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Tune the Tiny

 

Tune the Tiny

A parenting article by Rajatha Sarkar – Online Counselor and Therapist

Do we experience the joy with them who made us wonderful parents? Let us walk down the memory lane …… Let us go back to the day our child was born…    And then, First day at school!!!!

Aren’t we proud?

We renew our youth with our children as we share with them the journey of life.

And in this journey, where we wish the best for them and try preparing them for it.

There is one important question we all need to ask ourselves as parents: “What is parenting?”, which may then lead us to two more: Does parenting have a style? If so, what is our style?  Parenting is a gift of god, parenting is a labor of love and giving unconditional love, Practically speaking: parenting is meeting the child’s needs to age 18 or sometimes longer , guiding the child toward the goal of becoming a competent adult.

Good parentingYes, we as parents need to think about parenting seriously. We need to understand how good we are at it and then think about the steps that we can take to be better. We all parents know that for us our ‘child is always a child’. No matter their age, we all want to cradle, hug, and shower our warmth and affection on our children and live a life of good bonding with them. But is this enough to prepare them for their future – especially in this increasingly competitive world?

Children grow up to be an adult inculcating various habits and behaviour that they observe and perceive around them, especially from those who influence them the most. The most fundamental of these behavioural patterns are established in early childhood. So, it is important for a child’s psychological development that only the right behaviour is adapted and strengthened and any deficiencies are corrected as early as possible in the childhood.

As time passes by, these fundamental behavioural patterns are established so deeply that they cannot be changed easily. If any undesirable behaviour is not corrected early in the childhood, it may lead to larger psychological issues later in adulthood.

Sometimes, we wonder why there is a drastic change in our child’s behavior. However, the fact is that nothing about their behaviour is sudden — it develops gradually. And, for such a development we ourselves are generally responsible – directly or indirectly.

We as parents may sometimes find it easy to blame external influences for ourchild’s inappropriate behaviour, which when allowed to go uncorrected surface as larger psychological issues later. But do we ever think what our responsibility is as a parent under such circumstances?

Good ParentingFor better personality development of a child, presence and support of parents is required throughout its childhood. Many of us are aware of this fact, even though we may not have thought about it consciously in the context of parenting.

Yes, that is true. when we succeed, something don’t we all say: “whatever we are today, it’s because of our parents.”

So, for our children’s sake we need to know how good we are as parents and how to be better.

To be a better parent we need to work on our style of parenting. Here are some of the most common parenting styles and its characteristics:

Authoritarian parenting: this style is characterized by the parents’ need for control, and their lack of empathy and warmth towards their child. The authoritarian parents definitely see themselves as “the Boss”. The style further reflects the following characteristic features:

  • Fixed Rules
  • Obedience is a Virtue
  • Punishment/ You Do OnlyWhat I Say/ My Word Is Final!

Permissive parenting: this style is characterized by the parent’s high degree of warmth and responsiveness and lack of control of their child.

The uninvolved parenting style is characterized by a low level of control and a lack of responsiveness to the child. The style further reflects the following characteristic

features:

  • “Do What You Like”
  • “Whatever…..”
  • “I’m Busy”

Authoritarian parentAuthoritative parenting: this style is characterized by a high level of responsiveness. It is a style most beneficial to children and is recommended by experts. High levels of warmth and moderate levels of control is best suited to teachchildren things about a situation, which will enable them to take better decisions. The style further reflects the following characteristic features:

  • Let’s Sort This Problem Out
  • OK, What Do You Think?
  • This Is What I Think
  • I Need You to Do This Now, But We Can Do That Later

If these are styles of parenting, let us think for a while which of these suit our families…

But before deciding let us also consider some of the important aspects the parenting style adopted needs to address.

Role of parent as a teacher: Normally, we say “mother is the best teacher for a child”. But, at present, how many of us really believe ininculcating this idea in our families? Is it not now becoming common that once a child starts crawling, it is left in play homes? This way it hardly gets to learn anything from its parents. Actually, this is a stage where a child observes and learns the most from its surroundings. It is a stage which provides immense opportunities for us to give our children the right exposure and contribute positively in their personality development.

teachingFor example, when we take children along for shopping, we not only show them around places and people but also teach them how to react and respond to situations.

