Every seed has the potential to become a big tree bearing lots of fruits. Each note of music has the potential to be strewn into a melodious song that will soothe the soul. Every single letter of the alphabet has the potential of forming words that can be used to tell a story and make someone laugh, or cry, or even fall in love. Similarly, every child has the potential of becoming a great success.

And just as the tree needs to be watered regularly and taken good care of till it can stand by itself and face the storm; just as the musical note needs to be coaxed into a tune, just as the letter needs to be guided correctly to form just the right word that will give meaning to a beautiful story; children too need to be nurtured and raised with care and love, till they are able to take care of themselves independently. None of these are easy tasks. And yet, each task, when performed suitably and patiently, can bear fruits that can make us proud and give us immense satisfaction in the long run.

It may seem like, of all these tasks, parenting, is one of the most challenging tasks; and it may not be entirely wrong. However, parenting, though challenging, is also a fulfilling task, a satisfying task like none other. Of course, it is also a commitment that one makes for life! It is a vow one takes, to love, cherish and care for a child, to be a positive person, to be a positive parent. This commitment, of being a positive parent, is in fact, even more important than any other commitment we may make for life.

Who is a positive parent?

Well, a positive parent is an empowering parent. A positive parent is one, who believes in the child’s potential and helps the child achieve it, wholeheartedly. This parent trusts in the potential of the child. This parent, while living in the here and now, is also working towards the future, and equipping the child for his/her brilliant future. And he does this, through empowering the child. By equipping the child with the necessary tools that will help the child realize his/her full potential. And this parent does it all subtly, by letting the child take the lead, and learn from his/her experiences. He does this by being the guiding force behind the child – someone the child can count on at all times, and yet, never helping the child readily, letting the child manage his/her affairs. Because he believes, that only an empowered child is future ready.

What does it mean to empower a child?

The word ‘empower’ literally means ‘putting the power in someone.’ For our understanding, it means, giving a child the power over his/her own actions and behavior. It means giving the child the freedom to express themselves freely. Empowering a child is educating him/her about the pros and cons of his/her actions and behavior and giving him/her the power to work towards setting up and realizing their dreams. Believing in children is a big part of empowering children. And so is creating the best possible environment and conditions for children to grow into and to flourish. Empowering a child is letting the child see, through your actions, that he/she has potential. And then urging the child to work towards realizing their potential to its fullest extent. Among other things, that is what is meant by empowering a child.      

Why should one empower the child?

Well, for starters, how would we feel if someone decided or rather, dictated all that we did throughout the day? If someone told us where to sit, what to do, when to talk, how to eat ? I did say it isn’t easy being a child, didn’t I? Every person needs personal space and the freedom to act the way they wish to act. Of course, most parents hardly ever give this freedom to children.

Also, because of their age and their place in the hierarchy of our homes, children often lack the finesse and the vocabulary – not to mention the sensitivity – to tell parents/other adults if and when they are troubled by something. They also find it difficult to talk to parents, sometimes, for fear of parental reaction/disapproval. And without sharing their feelings, they may end up exhibiting cantankerous, irritable behavior. This, may lead to punishment by and/or misunderstanding with the parents. To avoid this and to ensure that children eventually come out winners, it is extremely important to let children learn how to express themselves from a very young age. And this comes from empowering them. From letting children understand how to precisely put their thoughts and feelings in words so that adults can understand them.  

How do we empower children?

And that, I am glad to report, is not so difficult. Because, empowering children is achieved one act at a time. It is something that can be done in our own homes, following our everyday routines. All that is needed, is that parents be willing to keep an open mind. Parents will need to find newer and engaging ways of empowering children. What is important, is to give children choices, and the power to make their decisions. And, equally important, is to let children know, in no uncertain terms, that choices have consequences. It is important to make children responsible for their actions. And by letting the children be the judge (within reason, of course) as to what they wish to do and how they wish to do it.

So that, in a nutshell, is the what, why and how of empowering children.

Watch this space for interesting, specific ways this can be easily achieved.

Till then, happy parenting!

Featured Image Source: Flickr

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