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Mastering the Art of Parenting

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The most important single role of parenting is to love and take care of your children and to build in them feelings of high sense of worth and self-confidence. If you raise your children feeling terrific about themselves, if you bring them up full of enthusiasm to go out and take on the world, then you have fulfilled your responsibility in the highest possible sense. 

Why Parents Don't Love Enough 
There are two major reasons for the breakdown by parents to love their children enough. First, the parents do not feel affection for themselves. Parents with low self-esteem have great difficulty giving more love to their children than they feel for themselves. The second reason that parents don't love their children enough is they often have the incorrect notion that their children exist to fulfill their expectations. 

Children are Not Possessions
The starting point of raising super kids is to realize that your children are not your property. Your children belong to themselves. They are a bequest to you from high above, and a temporary gift at that.

Children are a Precious Gift

When you look at your children as precious gifts that you can only take pleasure in for a short time, you see your position as parents differently. When you rejoice and support the special nature and personality of your child, he or she grows like a flower in sunshine. But if you try to get your child to be something he or she is not, your child's spirit will become weak, and his or her potential for happiness and joy will shrivel like a leaf on a tree in autumn.

Love Makes the Difference
The most important selflessness in raising super kids is the amount of love they receive. Children need love like flowers need water. An uninterrupted flow of love and appreciation from the parent to the child is the child's lifeline to emotional and physical health. Love deprivation is surely the most serious dilemma that a child can suffer during his or her formative years.

Unconditional Love and Acceptance
Make it clear to your child that nothing he or she does could ever cause you to love him or her less than 100 percent. The most fantastic gift you can give your child is the absolute conviction that you love him or her completely, without condition, no matter what he or she does and no matter what happens.

Praise and Encouragement
Give your children continual praise and encouragement for the positive things they do, even small things. Praise and highlight what you would like to see repeated. Praise them to build their self-esteem and self-confidence.

Action Exercise
Ask yourself what it would be like to be your own child. Put yourself in the place of your child or your children, and then assess yourself as a parent. What are your strengths and weaknesses? What do you do well and what do you do poorly? What are some of the thing that you do that might be causing your children to grow up with lower self-esteem than you would like? What can you do, starting today, to be a better and more loving parent? 

How much is too much

Thursday, July 29, 2010

How much is too much?
Should your child go for the football practice 5 days a week?  Are 3 days enough? It is widespread for parents to be a little perplexed when it comes to deciding how much is too much with reference to after school activities.
They dispute that since most of the activities are fun (as different from studies), children will basically lap up these classes. But, too much of enjoyment can also make a child sick. Here is a straightforward guide that will help you come to a decision how much is too much for your child.
Your child is just beginning to learn to cooperate and get used to discipline. His or her after-school life should be simple and relaxed. One or two classes per week are enough at the beginning. Once the child settles down, look for more difficult activities like a music program.
Grade 1 (6 – 7 years old):
One or two activities per week, play dates and recreational area visits are recommended. Stay away from competitive sports activities. The child is still too young to have to be troubled about winning and losing. After the severity of a full day at school, he or she needs a healthy outlet for pent up energy.
Physical activities and non competitive games are best for this age.
Grade 2 (8 – 9 years old):
Your child is old enough to say opinions on what activities he or she needs. Sports, skating, swimming or computers - Guide him towards things he likes. Many children begin lessons on a musical instrument around this age. But, allow your child some 'alone time' during which he can relax and just do whatever he wishes.
Grade 3 (9 – 10 years old) :
Socialization begins to take center stage. Team sports are a good choice. Developing motor skills, painting, drawing etc are good too. Let the child discover areas of interests. But leave aside enough time for the family and for fun activities.
Grade 4 (10 – 11 years old):
At this age, the child will tell you what he likes. He needs to get involved in activities that will boost his confidence. This will also help him deal with stress as this is the time when social pressure is beginning to build. But, beware of the homework demon. Your child needs more time with his studies. Balancing his schoolwork with other activities is very important.
Grade 5 (11 – 12 years old):
The fifth grader is bubbling with energy and will want to do just about everything. But she or he may conveniently push studies to the background. So, close supervision is needed. Keep one or two days free for family time and other activities. Now is a great time to get your child involved in neighborhood service.
Middle & Higher Secondary school (13 – 17 years old):
Steer him away from TV. Get him occupied in activities that emphasize learning. Academic performance can be enhanced by encouraging your preteen to join clubs like the Girl/Boy Scouts program, language clubs, chess clubs etc. As a thumb rule, 16-20 hours a week of extra activity should be more than enough. But look out for signs of exhaustion.
What you select for your child and how long he should work at it is basically decided by the child's character. As a parent, you should closely observe your child and base your decisions on feedback from the child himself.

Keeping Children Motivated

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Preliminary eagerness in after school activities tends to diminish after the first enthusiasm is over. This is but expected. The trick is to keep up the hard work even after this. How do you keep your kid motivated? This is of particular significance when the child goes in for educational after school programs.
Build the career-academics correlation early on:
Let your child recognize how vital studies are. Let him know that an outstanding livelihood is altogether dependent on good learning. To widen his curiosity in studies, plan family actions that are related with his studies. Stress the real-world relationship to academics every time possible.
Set goals:
Let your child be acquainted with, through example, that hard effort will be rewarded. If your child believes that accomplishment is a likely by-product of effort, he is more likely to put in hard work. Such children are also less likely to drop out of courses and institutions at a later stage.
Reward success:
When a child accomplishes something, it is essential to congratulate his hard work. Constructive reinforcements increase self-confidence and boost self-esteem. On the other hand, be cautious of criticism. It can damage the fragile personality of kids and play confusion with their mentality.