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Five healthy parenting goals for the New Year
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Five healthy parenting goals for the New Year

Gentle parenting, creating safe and non-judgemental spaces to address their relationships are simple parenting goals to begin with

As we ring in the New Year with new resolutions, parents can plan their parenting goals by reflecting on their relationship with their children and adopting new parenting techniques that will help them grow and develop. By breaking away from age-old unapproachable parenting styles and adopting a more communicative environment, most parents are attempting to deepen their understanding of their children. 

Here are some simple, yet significant steps in 2024, that parents can adopt as parenting goals to strengthen their bonding with their children:

1. Adopting gentle parenting as a new parenting style

Strengthen your bonding with your child through gentle parenting, that emphasizes empathy, kindness, faith, and confidence (with boundaries, of course) rather than punishment-oriented approaches. “Gentle parenting helps children graduate to the next level of maturity where they have better control over their selves. They can regulate things better and become their confident selves,” says Harshant Upadhyaya, a counseling psychologist and founder of ‘Way to Hope’ in Mumbai. With the gentle parenting technique, children can learn from their own mistakes and form their own goals. “Allow them to make mistakes and tell them that it’s fine if they mess up because they will always have you to fall back on,” she says.

2. Beating exam stress, even if your child is a slow learner

As much as it is for parents, exam season is a nerve-wracking time for children. “Parents need to understand that each child experiences some anxiety during and before exams, which they cope with differently,” says Dr K John Vijay Sagar, professor, and HOD department of child and adolescent psychiatry at NIMHANS, Bangalore. “Parents must support their children at all times.” A great parenting goal for the New Year is to create a stress-free environment and study schedule, sans unrealistic expectations, to help beat exam stress. Children who are slow learners may have a hard time preparing for examinations. Parents should keep in mind that this concern can be addressed with remedial classes. “It is a good practice to provide the relevant visual and auditory aids and interactive instructions that help these children understand the concepts better,” says Harshika Pareek, a psychotherapist and founder of Counselor’s Chair, a private therapy practice in Jaipur. 

3. Healthy ways to manage child’s tantrums

Finding healthy ways to manage children’s tantrums is one of the most effective parenting techniques. To control tantrums, parents must first understand what triggers the child’s anger, instead of mirroring it. “Often, these temper tantrums surface from feeling unheard or they are simply seeking parental attention. Parents should dedicate time to their children where they devote their attention without any distractions. They can play board games and lend an ear to the child’s feelings and emotions about school, friends, etc,” explains Dr Sumaira Quazi, consultant pediatric intensivist, at Sparsh Hospitals, Bangalore. A parent’s role in assisting their children in managing anger is crucial, from explaining the consequences of their anger to teaching them healthy coping methods. 

4. Dealing your teenager’s romantic relationship

Talking about crushes and infatuations can be uneasy for both teenagers and some parents. In dealing with teenager’s romantic relationships, feelings are amplified and associated with their identity, which makes it hard for parents to approach it openly due to the sense of concern and safety. “Parents have to be realistic. An adolescent will likely experience a crush. But every crush is not going to be a full-blown relationship,” says Maryanne Pais, HOD, department of psychology, St Joseph’s College of Commerce, Bangalore. She adds that parents have to ensure room for youngsters to talk about why they like a person. “Crush could just be an infatuation wherein you like a few traits in a person, whereas a romantic relationship comes with emotional intimacy and commitment. This needs to be told to the children,” Pais points out. Hence, an effective parenting technique for the New Year is to listen to their children when they talk about their crush and romantic relationships before jumping in and rejecting them. 

5. Creating a safe space for teenagers to share their thoughts

Adolescence can be a confusing time as there are so many emotions involved and amplified, and sometimes all they want is to be heard rather than judged and pressured. ‘Voice of the Adolescent’ survey conducted by Happiest Health found that 76% of students were unhappy that their parents listened with judgment. It is important for parents to create a safe and comfortable space where their children can be themselves without having to worry about being judged,” said Pais. “Parents need to be mindful about their actions and behavior in the way they speak and respond to certain topics as this helps to build trust between their children and them,” she adds. 

Takeaways

  • Gentle parenting is an effective parenting technique as it focuses on – empathy, kindness, faith, and confidence.
  • Children can overcome exam stress by creating a stress-free environment and study schedule. If they are slow learners try to adopt visual methods of teaching.
  • Parents must lend a non-judgmental ear to their teenagers.

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