For most parents, raising a child can be as taxing as it is rewarding. And for some, their parenting journey could be fraught with even more challenges. When one is overcome with negativity or fails to manage expectations, how does it impact the child? Mr Rajendran Sethuraj, a caregiver, shares his thoughts on how positive thinking among parents can help set the stage for healthier parent-child relationship and better learning outcomes for children.
It is not uncommon to face highs and lows in our parenting journey. As parents, we face the challenge of fostering an appropriate learning behaviour in our children, especially for children with special needs. For instance, cognitive rigidity is common among some children with autism. Their fixation on certain interests may pose a barrier to their overall growth and development. The process of guiding our child is not an easy one, which may in turn result in pent-up stresses in parents.
Societal factors may also influence our ability to unearth our child’s untapped potential. At times, we may feel guilty setting unrealistic expectations for our children. The resulting frustration on both parent and child will only result in a rift that hampers our ability to support them.
Having the right mindset can help us to shape the interactions with our children and create a nurturing environment for them. A mindset that focuses on the child’s strengths can be especially helpful in guiding him or her to realise their fullest potential.
Let me share with you a story of my son, Kirisnah.
As his previous workplace was far from home, I was initially worried if he could wake up on time to prepare for work. Will he be able to travel independently? One thought led to another, and my mind was filled with many potential challenges that Kirisnah may face.
To my surprise, my son reassured me with his comforting words.
“Daddy, I can do it. Please show me the way,” he said confidently.
I was caught aback.
I wondered if my mindset is hindering my son’s development.
Suddenly, I found myself standing between Kirisnah’s desire to be independent and my need to protect him.
It dawned on me that my wife and I will not be with Kirisnah for life. Eventually, he will need to face life challenges independently.
By giving him the right amount of guidance and an opportunity to be independent, gradually over time, Kirisnah was able to commute between home and his workplace by himself. However, the challenge did not stop there. As he was unable to keep pace with the work demands, Kirisnah’s stint at his workplace was short. Fortunately, he managed to secure another job opportunity recently and we are now working to familiarise him with the new travel route.
Looking back, I realised that mindset is a critical determinant that contributes to our children’s growth and development. Admittedly, I was guilty of being overly protective of my son at times.
Yet, the unfolding of the above scenario has made me realised that I may not always make the right judgement call.
In fact, cultivating the right mindset requires plenty of work on our part. We must learn to accept the ups and downs of life trajectory. With each ordeal, we gain valuable wisdom that shapes our future perspective and decision-making process. We also need a certain level of fortitude to overcome the pain that accompanies every disappointment.
With a positive mindset, we learn to be cheerleaders for our children’s personal success.
No longer will they be held hostage by societal demands. Instead of holding them back, we should learn to support their journey towards independence and be there for them even when they don’t do well. We will celebrate every small success and encourage them to pursue the life that they want.
Like yours, my journey continues. Let’s maintain the faith and go with the flow…