Monday, February 27, 2012

Raising a child

Here are a few guidelines for raising a child in the modern world from a great child-raiser (my mother). Thought I'd share if anyone can benefit from this!

1. Your child should be your first priority. Give him/her unconditional love.

2. Protect the child against normal hazards, but also insidious things

- never make your child feel guilty
- don't threaten them or use fear
- don't make promises you can't keep

3. Be age-appropriate with your child. Don't expect them to understand things only older children would..

4. Decide what your limits will be on the most important issues and don't compromise on them

- For example, stick to a bedtime and have a routine before it
- Don't change those limits just because you are at a party or have people over, unless it's really a special occasion

5. Give your child rituals, festivals, and traditions. They need a routine and consistency.

- Teach them slokams and songs, take them to church/temple, give them a cultural context
- Do what was important to you as a child - share your beliefs
- Do things you can show and in which the child can participate

6. Make sure kids play with others at their friends' houses

- Realize that your friends' kids may not be your kids' best friends
- Besides relatives and outside friends, make sure kids have friends from school
- Organize play dates
- Try to expose them to different backgrounds, not just other Indians or people from your economic class

7. Spend at least 1/2 hr three times a week with your child to teach them something

- Try your traditional language or music or some other activity
- Share something you know and love that you want them to learn

8. Hug and kiss your child at least once a day

9. Don't put each other down in front of the child. Show a united front.

- The person who is good with discipline should communicate the decision
- Don't back down or send mixed messages!

10. Be laid back about your kids' growth and achievements.

- Don't go by books or what society expects. Each child has different capabilities and interests.
- Skip all the charts and recommended goals and millions of activities.

11. Give your children some unstructured alone time.

- This is time for creativity and imagination
- No tv, no video games
- Really, leave them alone for it and don't interfere or stifle.

(I should note: if I could follow all these all the time, I'd consider myself a perfect parent, which I am most definitely not!)

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