If we are conscious of this fact, we can teach our children appropriate behaviour and prepare them to face situations. This could include for instance teaching them good habits; importance of disciplined behaviour, keeping things in the right place, or evenusing kind words like ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry’ in social conversations. Our personal involvement in this manner is likely to not only create an interest in children to know and learn more but also to strengthen our rapport with them. In fact, such a rapport is important to keep an open communication with them that is essential for their learning as well as their insulation from negative influences.

Communication is a valuable socialtool, but how well are our children exposed to use it in their favour? Many times, children are hardly given time to speak, instead we parents order them and want them to hear us. This way they are ill prepared with this skill on many occasions. They are either unable to communicate effectively or do it inappropriately, speaking out of context or without understanding implications.

At times, we are surprised to hear small children utter bad words (abusive language). We wonder from whom they have learnt this, while in reality we ourselves may have been responsible. Should we as parents not exercise caution and watch over our language?

Care should also be taken that we do not insult children. This may have long term psychological impact on them. For instance, instead of using positive means of encouragement, some of us use unkind words like ‘idiot’to scold children when they do not meet our expectations. In fact, all psychologists know this reaction of parents to be responsible for one of the common psychological disorders in their children

Next, It is also important that aspects of decisions making and collaborating withcommunity be taught to the children who start schooling and learn the role of family and extended family. Here too, we as parents have an important role to play. We need to sspend quality time with ourchildren in teaching them importance of community/bondage in the community and helping them to face day to day challenges.

parent helpingBeing consistent and supportive is also important in parenting. Our kids will know what to expect and the consequences of bad behavior. If they are acting out or quieter than usual, we should take some time to talk to them about what is going on in their lives. We should remember not to punish children rather discipline them from their infancy. We should appreciate their hard work and never degrade or compare their capabilities with that of others.

Note; Being the parent of a child with special needs is all the more challenging. We may need to arrange for specific resources or support systems to suit such special needs. We may also need additional set of parenting skills if we have kids who deal with medical or emotional problems. In such circumstances, we should always remember and remind ourselves that there are always ways to deal with difficulties. What matters most is being positive and thinking about the one valuable gift of life that we have in our hands that we need to be careful with.

“Time and tide waits for none”, goes a saying. Every step that our children take in their childhood is very important. We should utilize all opportunities that exists to hold their hand; be a guide; nurture, support and train them to develop their self control, character or orderliness and efficiency.

Dear All! There is a lot to discuss about parenting if we consider the various problems that children face when growing up and the probable ways to handle them. However, through this article my intention has been to convey the importance of parenting in psychological development of children, discuss about various parenting styles and also briefly touch upon some related aspects that parents need to consider in addition to adopting the most suitable style of parenting.

DisclaimerThis article and associated graphics/images are prepared or accomplished by the author in her personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of ProvenTherapy.com or ProgCare Limited.

Meet Rajatha Sarkar for counseling support

Social Norms in Adolescence

 

What are the social norms in the Adolescents?

Natasha Smith, MA, LCPC – Online Counselor and Therapist

As the parent, have you ever found yourself struggling with managing your young teen’s behaviors and attitudes?  What you are about to explore reflects the distinct changes that many teens encounter as they transition from childhood to adulthood. This topic addresses specifically what to look for in the young teen and what we should understand to better adjust to the teen’s behaviors.

This article will address the normal range of the teen’s behaviors and how they differ over a period of time or as one ages.  The young adolescent responds to three main stages, each displaying their own degree of mood swings and parental transaction.

The concepts below discuss the normal attributes  of the adolescents at different developmental stages that are designed to help parents better relate to a young person’s perspective reflecting events. 

Stage 1 (Early Adolescent)

The young adolescent, ranging between the years of 11 and 14, are undergoing a broader range of emotions that move from an extreme elation to depression within seconds, without apparent predisposing factors.  During this period, the teen may have temperaments regarding how they relate to parental authority and try to assert themselves in a way that challenge the parent’s boundaries.  They normally react and refuse the views and opinions of parents.  Peer influence at this stage probably override parental advice. The greatest difficulties that this therapist has seen with the young teen has been with their level of esteem and confidence that pushes them to respond the way that they do.  Sometimes their abrupt moodiness may result from anxiety and frustration regarding their role in the parental relationship- and often if not resolved, may extend to other areas of their lives. 

