?The following words (author unknown) are worth pondering over:
If a child lives with criticism,
he learns to condemn
If a child lives with hostility,
he learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule,
he learns to be shy.
If a child lives with shame,
he learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with tolerance,
he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement,
he learns confidence.
If a child lives with praise,
he learns to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness,
he learns justice.
If a child lives with security,
he learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval,
he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, he learns to find love.
Praise is good, but don't overdo it: It has at last been realised that a child does need some encouragement and praise but, like most things, this can be overdone. Give praise when it is due, but don't shower praise on shoddy work and half-baked efforts. Your child is no fool, and knows perfectly well that it could have done much better, and so loses respect for your judgement if you are too easily satisfied. It is much more helpful to examine the work carefully (whether picture, homework, sandcastle, or anything else) praise the good parts, then give constructive hints on how it could be improved.
In that way, the child will appreciate that you have shown genuine interest, while, at the same time, being encouraged to do better. One needs to build the child's self confidence, but giving praise where it is not due can produce the opposite result. The child can become addicted to praise and, when it is not forthcoming, a feeling of insurmountable inadequacy then often takes over. The need for ideals: Our aim should always be to prepare our children for life. This means giving them ideals, self-confidence, adherence to values, consideration for others, and the courage to face difficulties. But this also implies that you, yourselves, must practice these virtues. "People want happiness in the family, but they fail to lead exemplary lives. The fault lies with both the husband and the wife. If children have taken to wrong paths these days, the parents alone are responsible, as they are not exemplary in their behaviour either."
Children learn by example: As Sathya Sai Baba says elsewhere, "Parents must set good examples for their children. Parents talk of honesty, but they utter lies in the presence of their children, and even encourage them to speak falsehood. The father, while at home, asks the child to tell the unwelcome visitor that he is not at home! The child is thus taught his first lesson in prevarication by the father himself. There is no use blaming the child if he grows into a social menace." It is natural for children to imitate the grown-ups around them; that is how they learn. It is no use scolding your child for using some four-letter word that you, yourself, use at every turn. By all means correct the child, but say also that you realise that you must correct yourself as well; you can even ask him to help you correct yourself–he will be very good at it, and you might even succeed in breaking the habit! "You should have proper control over your children, but first of all you must have control over yourself. Only when the father is good, can he expect his son to be good. Is it possible for him to keep his son at home if he, himself, roams about as he pleases and goes to paces that he should avoid?"
Compiled by Sai Institute of
Education West Indies. (email@example.com)