FOLLOWING ONE’S INSTINCT

I completed the 3rd and 4th chapter of Pride and Joy. Both the chapters stress on the need for us to be involved in our children’s lives. The third chapter discusses our role in helping them bounce back from negative events or feelings, making them more optimistic and resilient by helping them understand that every dark cloud has a silver lining.
The fourth chapter talks about the role of our enthusiastic involvement and positive approach towards their interests in serving as a protective factor in children’s emotional lives. In his opinion, following children’s  interests helps nurture their intelligence and creativity along with their communication and problem solving skills.1  
I agree with him. It reminded me of the time I shared my post “Guiding or dictating creativity” on a moms WhatsApp group and it served as consolation to many mothers who tried to engage their kids in activities they wanted them to but failed. I had complimented Dr. Milisha Silveira for having been pretty successful as per her social media account and in response she had said that the key was to follow the child’s interest. I admit that I did not understand what she meant then. Recently, when I found that my child was fascinated by planets (she learnt the word from her cousin) but did not understand what they were, I decided to teach her about them. I showed her an animation video on planets and drew the solar system for her. She excitedly coloured them, insisting on choosing the colours herself as she now not only knew their names but their constitution too. 

We then placed the drawing in a laminate and as she named the planets, I labelled them. She marked the smallest and the biggest planet and learnt some interesting facts about planets. 

We followed a similar approach with her interest in cooking. Through bedtime stories, about a little girl’s excitement on going to school to learn about the food pyramid and, her narration of what she learnt, on returning home, I introduced the food groups to her. Later I made a chart (more as an activity for me than for her) and once she understood the food groups we made a dish incorporating the different groups.

I named the group and she chose the ingredients from what was available at home. Lunch was extra fun that day.
He refers to appreciation as psychological oxygen. Slight deficiency will not kill us but will affect our mental health.
He advises parents to talk with their children about experiences in their own lives, especially at times of sadness, anxiety, or disappointment.2 It helps a lot. I feel it makes our words more believable. I use examples a lot with my child and found that her whole approach to the situation changes. What seemed to overwhelm her, now looked like a normal thing. If her mother successfully went through a similar phase so can she.
He talks about “positive effect sharing”, a term he picked from child development expert Robert Emde. Positive effect sharing is a complicated term for a simple parent child relationship of being in awe of each other. Every milestone our child crosses makes us smile as we express our joy and our children in turn feel appreciated. These moments of mutual joy and delight between parents and infants may directly promote brain development in infancy.3 It is that beneficial.
So be yourself and show your children how impressed you are of any small achievement of theirs.
Notes:
1. Barish, K. (2012). Pride and Joy. New York: Oxford University Press,p.50
2. Barish, K. (2012). Pride and Joy. New York: Oxford University Press,p.53
3. Barish, K. (2012). Pride and Joy. New York: Oxford University Press,p.46

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