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Positive parenting skills

AS parents we are supposed to be our children’s role model. But I tend to lose my temper quite easily, get upset when my children are sick, and fight with my husband. Sometimes I feel lonely as I do not have many friends here. How can I be a good role-model? I am trying hard to change.

My daughter is a slow eater. She takes three hours to finish half a bowl of rice. She likes to keep the food in her mouth for a long time before swallowing. Sometimes I worry whether she has enough food, so I give her milk twice a day. I have tried various suggestions like providing a good variety of kid’s fare, cooking together with her or even taking away her milk for a day so that she would eat faster when she feels hungry, but all these do not seem to work.

How do I encourage her to eat faster before the food gets cold?

My daughter is also very timid and gets frightened easily when she hears loud sounds and sees animals (tame and wild) and insects (for example, butterflies). We used to take her to my in-law’s house which has dogs, chickens, and a cat. We take her to the park every weekend.

How can I encourage her to appreciate nature and explore the world around her? She loves to look at picture books and enjoys drawing.

On the other hand, my son does not seem to like books. He will crawl away the moment I open a book, unlike his sister who would sit on my lap and listen to the stories for an hour when she was a baby.

How can I encourage my son to love books? He likes to bite and tear the books, so I only give him board books. He loves to explore his surroundings.

Willing to change mum

BEING a good parent means you are always working on doing what is right by your children. You need not be a perfect parent who knows everything about child development. But you do need to know how to correct your mistakes when you make them.

When you are angry with your child or feel frustrated that you cannot do better, examine your reasons for these feelings. Are your expectations unreasonable or are you too demanding of your children?

Guiding children requires patience and understanding. You need to make careful observations of your children’s behaviour and know how to meet their needs. Rather than focusing on their misbehaviour, you should also catch them when they are good. Their behaviour is also influenced by your responses and attitude towards them. If you believe in them, they will feel supported and work hard towards doing what is right.

Spend more time marvelling at your children’s antics and less on comparing their weaknesses or lack of interest. Your children are still at a tender age and need to learn a great deal. Tolerate their mistakes and help them find positive ways to work out their problems.

Your role is to provide them with an environment that is safe for them to make their explorations, as well as work out their problems.

Children tend to eat better when they are in a social setting. Instead of feeding your child separately, invite her to join in family meals and let her feed herself. It sounds like you are still feeding her and controlling her food intake.

It is hard for both mother and child to wait for a meal to finish in three hours. Maybe you should share this control with your child. Small meals are easier for toddlers to manage. Your child feels better when she gets to choose what she eats. If rice is one staple that is taking a long time, try substituting with other staples. Once you have planned a well-balanced diet for your child, rest assured that she will not be under-nourished.

The wonderful thing about having children is that they are different from one another. Your son may develop differently from that of his older sister. Accept the differences and enjoy his unique personality. He may still be too young for you to decide that he does not like books.

Do things that your children are interested in. Instead of using books to tell stories, try using props and picture cards to make your stories interesting. You can also promote language development during playtime.

Reassure your children of your love and kindness. Allow your children to make interruptions. But keep them focused on the information you share with them to make them better individuals. Instead of scolding them for what they have done, you can tell them what they should do instead.

As your children explore their environment, they will pick up things that they should not play with. Say to your children, “This is not a toy. Here is a toy that you can play with.”

You must also find some time for yourself and cultivate your own interests. It is important that parents develop themselves as they bring up their children. Whenever possible, go out with a friend or your husband and pamper yourself a little. You can also stay in touch with your friends online or through the phone while your children are napping. Once you feel rejuvenated, you will do a better job as a parent.

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