There are a few things that are an absolute NO when we become parents. While kids bring loads of happiness and a sense of fulfillment in our lives, they also come with a list of do’s and don’ts. There are 6 commandments that we must follow:
1. Thou shalt not have sex in the kid’s presence
No matter how small the kid is, parents must take care not to have sex in the kid’s vision range. Even if the kid is sleeping, parents must not get tempted. During sleep,the two senses, auditory and kinesthetic, are receptive and can interfere with kid’s dreams to create unwanted perceptions. Also, it will be a source of great embarrassment if the kid wakes up to see what the parents are upto. It doesn’t mean that parents have to behave like saints in front of the kid. Hugging, kissing and snuggling are quite acceptable and in fact give a lot of confidence and comfort to a kid to see his parents having a good relationship. Parents must maintain the thin line between romance and sexuality.
2. Thou shalt not lie and cheat others in the kid’s knowledge
Kids learn their values from parents. While we all have to lie to others at some point or the other (like telling a pesky salesman that you don’t have money to buy his product in order to get rid of him), we must take care that we don’t do so in front of our kid. And even if we have to, we should make it a point to talk to the kid about it later and explain how important it was. When there is someone at the door or phone we don’t want to meet or talk to, we often ask kids to tell the person that we are not available. While it makes sense to us, it creates confusion in kids’ mind who have so far been hearing from us that we should not lie or cheat. They learn to lie and also form an impression that it’s ok not to practice what you preach.
3. Thou shalt not fight with your partner in front of the kid
While one would think that this should not be done AT ALL, fighting and shouting are the bitter truths of many marriages. Watching parents fight has a very detrimental effect on children. Domestic violence has been a big reason behind poor self-esteem, depression, anxiety and a sense of guilt in children. Parents patch up privately and hardly in front of kids. Thus kids learn how to fight but do not learn how to make amends. This affects their socializing skills negatively.
4. Thou shalt not complain about the kid when he or she is around
Many parents do this. They talk about the bad habits of the kid in front of him. Someone makes a remark as to how thin the child is looking and Lo! the parents, especially mothers, start talking about what a big fussy eater he is, how he never eats/drinks healthy food, how he gobbles down junk food. And the complaint goes on and on. This not only embarrasses the child, but also compounds the issue. The child hits back by further refusing the food.
5. Thou shalt not hit your child
Parents must take care to learn to discipline the child without resorting to emotional and physical punishments. Punishment acts as a knife on the child, literally. It cuts his sense of self. It cuts his deep bonds with his parents. It cuts his belief in himself. It forces him to resort to revenge, resentment, rebellion or depression, creating a vicious cycle of problems.
6. Thou shalt not compare your kid with other kids ever
Two mothers with their respective kids playing together can barely go without making comparisons between the kids’ abilities, habits, parenting styles, support system at home etc etc. The two main aims at doing comparisons are firstly to encourage the child if he is lagging behind by showing others as examples and secondly to get sympathy from other parents for having a ‘difficult’ child. But such comparisons do more harm than good to the child. They destroy the child’s self confidence completely as well as give him a message that his parents are not happy with him.
Follow these 6 commandments and thou shalt raise a happy, confident and loving child !
Written by Aanchal Agarwal, Aanchal is a psychotherapist, special educator and mother, based in Bangalore. She specializes in child development and learning disabilities.