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Education for parents: learn to view the world from your child’s perspective

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Viewing the world from your child's perspective will help you become more sensitive to his wants and needs and may help you become a better parent. It is easy to forget how children feel and what their lives are like. Imagine having no control over where you live, what you eat or when you go to bed. Imagine being completely powerless over your life.

Avoid arbitrary rules. As a parent, you are responsible for meeting both the emotional and physical needs of your child. Set guidelines that help ensure her safety, let her know she is loved and provide your child with proper nutrition. This is what your child will need to be happy and healthy. Forget about arbitrary rules such as no dessert until you clean your plate. Don't withhold dessert from your daughter because she refused to eat carrots at dinner. How would you like to be punished for not eating something you hate? It is better to provide vegetables that she likes instead of trying to force her to eat food she doesn't like.

Provide some options. Respect your child as an individual and avoid treating him like your property. Instead of saying "Put on these pants." Try asking "Would you like to wear your blue jeans or khakis today?" Consider offering reasonable options among meals and toys as well. Your child will feel valued when given choices. We all like to have some input in our daily lives. Children are not different from the rest of us, just younger. No one wants to be bossed around or treated like a slave. Taking some time to see the world from your child’s perspective will lead you to make different decisions regarding your child.

Give positive feedback. Children naturally want to please their parents. Let your child know you appreciate her efforts by giving specific positive praise. Saying "Thank you for helping me fold the laundry" or "I'm proud of you for cleaning your room without being asked" goes a long way in helping children develop self-confidence and a sense of belonging within the family. It is OK to give constructive criticism, but keep it to a minimum. Instead, focus on the positive attributes of your child by providing the love and encouragement she needs. Even as an adult, don’t you feel valued when your colleagues or supervisor makes an effort to view things from your perspective or compliment your work?

Have real conversations. Most adults fail to realize the intelligence of children. Take time every day to talk with your child. You can learn alot about yourself and the world from listening to your child. Don't assume you know your children. Instead, ask questions that help you get to know them. Find out why your son doesn't want to play with the neighbor's son. Don't force your daughter to have play dates with a kid she doesn't like. Instead, try to find out the reason why. Maybe that kid is annoying. Maybe she doesn't know how to explain it, but maybe they just don't click. Would you like to be forced to spend your time with people you don't like? Show your children the same consideration.

Don't teach sharing. Almost every parent is guilty of forcing their child to share personal property. When you give your child a toy it belongs to him. He might decide not to let anyone else play with that toy. Respect his decision. Don't try to bride him to let others use it. Don't use guilt or tell him to be nice. He has a right to control his personal property. We all have prized possessions that we'd rather not share with others and we all know people we don’t like to share with. Are you willing to loan your car, lawnmover, or money to the all your associates upon request? If not, would you like to be forced to do so?

Conclusion. Viewing the world through your child’s perspective will help you develop a positive relationship build on mutual respect and trust. It is impossible to get to know a child who doesn’t have voice. Parents need to let their children be heard.

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