By Robert Myers, PhD
Understanding your child is one of the most important things that you should learn as a parent. It is very helpful in becoming effective in guiding and nurturing your child as they grow and mature. You need to bear in mind that your child has a unique personality trait that remains consistent throughout life.
One of the ways you can understand your child is by observing them as they sleep, eat, or play. Look for the consistent traits. Which activities do they like best? Is adjusting to changes easy for them or do they need time to become familiar with these things? These things are the normal characteristics of a child and your child may not be an exception.
As much as possible, have time to talk to your children as this is crucial to gaining information and understanding. In the case of young children, they require less verbal language and more facial expression and body language in order to understand their thoughts and feelings. Asking them questions will allow them to share their feelings to you.
For example, rather than asking them what they did in school, ask them what they built with their blocks today. Instead of asking them if they played with their playmate, focus on the game they played.
Another way of understanding your child is by taking a look at their environment in order to learn about a certain behavior that you have observed. Relatives, child care providers, friends, teachers, the community, the home setting, and other aspects of the environment can play a crucial role in the behavior of your child. For example, if your child is showing aggressiveness towards other children at school, you may want to find out all the possible sources of their aggressive behavior.
Some possible angles would be their association with another child who is showing aggressive tendencies as well. The environment at home is another possible source for such behavior. Have there been conflicts and arguments at home lately that was seen by your child? What about in the community? These are some angles that you should consider when trying to find the reason behind your child’s aggressive behavior.
In addition, you can learn about your child by observing other children belonging to the similar age group. You can check out our recommended books and browse our site, for lots of tips and in depth knowledge on child development. Bear in mind that you went through the same stages as a child so more or less the behavior of children in that same stage would be similar. However, the speed of development through each stage is a personal thing.
By understanding your child’s development, you will be able to provide them with opportunities as well as toys that can boost their development and prepare them for the next phase of their growth. At the same time, you as a parent would be able to set expectations and limits that are acceptable to your child.
Being a responsible parent is hard specially in this day and age when parents spend more time working rather than being with their kids. Quality time is difficult to achieve when you are trying to juggle your time between corporate life and parenthood. Not many people achieve success in parenthood and this could be frustrating on your part. Understanding your child is one effective way of becoming successful in the art of parenting.