Stage 2 (Middle Adolescents)

Healthy ParentingBy the time, the teen reaches “Middle Adolescents”, they are now internalizing the values and perceptions of their friends to their own.  Those values and opinions are even more significant than those by their parents. During the teen years, their need for privacy is big, as they will not expose all the details of their intimate or social encounters to their parents.  They will distant in a heartbeat to only convey further a need to embark on their own and learn what they need in order to grow up internally.  And from this therapist’s experience with the teens, what they do not learn from the parents, they will fact learn from the external world.  They reveal newer information and experience from their peers daily and this often sets the tone for what they respond to later on in adult development. What the adolescence need sometime is having someone who can really hear them and guide them through the process of self-disclosure.

Stage 3 (Late Adolescents)

The teen begins to slowly cross over into early adulthood whereas the degree of their peer experiences alter and they begin to rebuild their relationship with the parents.  It is that moment of reflecting on meaning in their peer group and realizing the value of family involvement.  Each stage is a building block for the adolescent and they are learning to reach make greater decisions about their relationships as they age. 

Meet Natasha Smith, MA, LCPC here for further support

Whose Children?

Sharanya Dinesh

Approved ProvenTherapist

Sharanya Dinesh - ProvenTherapist Khalil Gibran is my favorite poet and philosopher; this is what he wrote about children:‘Your children are not your children.They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself.

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Your children are temporarily in your custody and you are their guardian and care taker. You have no ownership rights over them because they are owned by God and He has sent them to accomplish a goal or a purpose unique to them. Life called out for them and here they are, as your children in name and form but His children in verity. The animals and the birds seem to understand this philosophy much better than the intelligent human race. The lioness feeds the cub and simultaneously encourages the cub to fend for itself. The chicks are also urged to fly and gather twigs from a very young age. We humans keep missing this fine point somehow.They come through you but not from you,And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.He again says, they come from you; yes, you do give birth to them, yet they are from Him alone and not from you, which is what most parents mistakenly take claim for. The children stay with us as long as it is destined and not a single moment beyond that. They are with us but they do not belong to us; they are definitely not the personal property of parents.You may give them your love but not your thoughts,For they have their own thoughts.Again so true, did we, as children think like our parents? Did we not have different thoughts, dreams, aspirations and ambitions? Did we not wait for the day when we would be able to live ‘our’ life, the way we want to, without being told, what to do, what to eat, what to wear and a seamless stream of instructions? If that was generation gap then, should not the gap be more gaping and wider now? Times have changed very dramatically over the last 2 decades and with it a very tumultuous parent age has arrived. Love is scarce or showered as a return gift for something well done or withheld as punishment at times. The present day children are facing more insecure times, it is all the more important that we shower as much love as we can on them and give them the freedom of thought. Raise them such that they are free with discipline and love.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.  Healthy Parenting
Almost every child achieves much more than what their parents did. They belong to the tomorrow and have to learn from today, whereas we belong to a yesterday, trying to adjust to today for a better tomorrow. We are yet to get a grip over the way times have changed, whereas they are already of this generation. They are planning and dreaming of a tomorrow which we may never see. Is it fair to drag them backwards in time, to our times and force them to think our way, do our way, live our way? We can be like the lamp post guiding and throwing light on the path, we cannot walk that path though. They have to walk their own path and discover their destiny.You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

I initially never agreed with this line, why should the parents be like the children? My parents always wanted me to emulate either one of them and that is exactly what I have done. So why should my son (I need to remember, he is HIS son, not mine) not emulate his Dad or me? Why should we not ask him to try and become like his father or mother? The next line has the answer though; because, life has never gone backwards and time does not wait or depend on a yesterday. It is today and then tomorrow. I woke up to the fact that if I expect my son to become like his father or me, I would be asking him to move backwards, live in a yesterday. As a parent I should be asking him to look at his tomorrow, move on the road ahead and achieve his dreams. Is it fair on my part to ask him to live my unaccomplished dreams and achievements?

