A higher level of communication
The 'giraffe ear' child-rearing technique
Taking care of one's self during pregnancy is not an easy task. However, taking care of a toddler in the digital era is much harder because of communication problems which are bound to occur in the family.
Today's parents barely have time for their children due to the competitive job environment. Meanwhile, the kids are left with games, television, internet and friends which serve as substitute caretakers.
Child rearing methods used by parents nowadays aren't exactly the proper techniques required.
Apart from the fact that parents have little time for their children, parents also tend to lack the proper communication skills which makes it even harder for them to break down the walls put up by their children.
Academic Marshall Rosenberg says communication in the family is accomplished mainly by the ear, and can be categorised into three types:
Someone who listens with wolf ears is someone who wants confrontation. If we listen with a confrontational attitude, then a confrontation is often what we will get. But sometimes we use ''wolf ears'' without knowing it, or perhaps only with family members.
People who listen with fox ears are cunning types. We don't really say what we mean. We might also be cautions when we receive information, which can lead to problems.
Giraffe ears are the most ideal type. The giraffe has the heaviest heart, literally, when compared to its body weight. You listen with a heavy and open heart.
A giraffe has a very long neck, is tall and requires good peripheral vision to see its environment. In essence, you have to have long-term vision, which actually means that you have to listen with a strong heart and open mind.
Raising a child requires that a parent uses ''giraffe ears'' because a parent will have to listen to what his child wants.
What most parents do when a child cries or throws a tantrum, is buy him toys or snacks just to get rid of the problem. This isn't the right approach.
Parents should look at what the child wants. Perhaps the child wants his parents' attention, which could be a positive rather than a negative.
For example, if a child is taking too long to complete his homework or has just failed a maths test, the parent might not understand owing to the fact that he did not communicate or use ''giraffe ears''. The parent assumed the child was being lazy, is stupid, or a lost cause.
The real underlying problem might be more than skin deep. Perhaps the child might have problems reading the questions on the maths test, or is unable to prioritise what is important in the question.
However, when the teacher reads out the question, the child understands and is able to answer correctly.
The child is not stupid but is suffering from a learning disability. Parents must understand and try to educate themselves about their child's behaviour.
And they can do this by using ''giraffe ears'' which will enable them to better understand their children.
Communication between parents, children and school teachers must be a joint effort because it will enable them to identify and rectify the problem on the spot.
If a child has a learning disability, communication within the family and the school teacher becomes more important than ever.
Once parents understand their child's talents and weaknesses, or what their child is lacking _ then communication with teachers will also allow teachers to understand the child or student. A teacher might have to find methods and teaching techniques that suit the student for the child to develop and learn as much as possible.
| BangkokPost, myfamily April 8-14, 2010
By Dr Penny Lorwatanapongsa