How to inculcate good habits in children ?

You must be aware of the famous quote by Shakespeare, ‘The world is a stage’. Referring to this quote, a psychiatrist has said, “Home is the primary stage, because it is here that children learn the different roles in life.” The development of a child’s mental health mainly depends on the child’s family members, especially the parents and the family atmosphere. According to a psychiatrist, “Problems in children reflect problems in parents”. In such cases, the parents are the ones who need psychological treatment. Knowingly or unknowingly, wrong behaviour and thinking of parents and other senior members of the family have a constant effect on children’s mind. Good personality of parents is important in order to prevent psychological illnesses in children in future. We can follow certain simple guidelines as household psychological remedies while behaving with the children.

Children need love and support

The behaviour of the parents should be such that it develops a feeling of security in the minds of children. Children should feel that ‘My parents love me very much; they need me and will always be there to support me’. Simple actions such as cuddling a child, not leaving a child alone in the house for a long time create a sense of security in the children’s mind. Parents should not show any partiality between two children. However, slightly more attention should be given to the elder child, if the age difference between the two children is less than 3 years.

Children feel helpless if they see their parents quarrel

Parents should not quarrel in front of their children. Small children can immediately sense that the balance of the house is disturbed. It creates a sense of insecurity in their minds.

Disciplining children is equally important

Along with love and affection, children also require discipline. However, it should not be distorted. Remember, distortion creates problems.

Punishment should follow the mistake immediately : When children commit a mistake, parents should immediately make them realise about their mistake and also punish them, if necessary. The mother should not tell a child, “Wait till your father arrives in the evening”. The father gives punishment when he comes home. This is a delayed punishment. It does not create an equation in child’s mind that ‘mistake = punishment’. No wonder, a child repeats the same mistake time and again.

Consistency must be maintained in punishment : It is wrong to punish a child for a particular mistake at one time and let it off at other time. This is to be avoided.

No difference of opinion on punishment : Though there is a difference of opinion between parents and other elder members of the family on punishment, they should not interfere when a child is being punished. Any difference in this regard should be sorted out in the child’s absence; otherwise a child will be totally confused about what is right and wrong?

– Dr. (Mrs.) Kunda Athavale (Reference : Lecture on radio, year 1988)

Bal Sanskar