2 Golden rules to raise a happy child

The quality of the relationship between parents and their children is one of the key elements that determines the psychological development of the child and determines his overall well-being way into adulthood.

Researchers  have found that two main dimensions in parents behavior have a deep impact on kids well being as they grow , these are the degree of parental control and the degree of parental warmth or responsiveness.

Parents who are very controlling tend to invade their kids privacy and don’t allow them to have or express freely their own opinions, they also do not allow their children to make their own decisions and they foster too much dependence on them.This form of control is called psychological control and is very detrimental to the child  and it was found to be associated with a higher risk for psychological and emotional disorders at both adolescence and adulthood.

On another hand there is another form of parental control that fosters good development in children, this form is called behavioral control.It consists in teaching the child to conform through his behavior with social and moral norms and rules of conduct.Simply put, this means teaching your child manners and a sense of boundaries.This form of control was found to protect the child against psychological disorders.

The second dimension that affects children well-being is parental warmth and responsiveness.People whose parents showed warmth and responsiveness had higher life satisfaction and better mental well-being throughout early, middle and late adulthood.And this consists mainly in giving the child the appropriate level of attention and most importantly unconditional love.When we say unconditional love, this means you should never suggest to your child indirectly or ever tell him directly that your love for him is a reward for good behavior, and this is a mistake I have seen many young couples indulge in when their child misbehave as they threaten him to not love him anymore if he doesn’t do such and such.These kind of threats damage the child self-esteem and self-image and can have everlasting impact on his self-confidence.The formula in the mind of the child is simple:” If mammy doesn’t love me, it means there is something wrong with me”, and children who grow up with such belief reach the conclusion that they are not lovable by anyone and they spend all their life searching for love in all the wrong places, chasing it in addictions, risky behaviors, and choosing inaccessible partners that are incapable of loving anyone.

My point from this article comes down to this:” As a parent we have a tremendous capacity to induce irreparable damage to our child psyche if we are not careful and most importantly mindful about what we tell them and how we behave towards them”. I am sure someone will jump in and tell me but kids sometimes drive you crazy and you run out of tricks to keep them in check!! That is true. But I think a good way to make sure you are responding in the right way and not simply reacting out of anger and frustration, is to take a deep breath and ask yourself before you throw this threat or punishment “what kind of skill will my behavior or command in this moment help build in my child in 10 years from now?” If the answer is fear, lack of initiative, inhibited creativity or lack of curiosity for exploration, or passiveness then you should probably think how to reframe your words into something more constructive.

For more details on the topic refer to the original article on the following link:

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17439760.2015.1081971

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