The most important part of bringing up a happy child is to know happiness yourself.
Parenting is aptly compared to a roller coaster ride. You think it’s going to be a steady and enjoyable, but the ups and downs of the journey can throw you off guard.
Like all parents, you want to gain control, but all you can do is buckle up and know how to deal with the ride.
A child’s behaviour is anything but consistent. Dealing with such dynamic emotions makes parenting challenging. We had a live Q and A with child psychologist Sonal Raja and tried to under the delicate aspects of parenting better.
Q. My daughter used to be a happy child but when she turned 2 the tantrums started. It got worse when I delivered my younger one. I spend most of the day with my elder child but the moment she sees me with my younger daughter she throws a fit. I follow gentle parenting with her but things are not improving. She is 3 now and have recently started hitting me in anger. What should I do?
A. Your older child needs some behavioural intervention from a specialist. It might be something that you are not able to figure out. What I would do is to spend some time with the child when the little one is not around, give separate time and attention to each one.
Q. My 3-year-old son always cries for everything. When someone asks him his name, he starts to cry. Whenever I try to feed him he starts to cry. Even when I teach him something he starts to cry. What is happening?
A. Has your child started talking? When did speech start? When children cry, they are trying to express something that they either don't know how to express or can't express. We have to first get to the root of it and understand crying not as 'crying' but as a medium of communication.
Q. How do I know now and in future if something is bothering my child and what it is? At times he gets very angry and just does not listen. I want to be able to read him and understand his emotions every day. How to raise a happy child?
A. We always have to think about out children. Good communication, storytime and spending a lot of time with children doing random but age-appropriate activities will help you know your child and what is going on his/her life. Keep talking while doing chores at home and allow her/him to talk more.
Happiness starts with you as a parent. The most important part of bringing up a happy child is to know happiness yourself. Be positive in dealing with stressors, especially the everyday ones- maid not turning up, traffic, unexpected events etc. Your child will also learn to handle such events positively. Remember that nothing unless life-threatening is more important than love and respect - and it can wait. GIve your children enough quality time, enough sleep, so that they wake up happy and rested and go to school happy and look to come home and do activities with parents.
Q. a) I have twin boys who are 33-months-old now. Twin A is an introvert and if anyone snatches a toy from him he will quietly move to another toy. When his brother does it he simply cries. How can I help him?
b) Twin B likes to snatch everything from his brother. I also find him hitting himself at times. He gets too excited, grinds his teeth and hits his head. Is this some cause of concern?
A. Most children display these behaviours at this age-group. Children copy their parents and their behaviours in different situations. We have to first look at what is your response when your children behave in an undesirable manner and see whether there is any chance that anything that you do reinforces their negative ways (please do not misunderstand but children understand the world differently and hence we have to be very cautious in the way we respond to them).
We have to give individual time to both the children so that there is no insecurity about their time with you. Gently remove the object of dispute whenever there is a disagreement. Also, do not react when your child is banging his head, unless it can harm him.
Yes, the parenting roller coaster ride does give us butterflies in the stomach, but all we can do is stay positive, communicate and try to enjoy the ride!
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