Being a parent is a huge responsibility. And it has never been as tough, as in today’s times. While the instinctive nurturing regarding the child’s physical needs comes easily to parents, what causes the anxiety is the process of upbringing and grooming, to make the child ‘perfect’.
As parents, we are constantly told what to do and what not to. Theories pour in from studies, surveys, observations and there are plenty of suggestions from well meaning relatives and friends. In the bargain, today the parent is totally confused. There is also a sense of competition amongst parents.
- “You may have housed their bodies but not their spirits” – Khalil Gibran
What a profound statement from one of the greatest poets and thinkers. Very often as parents we think that we own our children, and they must be molded into the person that we want them to be.
But, we forget that the child is an individual who needs to express his uniqueness to this world. If we try and force the child into a bracket / mold, it can backfire.
So, what is the magic formula of being a good parent? Let’s examine some of the things that parents with good parenting skills usually do: -
- They say NO to their kids once in a while. It’s good for children to hear a NO at times. They will learn not to sulk when things don’t go their way. It is realistic and they will discover that their needs will not be gratified instantly always and how to come to terms with it.
- They choose Outdoor games over virtual past times for their kids. These parents realize the importance of playing in the open and ensure their child gets the time out in the sun. They will choose an hour of games over tuitions or television. It is so important for children to play, get dirty in the mud; fall, and have scrapped knees. It is all part of growing up. The sports field itself is a great teacher. All qualities of sportsmanship be it social skills, concentration, discipline, team spirit and dealing with success and failure, all are learnt there.
- They never humiliate the child. Yes, the child needs consequence if he has done wrong. But the rationale behind it should be explained to him rather than belittling him. The focus should be on his action and not his self.
- They will refrain from comparing their child with other children. Most successful parents are those who have helped their child to be his/her best without comparing with others. Every child has his own strengths and challenges. A wise parent will help the child to build on the strengths and work on the challenges. No two children are the same. Every child has his own unique potential and, an understanding parent will recognize it.
- They will choose their battles - parents and children can disagree on a number of things and studies say they argue 54 times in a day. Matters can escalate if both stay stubborn. A good parent will know which issues are really important, when to be firm and when to give in.
Parents take pleasure in your children’s childhood, their distinct nature and live in the present to enjoy each moment with them.
Ms. Nalini Nair
Bombay Cambridge International School and Bombay Cambridge School, Andheri East