When it comes to understanding children, the process is a little less tasking. Because, simply put, children are innocent creatures. And one aspect of innocence is ignorance and another is the inability to conceal. Children are more or less so much more obvious in showing emotions and expressing opinions. You can see it right on their faces. Facial expressions are the most telling marks on the child’s face. Understanding children appropriately is possible if the parents, teachers and caregivers closely observe them.
But as kids grow older, they become more adept at telling lies or betraying our trust. So it is important that parents build a strong bond of understanding with kids early on in childhood, so that they feel fearless and free to disclose their anxieties, worries or mistakes. Never give the impression of being too judgemental or over-critical. It simply closes down possibilities of their communication with us. This may be detrimental to their safety and security in the long run.
Children are mostly sensitive by nature. It’s an attribute of the childhood phase. If we as parents come across as too ‘narrow-minded’ in the minds of children, they instantly put off discussions or seeking our help in solving their problems, which may only worsen matters and lead to dire consequences. So we have to take extra care to make them feel at ease with us.
Trying to understand and empathise with anyone, especially kids, involves two golden rules:
- Listening attentively
- Talking openly
Closely observing the child’s facial expression, body language and tone of voice shall easily help quite an intelligent grownup, especially the parent, understand the child’s state of mind.
Understanding your kid is not the only important aspect. Let your child know or realize that he/she is being understood by the parent. I have come across instances, in which the parents ‘say’ they understand their child, whereas the girl/boy complains, ‘My parents don’t try to understand me at all’. What good purpose is served by this chasm of misunderstanding between parents and kids? On the other hand, so many problems could have been nipped right in the bud if there were mutual understanding between parents and their children.
Herein lays the relevance of communication to bridge the chasm brought about by misunderstanding. Communication is a two-way procedure. One-sided talks don’t conform to the standard of true communication. Authoritarian parenting is more or less one-sided, wherein the parents issue orders to kids regarding what they should or shouldn’t do and not conforming to those conditions would result in certain punishment.
Democratic parenting adheres to open communication among the family members and hence, there is remarkable understanding in such households.
When kids realize that they are clearly understood by the parents (and teachers at school), the following positive changes at once set in motion:
- They develop a feeling of security
- Their confidence level rockets sky-high
- Rising self-respect makes them feel really good and happy
- Being certain of moral support from parents (and teachers), they look forward to life with excitement, adventure and zest
- They are energized to study and follow their dreams and passions
- They refrain from falling into vices
- They would rather stick to morals, values and ethics imbibed as part of their upbringing
- Good citizens are moulded eventually – who respect and accept others and in turn, easily become acceptable wherever they are.
- Greater possibility for success in life.
- Their positivity is of course passed on as a legacy to future generations.
It’s a cycle. It simply is. And, the results are more far-reaching than we can ever imagine!
When it comes to teens, they themselves are at a loss regarding the way they feel, the emotions that are on a high in matters of romance, friendship, relations with parents, teachers, indecisiveness about career, future – the list goes on.
As parents and teachers who have passed through that ‘roller-coaster’ phase ourselves, it would do a lot of good if we could empathise with that particular phase of life they are in. Giving them their space to deal on their own to a certain level while also making sure that our guidance is at hand will help them manage wonderfully!