There was a heated argument between eight-year-old Rahul and his mother on what he ought to wear for her friend’s birthday party. She wanted him to wear a shirt with a jacket, but Rahul was adamant about wearing his favourite T-shirt.
Ameya, a nine-year-old, faces a similar problem with his dad. His father wishes to sit with him and help him study everyday whereas Ameya feels capable of studying on his own.
Many children between the age group of six to 11 years face this dilemma. They feel they have grown up enough to decide what is right for them whereas their parents feel their child is still young and needs assistance.
The child’s state of mind
A two or three-year-old is at that stage of curiosity that would make him explore what he is told not to. After three or four years of age, the child constantly watches the behaviour of his parents and tries to imitate them in every possible way.
At six to seven years he feels independent and does not want to be questioned by anyone. At this age he feels annoyed if you treat him like a child or if you make any reference to his young age. This is mainly because he feels like a grown-up child!
At such an age children may want to choose anything ranging from their own clothes to television channels. They become very protective about their younger siblings, too.
When a child goes through this delicate stage, parents have a special role to play. At any point of time, words like, “You don’t understand, you are very young, I know what is right for you,” should be strictly avoided. Explaining the pros and cons might help the child understand better.
Start treating your child as an individual. “The house is being painted. Which colour do you feel would suit your bedroom?” It’s one way to make the child feel important as well as encourage in him the ability to make decisions. This is the right age to communicate to the child the importance of weighing the pros and cons before taking a decision.
Most adults who had parents enlightened enough not to embroil themselves in every little matter, remember their childhood fondly – just as they recall the friendly guiding force their parents provided when called upon. And that is the secret of a successful parent-child relationship.