Approximately 150 million Valentine's Day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine's Day the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas in the west!
Valentine’s Day is a wonderful opportunity to tell all those we love and cherish how glad we are to have them in our life. It is a chance to reflect on how we interact with those we love; not just on that one day, but all through our lives.
So what do we want for those we love? We want them to be loving, caring human beings - to be happy. How does a loving parent do this? Simply put, with love, discipline and by being a role model.
If the word discipline takes you back to being punished by your teacher for talking in class, just know that ‘discipline’ in Latin actually means ‘teach’.
Discipline is not just about getting blind obedience from your child every time. Like love, it is about both - short term compliance and long term maturity.
While short term compliance is essential at times, a child who looks to a parent for every action out of fear of consequences, will never develop long term maturity.In fact some experts even suggest that time-outs or withholding attention, are unlikely to make the child reflect on his actions and make them insecure emotionally instead.
So how do you go about it with love?
You relax- Unless there is imminent danger to the child the first thing to do is to relax. Take a deep breath and calm yourself so that you are better able to control your reactions and actions. Think of the long term.
Pick your battles - You cannot win them all,so you have to decide if the battle is worth it. A stained outfit is not the end of the world. Wearing the colour purple or pink every day is not really a problem; it is just a phase and does not reflect badly on any parenting skills.
Know the triggers - If a toddler finds a particular crystal elephant that you picked up in your travels, which holds a pride of place on the lower shelf of your curio cabinet irresistible, remove it to a safer place. A child throws tantrums and gets irritable for a reason at times. This could be hunger or sleep or thirst or boredom. Know your child’s triggers and make allowances for them.
Structure - Kids thrive on structure. Strict regimentation is boring, but some structure allows kids to explore within their boundaries. Kids are curious by nature and discovery is integral to their growth. Child proof the electric socket rather than prevent a toddler from crawling to it.
More your child feels controlled, the more they tend to rebel for autonomy. Also, as they grow older they are less likely to be restrained by punishment. Rub away kids or experimenting with drugs, is not exactly unheard of. So less control and more love equals more maturity.
Making a mistake is normal. In fact mistakes set the stage for success. Children who are afraid of making mistakes will be less likely to attempt things later on in life.
Teach through play – Kids are likely to be receptive while playing. So talk to them when you play with them. It helps build a bond as well as learn something. Concepts like fairness, sharing etc. can be best explained through play. The family that plays together learns together.
Show them how – Kids want to emulate you. So do what you want them to. Be compassionate, caring and let your everyday actions guide them to be the thinking adults you want them to grow up to be.
It takes love to be patient, to change so that your children can grow to their full potential. This Valentine’s Day think of what you can achieve with love for those you love the most – your little ones.
When you discipline without force, you do it with love. Happy Valentine’s Day!
“Do not train a child to learn by force or harshness; but direct them to it by what amuses their minds, so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.”