A child holding hand of his parent

Five things to ensure your child is modelling the right behaviour

Five things to ensure your child is modelling the right behaviour (And it has everything to do with you)

Children model behaviour from how their parents behave in several situations. Here’s how we ensure we’re giving them the right thing to model after. A recent situation at a nearby park got me thinking about the behaviour of parents around children. What we often don’t realize is that children have the ability to learn more by observing others do any kind of work. Parents and teachers are the biggest role models, especially for pre-schoolers, they imitate and model them while interacting with peers, parents and the rest of the world. What they repeatedly watch in their formative years becomes a part of their personality in later years. While pre-schools start inculcating manners, teach them how to understand and express emotions, along with academic advancement, it is up to parents to reinforce positive civic behaviour which ultimately moulds the child’s personality for a lifetime. Despite this being the most obvious, we do end up behaving recklessly which may seem justifiable to us but may be impacting our children negatively.

So here’s a list of what we often overlook and the repercussions that it might have on our tiny ones:

  1. Keep your phone away – The curse of the smart phones, while it may be the single most productive tool to own, it does takes away a lot of family time. It is a must for parents to give their undivided attention and respond to them in a way that inculcates a practice of listening and conversing well in them. Should they converse with you, do keep your phone away and make eye contact at all times to teach them that these skills to engage in a conversation. They will also feel that you genuinely listen to them which in turn will help boost their confidence.

  2. Keep Calm and Excuse Yourself – It is natural for us to lose patience or temper but be mindful of the presence of children and excuse yourself. Take a leave from their presence and you can sort out difficult situations outside the room/house. How we speak, be it with our parents, friends or even the house-help throws light on the tonality and language that is acceptable. It is wrong to use cuss words or excessive negative words that give children an impression that such usage is acceptable. Additionally, the language used at home or outside will impact the child’s thinking, so be stay away from making any sexist/gender-related/derogatory remarks and comments.

  3. Don’t skip rules, no matter what– Don’t break rules. Imagine its early morning and you are dropping your child to school. There is no traffic but the red light is on the signal. It is easy to jump it since there is no traffic police, but what your child understands by your action is that it is ok to break rules if no one is watching. So simple rules like, no TV while having dinner, also applies to you. It is difficult to make children understand the importance of rules, they are nothing but common sense simplified for masses. Now I definitely don’t want my children to grow up into educated adults who lack basic common sense.

  4. Understanding feelings – Every time my son walks up to me and probably passes my phone to me or gets my laptop from my bag, I make it a point to say thank you. It is also important to teach children to say sorry, so even if we make the slightest mistake, don’t hesitate to apologize to them or to others in front of them. It will instil the belief that saying sorry doesn’t make anybody smaller or weaker Whenever you are happy or grateful let your child know about it, share positive emotions with your children as well as help them understand negative emotions too. Show your child how you handle negative behaviour, if you manage to stay calm and handle the situation positively, you will see your child doing the same next time and vice versa.

  5. Providing constructive feedback – This applies to everybody that you’re communicating with. As parents it is important that we encourage our children to do better, say for example your child has painted something and though you may want to laugh at their interpretation of mommy or day in the painting, just by simply dismissing it as too childish or excessive praise for a bad job or activities is equally harmful. Instead provide a rationale to your feedback and answer them with possible solutions. This will help children learn the same and apply it to their peers. Providing positive and rational feedback ensures that children learn the knack of interpersonal skills which will largely benefit them later on.

While I incorporate the same into my parenting checklist, I hope you do too and feel free to comment, or share more tips/advice or personal experiences that you’d like to share. You can reach me at jk@safarikidindia.com