Paying Attention to Your Childrenby Mamapumpkin
Posted on 07 September 2011
It is no doubt that raising children WELL forms one of the most difficult tasks one ever has to achieve but do children ever ask to be born? When you decide to have children, you are taking on the huge responsibility to care for them, and that includes ensuring that they are fed, clean, clothed, sheltered and are healthy and well. More importantly, you have to ensure they grow happily, steadily and safely. This means you fulfil their emotional needs and provide lots of affection, attention and supervision. This means you make sure that they are not harmed by anyone, yourself included. As a parent, you take care of your child’s healthy development by not putting him down, blaming him or excessively screaming/shouting at him or shaming him. This means you spend quality time with him.
Failure to do so is a form of child abuse. For today, let us focus on attention.
ALL children need attention. It is a necessary recipe for their healthy growth and development to be useful members of society. If you do not care if your child becomes a rogue and a menace to society, then you really shouldn’t have had children in the first place. It is a child’s inherent right to receive quality attention from his parents throughout his entire developmental years until he blossoms. What? Do you mean I have to be there for 20 odd years or so? I’m afraid so! Nobody said parenting was easy! And more often than not, lazy, sloppy and stroppy parenting almost always results in a problem child.
Sometimes, parents lack knowledge and support in raising their children. Malaysia should really have an option for Parenting 101 classes for new parents who may find themselves constantly stressed out or hating the job altogether. Parenting can get exhausting too and if parents lack support from family and friends, they will feel overwhelmed and stray from the line of focus, which is to raise healthy, confident kids. Many a time, husbands (being left in the dark ages, sometimes intentionally so) leave the parenting work solely to mothers, causing her even more exhaustion and resentment. Parenting should be a joint responsibility, which means BOTH parents raise the child equally. If the father is the breadwinner of the family, then the mother should get a day off during the weekend whilst the father takes care of the children. If both parents are working, then both parents need to make time for their kids over the weekend together. If a child is being raised by a single mother, she must find a support system where she can take time off. And on top of all this time off, quality time must be scheduled for the kids.
Whatever circumstance you are in as a parent, put your hand phone locked away in silent mode for an hour, shut the ipads and laptops off, and give your child your 200% UNDIVIDED attention. Work CAN wait. It is every individual’s threshold how much time they can afford for their children and really, every child is different and requires different levels of attention, but ideally, if you have given your child what you feel is appropriate, then parenting should be less of a chore. But what level is appropriate? As a benchmark, children between the ages of 2-4 require at least an hour of undivided attention daily. How many of us really can spare that kind of time or even want to? What about those with several kids? Playing with kids can be a joy but it can also be bloody boring!
If you cannot spare an hour every day, at least make it half an hour daily and if you cannot do that, then at least spend an hour or two or three over the weekend. Your child NEEDS this solid hour to get to know you and wants you to get to know him. It is much more important to bond with your child than to chauffeur him around for enrichment classes throughout the weekend. If you don’t give your undivided self to your child, you end up with an insecure child with low self-esteem. They are obviously not in your list of priorities nor important enough to warrant your time and you directly send them that message.
What if you already give your child lots of quality attention and it still isn’t enough? Then it is time to teach your child to be more self sufficient because ultimately, children need to gain independence from parents and this is an evolving process that needs to be worked on. Teach your child that every one has a job to do and that there are only a set number of hours in a day. When your child can understand, ask him or her how he would divide his time. Make an agreement that if he allows you to do the laundry, finish your work, have a shower and clean the bathroom, then you would have an hour with him to do what HE wants to do. Together. And during that time, do not get distracted to do anything else. This is HIS time. Your time with him only.
Come on, we owe it to our kids……..
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I fully agree. And spending time watching TV does NOT qualify as quality time either. Spending quality time with your kids and family is a lifelong affair. I have 4 boys aged 16 - 21 years and spending time staying connected is just as important as ever.
Food for thought. Do we spend enough quality time with our own parents?By May Hwong on 2011 10 21