PARENT CHILD RELATIONSHIP
How to Raise a Healthy Child
Attachment is the connection between two persons who are attuned to each other's presence, wants, needs and feelings. Attachment provides the emotional foundation of your baby's personality. The way you play together, the sounds and gestures you make to each other, the way you look at each other, all contribute to those feelings. Strong attachments are formed in the first six months. Little babies are remarkably responsive at birth. With their gurgles and seductive use of their eyes, they can win over anybody. Their eyes tell you more than any amount of words. Body language is big in babies. The period just after birth is an important one. There are those who believe that it is a critical period for human bonding. Bonding then is reciprocal. Between 4 and 6 months the baby starts recognizing and wants mom and mom alone and no one else will do. He is so seductive that it makes love ooze from every pore of the mom's body. These are the beginnings. Lasting relations come with time, closeness and commitment.
Warm loving parents create warm loving children. Touch, hold, carry your baby. Be close. Be just there, Talk. Chat and talk some more. Even the tiniest tot needs words, words which he interprets on the basis of the body language that accompanies those spoken words. These spoken words are so powerful that they help wire his brain cells and contribute to his intelligence quotient. If in jest the dad roughs up the baby, his reaction is -how wonderful! He wants it repeated. Education is not just 3 R's which will start later. Education also means and includes social competence, communication and, more than anything, love, pure love. Loving is the best lesson which is learnt in those early days. With loving parents, the baby in coming days learns honesty, decency and good manners. Play is a great way to learn also. Confident parents produce more confident children. Parents with a goal and purpose in life produce excellent children. With parenting it is the quality that counts. Thus come into existence the parent child connections.
Harvard Pre-school Project of 1960's revealed the following common denominators amongst the mothers of the best children. These mothers had a positive outlook on life; these mothers were energetic, patient and tolerant of their children. They did not prevent their children. They did not prevent their children from taking minor risks in play. They did not devote all their time to their children. They did not pamper their children. They designed interesting games and play environment full of stimulating objects and learning challenges. Those children were in C group if their mothers spent either very little or all their time with their children. What is important is not only the quantity of time but also the quality of how it is spent. Children often mirror their mothers behaviour. Children of depressed mothers are generally depressed and the mothers with a positive outlook definitely imbue their children with a positive and optimistic view of life.
John Hopkins researchers Silvia Bell and Mary Ainsworth came to a conclusion that the most effective way to soothe a crying baby is to pick him up and hold him. If that does not work, feeding him may. The team found that when mothers responded promptly and consistently to their babies' cries, the babies generally stopped crying and became increasingly independent.
The parent has first to understand the purpose of the child's behaviour, and then have a relationship of mutual respect. Be firm but kind and occasionally talk about the child's good points. Parents should take a note of their own inadequacies. You should talk less and act more, looking at the world from the children's point of view. Treat kids as persons. Respect kids and require respect in return. Parents have to teach by example, especially in the fields of work ethics, devotion to family, generosity to others and voluntary selfless service. Teaching by example does not ride over teaching by telling. Kids always need our word also as to why we do what we do. One of the important tasks of the parents is to put the kids on the road to thinking what should be done and why. This thinking process could be initiated at an early age - starting with loud thinking by the parent describing in simple words thinking that is involved. This could be followed, in later years, by placing a simple problem facing the child and enumerating two or more possible lines of action and then leading him to come to an acceptable solution. This has to be followed by helping kids take on real responsibilities. This has to be a slow process but must be started before the rebel in the child comes out at the age of two. The child must be given independence but he must simultaneously be controlled when he starts destroying hedges. Control and independence have to be properly balanced.
The time for a child to join the human community is the very first year of his life. Moral development begins in love. Loving babies means a lot more than holding them or comforting them. It means with what feelings and involvement you feed the child and in what manner you introduce a new food. By loving children when they are babies, we help them not only develop positive relations with their parents but also with human beings in general. Love leads to learning. When a baby is picked up and put to a shoulder, he just does not stop crying but also looks around. He explores the world from that shoulder of love with eyes which are misty with love. Love is always needed. It is never too late to start love. Love lights the lamp of human development. Research has shown that the most obedient babies were of loving mothers who were sensitive to baby's signals, could see things from the baby's point of view and cared for the baby's moods, wishes and activities. Parent child relationship is very important in building self-confidence and self-respect amongst children. It is also crucial to their emotional growth, in their learning manners in the growth of intelligence amongst children as also in enforcing discipline when they go wrong. The role of the parents in those areas has been taken up in the sub-chapters dealing with those subjects and is not proposed to be repeated here. Hostility under the surface of children of 2 years age lessens after three. Children around three have reached a stage in their emotional development when they feel that their parents are wonderful people. At the other end, whatever good the mothers and fathers instinctively feel like doing for their children is usually the best for them. With these attitudes, the parents keep lines of communication open with their children. The parents listen to what the children have to say and the parents get children to listen to them. There is no tone of hostility and the talk is restricted to friendly conversation. Love and affection again come to the surface after having suffered and eclipse for a couple of years in between. The parents are eager to make the child happy, the happiest baby, because they hear Dr. Wilde proclaim: "The best way to make children good is to make them happy"!
A child below three cannot respond to reason and he cannot grasp the connection between cause and effect. He understands when he has gone worng. He also understands that you are angry. Do not forget that the child's memory is very short and if you postpone action on his wrong, he will later on not be able to appreciate the cause for the cause for the punishment. Children thrive equally well on both strict and permissive discipline. What they cannot take is inconsistency and the parental conflict. The job of discipline a small child is the most difficult but is also necessary. Discipline is needed for 2 or 4 year olds when they are getting into all sorts of unsavoury situations, but it is different in case of a 10-month old. You cannot treat him like an adult. Punishment is not for such babies.
Discipline should first be applied with the tone of your voice, later with the word "No". Thereafter distraction should be applied. A very mild punishment could be meted out as the last resort. Threats, withdrawal of pleasure and spanking have no place for young children below 2.
Spanking is not good. No doubt it is an assertion of the parental authority which can deliver a jolt that sometimes brings the child out of the defiant behaviour. Spanking may help where nagging and yelling have failed. Spanking may control a particular behaviour but try some other possible actions before spanking. Only one or two spanks are enough. Never hit with any thing harder than the open hand. Never spank children younger than 2 or older than 4.
Even in disciplining, a current of love should continue to flow in all that you do. This could also be mentioned occasionally. Do not lose your sense of humour. It is bad to be overly punitive or being too strict. Do not confuse harshness as firmness.
Start to introduce routines and good habits from an early age. From the end of first year start to mould the behaviour. Praise and reward good behaviour. In matters of sleep, be as firm as is needed to keep peace. You should on a proper occasion discuss in details the limits upto which the child could go. Tantrums, not eating, not going to bed are all bids for getting some recognition or concession from you. But if the ground rules have been laid with mutual consent, the child has just to be reminded and required to honour the earlier concessions. In all this disciplining do not forget the basic role of the mother to feed the hungry, comfort the crier and lift the grumbler. Even in the midst of a conflict with your child, do not abandon your privilege as a mother to forgive and forget, ignore minor misbehavriour. Do not remove a privilege for too long.
Get your own act together, try to remain calm, and then teach and discipline through love and example. Your baby will be very receptive to justice and fairplay. Parents who have to punish a child frequently, themselves need help.