What is the real reason you want to have children?

Strive to create a loving, supportive and enlivening atmosphere for your children. — 123rf.com

The act of reproducing is not just viewed as a result of sexual intercourse that results in another life form because as human beings, we attach deep emotional and social implications to childbearing and nurturing.

Giving birth to a child and watching him or her grow should make you feel happy and complete.

Likewise, it is also essential to ensure that the growing child is feeling joyful, worthy and confident.

When we reflect on life, it’s always the time during childhood that we look back with fondness for the simple joys and freedom from responsibilities.

But, are children these days really free or are they burdened by the expectations and impositions of the adults around them?

Based on a 2020 finding, around 424, 000 children in Malaysia, from as young as 10 years old, suffer from mental health problems.

According to a national survey by the Health Ministry, teenagers are also critically suffering from stress, anxiety and depression, giving rise to suicidal ideation from 7.9% in 2012 to 10% in 2017.

Among all the reasons, the survey has pointed out to parenting styles and family issues, including not having a pleasant family life being the most significant reason for the former.

Undoubtedly, the primary responsibility of nurturing a child falls on parents although it actually takes a village to raise a child, including the roles of teachers and the community where the child lives.

Basically, anyone whom the child encounters may have a role to play whether directly or indirectly on the child’s development.

Parents should constantly remind themselves of what it was like to be a child so that they know how to carry themselves well and set good examples for their offspring.

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Points to ponder

Firstly, parents should evaluate themselves in every aspect of being because children learn and imitate behaviours by watching and listening to others, similar to the saying – “monkey see, monkey do” – also known as observational learning.

So they should ask themselves whether they are worth being liked and looked up upon by their children.

Secondly, create a loving, supportive and enlivening atmosphere.

As parents, you would definitely want your children to be better than you.

Otherwise, evolution would not exist.

Ideally, future generations should be better human beings capable of creating and enjoying the life they envisioned.

Hence, it’s important to establish integrity and resilience, because wherever children go, these skills will help sustain themselves in any situation.

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While engaging the internet contributes to opportunities for learning and self-expression, parents should be reminded that allowing their children to spend too much time in front of their devices is not healthy. — FilepicWhile engaging the internet contributes to opportunities for learning and self-expression, parents should be reminded that allowing their children to spend too much time in front of their devices is not healthy. — Filepic

Thirdly, in order for children to grow up physically and mentally healthy, it is important to expose them to nature, something that is being neglected by parents today.

The switch to online learning during this pandemic and the lack of activities while staying at home has led to smartphones and devices being the main sources of engagement, not just for education but also for entertainment purposes.

While engaging the internet contributes to opportunities for learning and self-expression, parents should be reminded that allowing their children to spend too much time in front of their devices is not healthy.

A child should be able to physically move his body and expand his senses.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends preschool-aged children to be physically active throughout the day whereas a minimum of an hour of physical activity for school-aged children and adolescents would bear fruit.

An upsurge in the incidences of mental health issues among children and adolescents reminds us about the importance of parents in providing emotional security for their children.

We must never underestimate the power of emotional security for if it is mismanaged in children, they can become psychologically imbalanced as adults.

Emotions are considered the largest facet of humanity and it is in the hands of parents to nurture their children well in a loving atmosphere.

Remember, a child would not be able to care for others if he or she is not cared for in the first place.

When children become adults, they will not be able to understand the importance of nurturing another without being nurtured themselves.

What more, children who mature without these basic experiences become adults who are incapable of sharing unconditional love, support and empathy.

To all parents out there, you are the ones who have the power and the ultimate responsibility for the path that your child takes in life.

Dharshini Navanethan is a tutor and clinical instructor at the Perdana University School of Occupational Therapy. This article is courtesy of Perdana University, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. For more information, email starhealth@thestar.com.my. The information provided is for educational and communication purposes only and it should not be construed as personal medical advice. Information published in this article is not intended to replace, supplant or augment a consultation with a health professional regarding the reader’s own medical care. The Star disclaims all responsibility for any losses, damage to property or personal injury suffered directly or indirectly from reliance on such information.

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Children , Nurturing , Parenting


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