Parents, Listen to Your Children
3 September 2014 01:57 pm
By Sirohmi Gunesekera (Teacher, Attorney-at-Law and Researcher into Human Relations & The Family Unit)
“Children, come to eat.” Children, go to bed.” “Children, wake up. It’s time to go to school.”
The above commands are often the only conversation parents have with their children. It is a list of orders and children willingly or unwillingly carry them out. But what goeson in their little minds?How often has a mother or father spoken openly to a child and then listenedto what the child had to say? What of thechild’s thoughts?Perhaps the time has to come to stopgiving orders and listen to what the childhas thought out on his own. Often, adultsdon’t encourage the child to think forhimself or herself.Just like drawing or colouring toexpress oneself, the child can be trained tothink independently. If your child wants towear a yellow t-shirt with a blue skirt, whydon’t you let her? Just because you feelthat the colours don’t match, it’s no reasonto impose your will on your child.
Depending on your child’s age, you can train your child to become more independent. This is easier for a Stay at- home Mum for you have enough time. Remember your child is not a carbon copy of you. Just because your mother brought you up her way, you don’t have to continue the one way system. “Your children are not your children. They are life’s longing for itself. You cannot visit them not even in your dreams. For their minds dwell in the house of tomorrow.”
Said the Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran in “The Prophet” It is important to take time off to ask your child what he is thinking.
Encourage him to question the status quo. Even if you are watching TV with her, ask her what an advertisement is trying to say and pose the question, “Is powdered milk so important because it is convenient? And why does a mother have to act in a commercial?” If your child is over five years old, you can explain that a TV commercial is shown in order to sell the product.
The role played by money is important for a child to understand, along with information about all the things money cannot buy, like a father’s love. Set your child’s mind thinking about Nature and how the sun shines on all and is free. Show him a flower and let him discover for himself how a butterfly is attracted to it. It is pretty and it is free!
If you have won the confidence of your child, he or she may even confide in you about possible sexual abuse by an uncle, someone who is close to the family. It is important to build trust between your child and you because there are many dangers today facing an innocent child. You must tell him about the birds and the bees so he or she can look after himself or herself. All in all, there is no substitute for getting your child to talk to you freely without just laying down the law. It’s not too late to start even with a teenager!