Positive parenting tips to handle your preteen
Support, encouragement and mutual respect are building blocks of a strong bond between parents and preteens. Read on to know how positive parenting can change your family life!
Last week, the world woke up to a shocking incident when a 13-year-old Washington resident committed suicide after her father publicly shamed her in a Youtube video. Izabel Laxamana jumped from a bridge after her father chopped off her hair and uploaded the video online to ‘teach her a lesson.’
Aditi Kulkarni, consulting psychologist, HealthEminds, Bangalore, explains that constant occurrence of such incidents in the society are a reflection of negative parenting. She explains that the resultant humiliation and withdrawal symptoms that a publicly shamed preteen goes through could lead to depression.
“Symptoms such as sudden withdrawal from all activities, crying and/or irritability, lack of motivation to attend school, excessive guilt and pre-occupation with or fear of death are early warning signs. They indicate the need for children to be checked upon,” says Kulkarni.
This incident highlights two important aspects of parenting. First is the ability to recognize early symptoms of depression in preteens. And second, it can teach parents that preteens is an appropriate age for positive parenting.
Golden rules of positive parenting
Delhi’s famous psychologist and socialist, Anuja Kapur says, “Parents must understand that they also need to give their child a firm foundation of trust from the very beginning. "Encourage and support your child. Remember that respect is mutual and that a relationship between parent and child is the slow process involving daily interactions." Kapur adds that parents must communicate with their child on a regular basis.
Continue reading to find out about how parental counselling could help preteens!
Parental counselling is equally important
Kapur adds that apart from these, parents can also follow some other basic parental guidelines:
- Encourage kids to share their feelings with you. Sometimes just having a non-judgmental adult hear them out can make them feel better.
- Try to avoid pointing out mistakes or ridiculing.
- Rewards and punishments go hand in hand.
- Try to be available for your child.
- Let your children help you in daily tasks and chores.
- Eat meals as a family on the dinner table. Always try to have at least one family meal together.
- Seek out one-on-one opportunity.
- Focus on your child’s strengths.
- Ensure that the child has a nutritious diet since one’s eating habits affect mood as well as overall well-being.
Kulkarni says that parents must learn that a pre-teen with a depression diagnosis needs warm, supportive adults who are available to talk and understand. “If your child seems sad or lonely, talk to him. Your support and presence can make them feel better."
He further adds, "If your preteen is diagnosed with clinical depression, he will benefit from one-to-one therapy with a qualified professional, with expertise in child and adolescent counselling. In case any medication has been prescribed by a physician or psychiatrist, make sure that the dosage is completed as advised."
Remember, there is more to depression treatment than management of symptoms. Parents might themselves experience strong negative feelings such as guilt or anger. They will also benefit from counselling as it will give them a safe channel to express their concerns.
Parents often blame themselves for not recognizing early signs. “Diagnosing childhood depression is complicated and that blaming yourself will only make things worse for the child,” says Kulkarni.
So the next time you plan to teach your kid a lesson, remember that the only way to go about it is, positive parenting.
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