It is the parents’ role to mold their children into the best they could possibly be. This, however, is the subject of much discussion and misinterpretation. Molding and shaping your child to be the best does not mean that you get to have your own way. Each person is born to this world with specific skills. As he grows, he also develops new skills and starts having his own preferences in just about anything in this world. Raising your child should be all about helping him harness his potentials and use his God-given tools so that he can become the person he wants to be. Respecting your child’s individuality is important in this process.
Do not impose your own wants on your children. Some parents would have their children pursue paths that they were not allowed to take during their youth. The children might not necessarily be as passionate about these interests as their parents are. To help you with your stab at respecting your child’s individuality, the following tips should point you to the right direction:
1. Acknowledge his skills and capabilities. Use your powers of observation to determine your child’s interests. Even at a young age, children often exhibit behaviour that indicate particular preference for specific activities. This will tell you what skills and capabilities your child has and what you can help him with in terms of developing these gifts.
2. Be generous with praises. Don’t skimp on telling your kids that you are proud of them. Find something praiseworthy even in the little things that they do. This will help him build the self-confidence he needs.
3. Be constructive with criticisms. Putting your kids down is never part of your job description as a parent. You do, however, want to let them know what their mistakes are. This should be done in a constructive rather than a critical manner. Let him understand too that you will be there to help him change for the better. Even if you have a grand plan for the adult that you want your child to turn into, you cannot discount the possibility that his skills, talents, and preferences could make him more successful in some other field of interest. By respecting your child’s individuality, you are actually helping your child to become happy with the success he is able to achieve in his chosen realm.
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What will you do if your child shows you something he or she made that does not meet your expectation? Do you praise him/her then give your criticisms afterwards or do you reject it outright? It sure takes a Phd in psychology to be a parent these days. I need to research what top psychology schools are saying on how we can criticize our children.
An incident on my childhood gave me an idea to post about this. Hubby and I were reminiscing our childhood while doing the laundry last Friday when the said incident flashed back. Everything is still vivid on my mind. My Dad was talking to Lolo Maning, our visitor that day, when I showed him my drawing of tree roses that were colored with red. Lovely…and so I thought. But instead of praises, I heard criticisms from my father, “Roses ba yan? Bakit ang hahaba ng tangkay? May roses bang ganyang kahaba ang tangkay?” (Are those roses? Why are the stems too long? Are there roses with such long stems?) Lolo Maning replied upon hearing Dad’s comment. He then said “Hindi dapat ganyan ang sagot mo. Dapat ang sagot mo, maganda anak, pero mas maganda kung iniklian mo ng konti ang tangkay.” (You should not answer like that. You should have said, “It’s lovely my child but it could have been lovelier if you made the stems shorter”). I always respect my father’s words but that time I know Lolo Maning was right. Thanks to him because from then on Dad gives his criticisms constructively. If not for Lolo Maning maybe I am not as confident as I am today.
Rejection has negative effects on children. It gives them low self esteem and causes them to have maladaptive social behavior sometimes. Yes, rejection maybe is part of life but if you yourself reject your children, how would you teach them to deal with rejections and criticisms from other persons? As parent it is your role to give your children words of encouragement and recognize their accomplishments. By doing so, you will give them a sense of pride that will build their self esteem, good behavior and improve their academic performances. But then too much of everything is bad so don’t over criticize your children as they may get immune with it. The best thing to do is praise your children but still, discuss about their mistakes and weaknesses.
So, how to criticize your child constructively?
1. Criticize the act, not your child. Feel confident that doing so is appropriate to the situation.
2. Remember that you are criticizing to help your child improve so have a clear message that is delivered properly and is constructive for your child
3. Give your child the chance to explain his/her side and listen to his/her point of view.
4. Give your child the chance to correct his/her mistakes.
5. Consider your child’s feelings. If he/she is a little sensitive, then you need a lighter approach.
6. Always criticize with love.