirection, reasoning, removing privileges. Choose the non-punitive method that works best for your children.
Your tone of voice, your body language and your every expression are absorbed by children. Your words and actions as a parent affect their developing self-esteem more than anything else.
Praising accomplishments, however small, will make them feel proud. By contrast, belittling comments or comparing a child unfavourably with another makes them feel worthless.
Avoid making loaded statements or using words as weapons. Comments like “yuh so stupid” or “yuh act more like a baby than yuh little brother” cause damage just as physical blows do. Choose your words carefully and be compassionate. Let your children know that everyone makes mistakes and that you still love them even when you don’t love their behaviour.
Discipline is necessary in every household. Set limits and be consistent with your discipline. The goal of discipline is to help children choose acceptable behaviours and learn self-control.
They may test the limits you establish for them, but they need those limits to grow into responsible adults. You can’t discipline children for talking back one day and ignore it the next. Being consistent teaches what you expect.
It’s your duty to ensure your children receive a good education and have access to the resources necessary to make that happen. Stay involved with their education. Get to know their teachers and school staff by attending school events and activities. Attend parent-teacher meetings.
Show your children you are investing in their education by talking to them about school and staying up to date on school happenings. Create an area at home specifically for homework, free of distractions, and work with your children on school projects.
Parents have the responsibility of encouraging, modelling and reinforcing appropriate behaviour. It is important that parents understand their role in the development and establishment of these behaviours.
Know your limitations as parents. Try to make parenting a manageable job. Focus on the areas that need the most attention rather than trying to address everything all at once.