20 Tips to engage your Child (elaboration)

20 Tips to engage your Child (elaboration)

Here are 20 points that broadly cover the ideas i discussed in the previous article – 6 Ideas to handle your Child:

1. Never tell your child the rules. Share your experiences with the rules – even if it is traffic rules. So instead of going “you must not cross and the red light” tell “once I drove through a red light… abcd … xyz ….well now I am more careful”

“Never tell it like it is, share”

2. Never tell your child how wrong he was, and how right you were. Decide, since it’s either about you or about the lesson. If he’s learnt a lesson, do not rub it in. It’ll lose it’s shine. Let him be hurt and let the hurt teach him. Do not take over.

“Let the hurt teach your child, do not keep taking over.”

3. Never tell your child the same thing again and again till he does it. That’s like hurting the child’s intelligence. If you have seen that the child has chosen to ignore your first attempt, now the task has ceased to be important. Suddenly your urge to be in charge takes over. You feel that you’re losing control and you want to get it back. For that, you feel that the task asked must be done by the child now.  However, the game has changed. The child would immediately understand your feeling of loss of power, and he’s ready to play the game
at the next level

“Row, row, row your boat – or is it – Row your boat”

4. Never reprimand your spouse in front of the child, about what the spouse is asking/ telling the child. The child would notice, but he may not listen. So he will not know what the issue was, but would understand whom to listen. Sure, your spouse may be wrong and you can argue in front of your child. That tells the child, you are a team. So, it’s important that if your spouse interjects, there may be a valid point. So you both can leave the current discussion with the child, and start an argument/ discussion about that. Do not try to drive through your point, rather argue it over till it reaches an agreement. This tells the child that he is important, and you are willing to discuss things about him/ her. If you switch off when the argument starts, the earlier discussion is ruined since you interjected, and now your unwillingness to argue tells the child he is not important enough for you to discuss. That’s gonna be bad way to tell him this. If you’re not good and quick with words/ thoughts, you can keep a meeting and prepare for that meeting. Child is business. And like no other. Discuss about your child in front of your child. That tells him he is important.

“Child is your business. And like no other”

5. Never tell your spouse what to tell your child in front of your child. If you need to tell it, tell it yourself, but not now. If your spouse is in the middle of a discussion with your child, do not interject, the point may be lost. If you want to supplement him by repeating, you’re diluting it and trying to take over the discussion – you may lose your spouse, besides losing the point. If you want to correct your spouse – sure go ahead, but do not tell, instead just humbly enquire. So that if you’re wrong you can agree, and if you’re right, your spouse can agree. And your child would automatically agree with whatever gets decided – in fact, also allow him to take part in this discussion.

“Do not tell anything to your child through someone.”

6. Never tell someone what to tell your child. That’s like hurting the person’s intelligence, Also, it not only changes the course of the person’s thought process, but the integrity of the thought is lost. Also, the person comes to know, that it’s not about the child. It’s about you. And, he would give up on the chance to correct your child. You also lost a friend and well wisher. And your child also lost a point of view. His world continues to be flat with the only point of view being, you. Sometimes you may genuinely feel concerned about a person’s point of view and want to interject. Well, that moment is not now. That was earlier, you must have judged a person before allowing him / her in your inner circle. And that moment is also tomorrow, since your relationship with the person is your choice.

“Allow others to discuss things to your child.”

7. Do not talk to your child about what he must do with his friends, he’ll not listen, that’s where he doesn’t consider you an expert, but considers you as an outsider who wants him to breakup with every friend. And suddenly you are that green eyed jealous monster. And by interfering in the least important area, you’ve lost your right to interject in more important areas

“Your child’s friends are not your friends. Period”

8. Never never tell your child what you do. Always suggest. There is a huge difference. When you suggest, and the child doesn’t agree, he has made a choice. However, if you had told and he doesn’t agree, he’s disobeyed. Never allow your child to disobey. Give him room to differ. By differing he allows you a discussion. But when he disobey’s, you are supposed to penalize, not discuss – so you’re not gonna get anywhere.

“Never raise your voice when talk to your child”

9. Never use adjectives/ adverbs to explain things to your child. Like telling him he’d look silly when he does x, y, z. So now instead of telling that x, y, z is not the way to go, you’re telling him that he must avoid looking silly – isn’t that a silly notion? Not lookig silly becomes more important than not being silly. So must he choose the right private moment to do this? Better let him know – Making mistakes doesn’t make him look silly.

“You can be silly, You cannot look silly.”

10. Your child’s not knowing that mistakes make him learn. Instead tell your child to make mistakes. And that you always learnt from the mistake. That’ll tell him to look forward to mistakes and not to avoid them. Hell of a difference. A person who avoids mistakes becomes a risk averse person.