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The parents are the bows from which the children of God as living arrows are set forth in search of their destiny.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

The archer or God has already marked the path over which the arrow, the child, will fly. God simply wants that the Bow, parents, also to bend, yield, string themselves just so much so that the arrow, child, can reach its destined goal. It is the strength of the bow and the flexibility of the string which allows the archer to set forth the arrow swift and far.

Let you bending in the Archer’s hand be for gladness;

For even as He loves the arrow that flies,

So He loves also the bow that is stable. ’

One without the other is incomplete and God loves both equally. He has assigned us the job of taking care of His children and entrusted us with the big responsibility of raising them happily and with joy. Bend yield listen to the child and nourish them with love and joy, God does send forth His children through you and is happy to see them ascend, but He also loves the stable hand of the parent which joyfully raises its offspring.

As a child counselor by profession I am forced to read this poem to every parent because they all invariably expect me, the counselor, to change the mindset of the child. They look me at me very expectantly as if I can wave a magic wand and their errant child will start obeying them or start behaving the way they expect the child to behave.

Talking To Your Children

Linda Harris

Approved ProvenTherapist

 

Linda Harris - Approved ProvenTherapist It’s everywhere. Talk about financial struggles is on the internet, the television, in the newspapers, between parents, and amongst students in high schools. It is almost impossible to be unaware of the rising price of gas, food, and of foreclosures. Children are very sensitive to stress in a household and when they are left out of what is happening, they create their own stories which may be more traumatizing than the reality of the family’s difficulties.

Contact Linda for Counseling and Parenting Support

The question is not if, but what is the best way to talk to your children about challenging financial times. What do you say that is age appropriate. Before having this conversation, make it a priority to put your own house in order. If you do not have a financial plan, follow the adage, “better late than never”. Helping a child feel secure is extraordinarily difficult if you do not manage your own emotions. Guilt and self-doubt may arise from feeling that something more could have been done to prevent this financial challenge.Take responsibility for your part of the problem, but recognize what is not under your control. Go for walks, connect with the beauty of nature, and stay in the present. These tools will make it easier to calm yourself. After settling on a plan, think carefully about what to say. Children do not need to know specifics unless they ask, but they need to hear that the situation is temporary, and that you are working on a resolution. Moreover, since children often blame themselves, explain that it is not their fault.

Listen empathically. without judgment. Give your children the opportunity to express their thoughts, feelings, and fears, then carefully look for signs of distress. Are they experiencing sleeping or eating problems, or isolating themselves? If so, talk to them, and when necessary seek help from their pediatrician or a counselor.

Discuss the new priorities that you are instituting, helping children discern the difference between needs and wants. If they feel embarrassed about moving to an apartment from a house, or not having new clothes, convey your understanding about how difficult it is to make these changes. Emphasize the importance of working as a family to devise a plan as to how everyone can contribute to solve family problems. Explain how much money in the budget is allocated for each expenditure. When children feel that they are a part of the common good and understand what is going on, they feel less powerless and more in control.

Make the best of the challenges by turning adversity into an adventure. Create a list of fun, free activities such as planning a picnic, going for a hike, playing games in the evening, or making gifts.

Have age appropriate conversations. For children ages six and under, focus on reassuring them that they are safe and secure and are part of a team. Use simple language and be truthful. Answer questions that are asked. Children between six and twelve can raise money, such as having a garage sale. Help them figure out how they can help others, perhaps by donating clothes or toys. Children between 13 and 17 are more aware and are having financial discussions themselves. They need reassurance, but can do more to contribute to the family finances, maybe with a part time job. Teach them how to budget, so they can make changes to support the family’s needs.

Finally, a crises is an opportunity to look within oneself. Adults and children alike may discover new strengths. Challenges also offer a chance to recognize the importance of being a part of a community. Though hard times can be divisive, we as individuals and as a community can choose to become stronger by the act of giving and receiving, thus realizing that we are not alone.

Teenagers And Dating

Linda Harris

Approved ProvenTherapist

Linda Harris - Approved ProvenTherapist As a parent, the thought of your son or daughter beginning dating has the potential of sending chills down your spine; you’re sending them off into an experience over which you have no control! How best can we continue to care for our children as they step into adolescence?

