Dealing with tweens? Consider these words of wisdom
The development phase is often fraught with the challenges of adopting the right balance between childhood and adulthood
"I want you to come first."
"Why did you get less marks?"
"Look at your friend, how intelligent he is."
"Why can't you be responsible, like your sister?"
The world is changing at a very fast pace, and so are the expectations of parents from children. Every parent wants their child to excel in every field - be it academics, sports, dance or music. Having high expectations of your kids is not as much of an issue as imposing those expectations on them - and parents would do well to manage their expectations before managing their children.
They forget that every child is unique and has their own strengths and weaknesses. Our role, as parents, should be to first understand them and their capabilities; we need to provide an environment conducive to all-round development - physical, emotional, sociological and spiritual. An environment which makes them feel both confident and valued.
This is especially important during the tweens - the transition phase between childhood and the teenage years. This is a development phase that is often fraught with the challenges of adopting the right balance, as tweens may not like being treated either as little children or grown-ups. Consider these tips to help you navigate this time in the best way possible.
Build bonds: Take the time to understand your child, know the challenges they are going through and, accordingly, contribute more positively to their development. As parents, we have already passed this stage, so it shouldn't be too difficult to sense what they are feeling or going through.
Don't assume one size fits all: Each of the four major parenting styles - authoritative, neglectful, permissive and authoritarian - is different from the other and can elicit different responses from different kids. It is important to keep in mind that every child is different and so is every child-parent relationship. There is no single recommended style of parenting. The most effective style of parenting depends upon the parent, the child and the situation.
Ditch the comparisons: As parents, we have a tendency to compare our children with their siblings, cousins, the neighbours' children, their friends - even ourselves! We give them examples from our childhood days and expect them to do the same. Parents must bear in mind that such comparisons are likely to do more harm than good - and should, therefore, be avoided at all costs.
Up your quality time: Parents may feel that providing good schooling, and enrolling them for various extracurricular activities and classes is everything. They may feel that by doing this, they have fulfilled their responsibilities. I believe when parents increase their quality of interaction with their kids, children become better prepared for success. We need to groom them with the needed skills and mindsets - not only to be successful but, more importantly, to handle failures. And this will be possible when we take time out to develop them.
Give before you expect: Finally, I would like to emphasise that before expecting, learn to give. Children are not only our future - they are the future of our society and nation. Hence, our responsibility is to make them responsible citizens of tomorrow. Treat your children with love and care. Teach them life skills. Train their character - showing them the importance of respect, love, generosity and, most importantly, how to face challenges in order to live a meaningful life.