How to bring up your children – Practical advice for new parents and children
Parents and children : Help Them Flourish
Raising children is one of the world’s most difficult jobs. A parent wants to do best for their children, yet not spoil them. A parent wants to be there to support and help their children, yet teach them to be independent and solve problems on their own. Parents and children should have a strong, trusting relationship with unconditional love that creates a good sense of self worth with positive morals and values; all of this starts at the beginning with the birth of a child and into their early years.
Most “wiring of the brain” occurs within the first three years of life. This alone tells us we need to create a nurturing and stimulating environment right from the start. When newborns join the world, they have many needs. Parents must know that they can not spoil a newborn baby; it is essential for parents to meet all the needs of a newborn, both physically and emotionally. This will create a successful first stage of life, according to Erik Erikson, known as: developing trust.
As a baby grows into a toddler, raising a child becomes more challenging. Toddlers like to declare their independence, yet want all the benefits of being a baby when the world becomes to much too handle. Parents and children often become overwhelmed at this stage of life and both end up in tears. Help toddlers to do as much as they can on their own and praise the great job they are doing. It is important to have a child’s point of view here, respond positively to challenging situations, value their age, and laugh! Seeing the silly side of things will brighten any stressful situation.
Attunement, according to Daniel Stern, is when a child sees other people around can relate to their feelings and emotions. When this relationship happens between parents and children, the signals which created an emotion are strengthened; when this relationship does not occur, for example, if an adult is mad when a baby or child is happy, the brain becomes extremely confused. When a child rolls a ball for the first time, clapping and smiling will reinforce the feeling of happiness and excitement.
Most adults have heard the term “treat others as you would like to be treated.” This is how infants and young children learn to relate to others; it all depends on the type of relationship parents and children experience. What an adult gives to their child is what they will get out of their child. With a positive relationship from birth, toddlers learn to grow with compassion and curiosity. We often see toddlers acting out various roles when play props are given and care for those who are in need. However, toddlers also lack many verbal skills to express their feelings; this will come as they grow. Because of this, we find children of this age hitting, scratching, or biting. It is important to set a short and firm logical consequence when these actions happen, like taking the wanted toy away and stating “Ouch! Biting hurts! We take turns, not bite.” Toddlers are not ready for the concept of sharing, taking turns is easier to grasp. Validating a young child’s feelings will help parents and children respect each other.
Talking to an infant, even though they cannot respond, stimulates and lays a great foundation for language development. When an infant makes a cry, coo or babble, have a conversation with the baby. This helps them hear what it is like to converse with questions and answers. It is also nice to imitate a baby’s sounds; they recognize the imitation and know interaction is taking place. Toddlers may not always be easy to understand, therefore, it is very important to bend down on their level, listen and repeat what you think is heard. This ensures input of words, ideas and conversation.
Remember, children are only young once. Embrace and enjoy!