Several considerations are important. First and foundational to navigating this time is to have a relationship with your budding adolescent. The choices they make while away from you is based on this relationship. 

Secondly, keep communication open by practicing empathic listening. This means checking yourself when you find you are focusing solely on your own agenda. Third, know your adolescent’s friends. Even if your child isn’t as open as hoped for, knowing their friends allows a wider view of what is happening in their lives.

I recommend that your child first explore relationship in group settings. This is very natural and safer. The adolescent is preparing for responsible behavior later. In general I recommend that anyone under 16 who wants to date needs to go out in a group. After that age, and if your child seems ready, I would give them permission to go out paired.

Then it is best to graduate to supervised dating. By this I mean that an adult drives the kids to and from their destination. Before the date, however, get to know the prospective date. Call their parents, especially if they are under 16. Making your presence known offers another safeguard for your child.

Finally, appreciate the cellphone. Cell phones make it easy for your child to check in with you and for you to call as well. However, too much hovering will only result in your child rebelling. It is equally important to give your child space to experience their growth. That for the parent requires patience and trust.

Parental Positive Instructions

Sharanya Dinesh

Approved ProvenTherapist

Sharanya Dinesh - ProvenTherapist Every Wednesday we have our group meditation. I have been in this practice (called Sahaj Marg) for the last four years and I am still trying to meditate in the real sense of the term. I go early, prepare myself to stay calm and try and treat thoughts like unwelcome guests; this is the instruction we are given. At times I pretend to be a spectator watching a wedding procession from my doorway. I keep telling my mind,”No, don’t gallop! No, don’t wander! No! No! No!” By the time I actually am able to calm myself the one hour meditation is over and I hear the hustle bustle of the others with me! 
An hour flew by with me saying, NO! NO! NO! To my cantering mind! The reins were never in my control and the mind kept saying, ”Neigh! Neigh! Neigh” In reply. It is absolutely disheartening, believe me. I am facing this situation everyday or at least 3-4 times a week definitely where all I do is tell my racing mind not behave as if Michael Schumacher is racing for his last trophy!This Wednesday also I was gallantly bracing myself when out of the blue a sense of calm prevailed over me. I was happy that the horses had decided to take rest and I would be peacefully at peace for the first time in four years. A sudden racket in the passageway jarred me out of my reverie! A mother shrieking, “No!, No!, Abhishek! You should not hit your elder sister!It is not correct! No! No!” I could hear the child guffawing, his shoes making the thumping sound and the didi (elder sister) crying out equally loud, “Ma, Ma See!, NO!!”

It was an eye opener for me! Every word I heard was underlined with no, no and no. The key instruction as to what the child should do was missing. It was a sequence of don’t do this; don’t do that and that and that too! The child did hit the sister and the mother shouted at her best pitch and volume, very callously oblivious to the vicinity, “Did I not say don’t do it! You should not hit your elder sister! How many times do I have to tell you? Why did you hit her? Tell me? Right now!”

I thought, “Hullo!, then tell the child what to do! If hitting is wrong why say it at all! Say what he/she is supposed to do, is it not simpler? Give the next instruction please, and do it soon, before I am forced to come out and speak my mind! ” It is like psyching the child, who is about to appear for an exam with, “Don’t you dare fail dear! Don’t you dare fail?” We are already pushing the child towards doomsday! Where is the need to introduce that word? It is better said, ‘Do well baby. All the best’ and the child is more confident. We send them to the battle field with a sense of failure and they come back with exactly that. Then we pile on to the child with,” failing was not an option! Did I not warn you beforehand itself! You never listen to me, you never sit and study and an endless stream of epithets ensue.” A string of ‘NO’ again! A mother warns her daughter who is about to go for her first party, “Don’t return after 9!” In case the poor girl is delayed, then? Should she run away? Never return home because the mother said so?

In a nut nutshell all I wish to say is, please give positive instruction or nothing at all. We simply confuse the child, the way I confuse my mind’s horses, asking them not to run. All I need to is, ‘Mind, stay, rest, sleep. I need to meditate and I wish to meditate, so please rest.’ And you parents tell your children what they should do! Instead of repeating what they should not do! Good luck to all of us.