“Make your child love mistakes”

11. Listen, Listen, Listen. Always listen to your child. If you don’t listen to your child, he’ll not likely listen to you. Never shut off your child. If he’s passionately trying to explain you the physics principles, do not tell him that he’s boring you. Surprisingly, he has a passion for one thing, and you may end up telling him that the subject is boring. So are you ok with him losing the passion for physics? Well that’s what you do when you get bored with your child’s banter – you make him lose interest in topics. For him, the topic was never important, your getting impressed was.

“Your child wants to impress you and you don’t listen”

12. If your child has committed a mistake, never reprimand. He’s not the expert, you are – are you? But yes that’s what he supposed to think – is he? Always, ask the child if he’d like to discuss. Whether he considers you an expert is something he must decide – without requiring to acknowledge the fact. Your child wants to impress you and you don’t listen

“Child is not the expert, you are – are you?”

13. Sometimes, an issue has arisen, or a mistake or sin was made. You want to make a point right away. Or the point would be lost. Well, sure, you have to make a point. Sure, you won’t get a second chance. So do not hurry with the first chance! Find the right moment, and the right content. Take more time if it is important. Do not start when your child was onto something – he needs to be free. That tells him it’s important. He obviously knows it’s coming. Let him prepare his thoughts. It’s going to be a lecture or a discussion? If you do not allow a discussion – not point gets made. You didn’t want to ruin it. So find the right story to share. And the right time – definitely interrupting his video game may not be a right moment (Sure he may be running away from you through this video game – so it could be a relationship issue too)

“Find the right story to share”

“Never be in a hurry to talk”

14. Do not raise your voice when expressing your concern, you’re taking the argument to the next level, literally. It’s not point using force to explain your point. The focus shifts onto – who is more forceful! Hey, are you in for a slang match? Just voice your concerns and leave it at that. Never yell! Never yell! NEVER EVER YELL! (did you like that? – sorry for yelling)

“YELL! – Are you playing a game?”

15. Find your child alone. Yes, that’s going to be difficult, but wait, wait, wait. Ask for his time. Request for it. Do not reprimand your child in front of others, unless, it’s about others. If he’s hurt someone else, yes, there could be a case to discuss it with your child. But if it is about your rules, then it can wait. Find a moment when you are playing a 2 person game, not when he’s playing a 1 person game. Not when you are in a multiplayer game. Never.

“Find the right place to discuss”

16. You may come to know of certain things about your child because you spied. Why did you spy? Because you don’t trust the child. Why don’t you trust the child? Because you have a relationship that doesn’t allow trust. Well, it all started with trust. So how did you lose it? You don’t know? Well surely, the trust was betrayed when you misused it. I mean your child comes to you to share his mistake. You reprimanded him. Makes the child hide the mistakes. The whole relationship is lost. It becomes a game.

“Do not spy. Trust”

17. If your child has committed a sin, no use reprimanding. First check how did you come to know. You are not supposed to discuss things that you’re not supposed to know. Are you a parent or a spy? If you come to know of things indirectly, then you are supposed to use that knowledge, but not the reference. Now this is delicate, never acknowledge that you know. So give some time, so that the reference and the argument do not connect. Also, if you’re wrong you may lose the reference (your child will discard the friend who told you). Do not go by the hearsay. Focus on the lesson. Find a story. The lesson may still be true even if the hearsay was wrong.

“Do not go by the hearsay. Focus on the lesson.”

18. Do not talk to others about your child, unless you are seeking advice and not wanting to spread rumours about your child. Do not humiliate your child. You could be wrong. Let the convict argue with you, not the public.

“Do you want to humiliate?”

19. If you’re in a habit to use a goody bag to train your child. He’s not listening to the truths, he’s listening to the goodies. You’re training a vile child. He’s gonna be very cunning with the world. He’ll be cunning with you too. One day he’ll have a goody bag, and trade with you. I can guarantee you, that you won’t love it. This is a game you started, right?

“Be careful with that goody bag”

20. If you were not following this path and start to do now. It would be a long time before you see results. So have patience. The child will take time to realize that you’re no longer that pushy parent. First he may think you have given up. You may also think that the child thinks you have given up. So you’ll end up giving up this new method and again try to take over the child. Wait. Wait some more. The child will take time, but notice that you are there. You are not gonna give up. He’ll also appreciate that you’re willing to mend your ways. That’ll make him more willing to mend his ways.

“Have patience and don’t give up”

I am you knew all this. I also knew it, but made mistakes. It’s like knowing the bible/ quran/ geeta. How great you know it was never important. How you use it is.

It’s never too late to mend the fence. Pick up your hammer now.

All this is tough? Is it? Well you’ll find it was easy after you read the remaining part. But don’t go to your spouse and say “I told you so”. There are ways to handle your spouse and others, in the next article, read that if you want – 26 ways to make your spouse love you

“Please don’t go with this list to your spouse – I told you so!”

*I’ve used “He” when referring to the child since using a non gender reference made the sentence longer, and took away from the point. I apologize, and insist that I am gender neutral in my thoughts and dealings. I can say that under an oath.

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