Educationist Fatema Agarkar explains why positive interactions are key to skillful parenting

Children between the age group of 8 and 11 can be rebellious against their parents demanding more freedom and their parents to understand their perspective. So, Educationist Fatema Agarkar, founder of ACE explains why it’s the best way to deal with it by positive interactions.
Educationist Fatema Agarkar explains why positive interactions are key to skillful parenting
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The impressionable age-group 8 to 11 years want parents to re-adjust their mindset. They want them to be their mentor who would be willing to give them independence to some extent. So, fathers and mothers need a more responsive parenting style to empower children to develop skills and behaviours.

Often, parental concerns about 'misbehaviour', 'indiscipline’, ‘back answering', etc. create a bit of tension in the house and parents find themselves resorting to action that leads to further challenges in their relationship with the children. Co-operative relationships, therefore, are the most effective way of approaching this age group or in other words, setting positive examples and creating peaceful environments for children to express and share their concerns are the best way of parenting.

Educationist Ms Fatema Agarkar shares her views on the significance of positive interactions in parenting:

Why high expectations about your children are harmful?

It’s best to recognise that while comparing your child to someone else’s child, you will always find 'gaps' but that is not your child’s fault, it is your expectation that is maybe unrealistic. Positive parenting is about understanding your child for who she/he is, his/her own strengths and limitations and understanding the journey involves moments of success as you would like it, but also moments when children make mistakes.

Parents often share their expectations about their children – they should speak well, be respectful, be motivated, be charming, academically on track achieving the optimum grades, excelling in co-curricular, etc. But if a child is all this, where is the scope for learning, improving and embracing life’s challenges? They are children and not robots, and therefore positive parenting is all about being realistic, open-minded and using kind gestures and words, enabling children to become independent, supporting them when they stumble, giving them the confidence that you have faith in them, even if they fail, you would love them unconditionally and help them to resolve problems and improve.

Let them know that you are always there

This single act of always letting them know that you 'have their back' fosters greater self-esteem, allows children to take a few risks, enables them to cope and also be open to seeking help positively and not be fearful of letting you down. Approaching the relationship, as if the child is adult, changes the way you will react to situations when something is not according to your expectations. It allows you to understand the root cause of why there are tantrums each time you suggest or recommend activity or a task – Is it due to lack of understanding, is it a case of nerves, is it something to do with peer pressure?

What is positive parenting?

Positive parenting is about understanding what your child is going through at that moment and helping the child before you start the blame game. Lectures about how you did it or so will not work with this age group. Listening objectively and compassionately and curbing that urge to say 'I told you so' will go a long way in building harmonious relationships with your children that allow them to be motivated to work with your suggestions. There is always a 'push-pull' strategy involved – instead of screaming at your child for not completing the homework, sit with your child and discuss timelines, allow the child to play, be available to calmly remind (if you know this will happen) and then allow the child to take onus. Instead of lecturing, allow the child to explain to you why the grade was not as per standard. All this can be done in a mature manner, and not 'fighting' with your child. Your consistent tone and action will quickly drive home the point with the child that he/she must be accountable for you to trust them with things.

Positive parenting does have far-reaching effects. It involves hard work, patience and alternating between 'good-cop and bad-cop' strategies. This will also help you reduce the pressure of nurturing a 'perfect' child for that child does not exist anywhere and everyone knows. Life is a series of experiences and through positive parenting, you can seamlessly limit the negative ones.

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