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As parents and as teachers, we intend to help our children towards the right direction in life with every activity that we conduct with them, be it as small as sharing a meal or as big as sending them to the right school. And with each of these activities, we expect our children’s participation and performance to exceed our expectations, for them to give their 100% since we, as parents, gave our 100%.
Sometimes, exceeded expectations lead to extensive praise for these children, and not fulfilling these expectations leads to punishment. This approach in parenting may not be wrong at heart, but for parents, it is important to understand that the smallest of incidents that occur during childhood may remain with the child throughout her or his lifetime, and mould them into vulnerable adults.
Every child strives to put in as much effort as they possibly can into the activities they are asked to do. Thus, the expectations of parents should not be the parameter of rewarding the child. To explain further, let’s consider an easy example – you ask your child to clean up the mess in their room. After a while, you notice that the child has done their work, but it is not what you had expected. The room may either be more or less cleaner than you expected. Then why is it that when you find the room cleaner, you reward your child handsomely, while in case it remains unclean, you punish them?
The concept of praise and punishment is not flawed as a whole, but should be used in moderation. As parents, you should identify the threshold of your child’s capacity, and accordingly grant them the praise, or the punishment, that they deserve, not base it on generalized expectations and observations of the other children around.
It is important to also understand that this praise, and this punishment, should not be harsh or materialistic. Do not doll out rewards in the form of toys & gadgets which you might take away in case they make mistakes. Praise in the form of encouraging words accompanied by your child’s favourite meal may make it more memorable and honorable for your child, as would punishment in the form of either extra chores or just self-contemplation. There is no necessity to involve punishments which are physical in nature, or like writing something a certain number of times, or timeout in or outside the house.
As is seen, activities performed by a child, for the child, and on the child are carried by them throughout life, molding them into adults gradually. They see what us adults cannot. Thus, it is important to introduce the right balance of praise and punishment within your children’s life, and make both activities of learning and understanding.
The doors of The Manthan School are always open for parents and guardians for a detailed discussion and understanding of child development, psychology and progress, and conversations around activities like teaching a child, parenting, education and more. Contact us today.