The first 6 years of a child’s life, unbeknownst to most parents, play an integral role in determining the future outcome of that child.
Let’s be honest, no one is really born with the innate ability to know how to properly raise a child. A Mother is not magically gifted with the power to know what is absolutely best for her child. It takes time, experience and most importantly, proper Early Childhood Education. And even then, you can only do what is within your power to guide the child’s path towards living a healthy and fulfilled adult life.
That said, no matter how well you think your parents raised you, there are lapses in traditional parenting that just do not ensure the most nurturing childhood experience for your child.
Viewing your child as an empty vessel and forcing him/her to rote ideas of what you think he/she should know may be an antiquated notion. This may eventually result in raising a deviated adult incapable of actualizing his true self and functioning properly in the society.
Children, right from birth, are filled with untold potentials already gifted to them by nature. Parenting by forcing ideas and notions on them might rob them of realizing their true potentials.
As Dr. Maria Montessori once said, “Children are human beings to whom respect is due, superior to us by reason of their innocence and of the greater possibilities of their future… Let us treat them with all the kindness which we would wish to help to develop in them.”
HERE ARE 3 WAYS YOU MIGHT BE HARMING YOUR CHILD’S DEVELOPMENT
Are you paying attention to Order?
As adults, we tend to take certain things for granted. We ignore the small things because to us they probably don’t matter. Most adults tend to disrupt a child’s sense of order and we aren’t even aware of it. Raising children requires living conscious of every act we dramatize, yielding to the order we create in our environment, the rules and dictates we set.
A child is shaped by his environment, he orients himself to his environment to the point of being able to comprehend it to the last detail.
You may sometimes notice, when your little ones at home takes it upon themselves to place all your straying shoes where they should be when they notice it out of place. This small and somewhat insignificant act to us produces real joy in a child’s life and should be overly encouraged during toddlerhood.
I reiterate, a child is shaped by his environment, he requires a precise and determined guide to aid his development.
It’s important to be mindful because if he perceives disorder instead, it can mar his development and cause abnormalities in his ability to function. A disorderly environment will but produce a disorderly child.
Allow their Repetitions
“Repetition is the secret of perfection”
Dr. Maria Montessori
Like with everything you would experience in life, in other to achieve mastery one must repeat an activity multiple times. A number of processes that get us through our daily lives are practically automatic because the process has been absorbed into our subconscious mind.
This same principle applies to children, even more so when you consider they must learn all the integral skills they need to survive. A critical example to help you understand your child’s need for repletion is when you learnt to drive for the first time. I am pretty certain your thoughts weren’t on how to go after lorries on the high way the next day. You took is slow, steady, consistent in practice on daily basis though, it wasn’t without dents on your car. It is importance to note that no one can be deluxe in an act without painstaking practice, without errors and mistakes not even a medalist. Since the child during this age is endowed with the natural ability to repeat without bruises, it is paramount to let his inner guide take the lead.
Repetition for a child in any form of work provides the child the opportunity to practice a skill or knowledge area. As adults, we can become impatient and disrupt the child’s process believing he has completed an exercise or activity so he needs to move on to the next. A child may be washing a sock and even finish rinsing it. He may decide to place it back into the bowl to wash it afresh again and again. This may be viewed with distain by the adult judging only from time, soap and water wastage especially when he has six more socks to wash. This repeated process is what results in absolute perfection of self.
More often than not, when a child is really interested in a specific activity, he tends to repeat it numerous times, finding newer approaches to complete that activity effectively. Disrupting anything at that point might prevent that child from gaining the necessary skill he was working towards.
Practice mindfulness and just observe. Maybe set a certain number of minutes after your child completes an activity before interrupting him. He just might be on the verge of mastery or discovery like Socrates the great philosopher.
Your rewards and punishments aren’t helping!!
Think of it like this, no one has ever done anything truly extraordinary when driven by the admiration of others.
The men and women who have changed the world have done so out of the burning passion in their heart for the subject in which they worked in and the natural drive to go above and beyond for something you love and are genuinely interested in. The idea of doing something for the momentary gratification of a reward or the fear of punishment just doesn’t produce enough driving force to accomplish anything truly extraordinary.
Children work, create and accomplish activities for the simple joy of doing it, enjoying the process every single step of the way, receiving the only reward that truly matters, which is the satisfaction of completing an activity.
You rob your child of that satisfaction and remove the joy of work by creating repercussions and rewards.
“Rewards and punishments are … the worst enemies of the natural development of the child. The jockey gives sugar to his horse before the race, but applies spurs and the whip when there is lagging. Still, do any of these methods induce the animal to run as swiftly and as superbly as the horse of the plains?”
Dr. Maria Montessori
We must admit, the inner workings of a child hold so many secrets. It can be a little overwhelming to deal with so many unknowns but our children rely on us to be well informed enough to ensure the success of their developmental process. These little things we tend to ignore can cause irreparable damage in the future of our children.
There are occasions where a child starts crying or throws a tantrum and we think they are doing it for no reason. Just take a step back and look for the little things, take more time to observe your child’s tendencies. When you do, you might find out why the child is crying or throwing that tantrum. Children are more multilayered individuals than we give them credit for.