What gifts do you give your child? Books, toys, video games and miscellaneous trinkets that your Princess and Prince will surely dote on right?
As children grow older, parents in their desire to ensure the security of their child’s future may think of more elaborate and expensive ways to take care of their child’s happiness. For some it may be through ensuring that the child receives the best education possible, for others it may be by investing in a property, for others, it may be by bestowing on them the family heirloom, that can even be a business empire.
But what about providing an environment that would have you bestow your child the “Gift” of a great positive attitude to face life and its challenges?
Your “Gift” to your child is one that the child would learn primarily at home and with family with your guidance and support.
Create a Positive Thinking Lifestyle through Verbal and Non Verbal Communication
Our interaction with our child at home is often based on our state of mind. Work related tension, stress caused by our relationships at home, health issues are all some of the factors that can affect our verbal and non verbal communication with our child.
Paying attention to how positively you interact and relate to your child would enable the child to understand the value of a beautiful home environment.
The home environment is also one that plays a vital role in the development of the growing child’s confidence and self esteem.
Promote Positive Thinking through Nutrition
Healthy eating habits help us immensely in being positive and developing the right attitude towards life.
If a child often experiences unhealthy meals comprising of junk, packaged and processed food at home, the possibilities of problems such as obesity, illnesses and diseases triggered by a fatty diet, are high in later life. Eating healthy and wholesome meals at home with lots of vegetables and fruits will not only help the child be healthy but also be more energetic and active.
Significance of Charity and People Development
Learning about the value of charity, and giving back to society through activities that help develop and grow people from less fortunate background is ideally learnt in our home environment. As parents, this philosophy can be taught by practising it at home with the participation of the child.
The behaviour that the child needs to learn can be best understood through the initiative of the parents – initiate a culture in the household that the child can appreciate through observation.
A culture that holds altruism in high esteem and regard.
For eg: a novel way of celebrating a parent’s birthday could be by organizing a delicious “birthday feast” for the children in an orphanage or for the elderly in a home for elders. Sharing the birthday meal with the orphans or the elders would also help the child see the importance in experiencing joy through the happiness experienced by the needy or the poor.
Belief in Etiquette
We all believe in the value of etiquette and politeness but to what extent do we encourage children to practice it at home?
A child who is used to being spoken to and conversed with politeness would see its value at a far earlier age than one who is taught to pay “special attention”to courteous behavior in public. Help the child lead a less stressful life by encouraging the desirable behavior at home as well as in public.
Any form of pretension is a stress factor so it’s elimination would help increase the child’s interest and happiness in life.
Encourage Entrepreneurship through Creativity
One of my collegues adopted a novel way of encouraging her artistic 13 year old child’s creative entrepreneurial skills by encouraging her to draw a picture for an ad of her company. How did the ad turn out? Not only was it a novel and unique ad, it gave the child the belief that she is capable of creating a work of art suitable for an ad.
The challenge for the parent was “should I go ahead with this idea of an ad with my child who currently has no awareness of the company”.
Give your child the chance, besides who else would give this fantastic opportunity to develop your child’s potential?
Courage to Aspire to Inspire
Have a wall in the child’s room that is licensed to display the child’s creativity. It can be artwork, poetry, thoughts, ideas…whatever the child wishes to create on the wall. I still remember as a child, when a couple of guests visited us and were “horrified” by the “messy” wall in my room while my Dad stood beside them with a faint smile of amusement. The delight I experienced that day as I silently basked in my Dad’s silent support amidst the guests’ displeased reaction to my “colourful” wall still makes me smile!
If a messy wall in your home does not sound like an exciting idea to you, there is another option. Encourage child’s creativity by displaying the art and craft works of the child in the home. A part of your home would do, eg: your bedroom, your child’s bedroom or the study.
Value of Self Control
Despite our innate desire to see our children “happy”, discourage yourself from the temptation of buying them whatever they ask. Encourage the child to think about the need factor as far as the purchase is concerned , the value of the commodity in the child’s life and ask the question, “Does it actually enhance the happiness factor in the child’s life?”. Teaching them the value of self control would also help them be in a happier state of mind in future as they would not base their happiness purely on the accumulation of commodities or things that money can buy.
Value of Delay in Self Gratification
My friend who grew up in a happy family remarks that her family’s growth from a middle class existence to a wealthy state was hardly noticed by her. “We began to lead a lifestyle that was definitely more comfortable but our personal spending continued to be not radically different from the past,” she says. “We would wait for sales to buy expensive commodities, though we could buy them during the non sale period time too”, she recalls.
A huge change of lifestyle in a child’s home would also encourage a child to base happiness on the availability of material comforts. A misconception that could lead to disappointment and have an undesirable impact on the child’s happiness especially should times change.
A loving, happy and healthy family environment that nurtures a child into a responsible and positive individual is where the value of this special “gift” of an attitude is most respected and valued.
The development of this attitude would strengthen the child’s ability to tackle personal and professional challenges in life. For parents, the happiness of their child is of paramount importance so this “gift” of an attitude that you will be incorporating in your child will help him to be a happy, positive, successful and responsible member of society.
And while this would be one “Gift” that your child would forever be grateful for having received from you, this would be one “Gift” that you would be truly happy to have given to your child.