Imagine this little girl running away to watch ‘Titanic’ with her friend, just to see what was the whole fuss with painting a girl’s portrait, was about. The little girl’s mother found out but didn’t scold her and actually answered the questions that lingered on post-movie. That curious little girl was me a few years ago and my mother, in retrospect, is a wonderful parent.
Imagine another little girl who got a little more curious and went all the way to a mall across the town, with her friends from school. Even that little girl’s mother found out but didn’t scold her and actually sat her down and listed out what all could have gone wrong and hugged her, happy that nothing really did. Just one sentence from her mother, ‘I am disappointed with you’ did it. The guilt conscience played its part and the little girl grew up to be more responsible. That naughty little girl is my best friend and her mother also is a wonderful parent.
I came across a really famous teen girl Jessica on YouTube, a mother of 3. Her channel is called GabeandJesss. She video blogs about her teen pregnancies, with full support from her mom. She was in the wrong about many decisions that she took, but her mom supports her in facing the consequences. I also look up to the outlook of her mom. I can understand where she is coming from even though the cultural divide is wide.
Parenting is tough act. Parenting a girl or a boy, has it owns worries and scare factors. I am a worried parent of a little 2 year old girl, who is growing alarmingly fast. I am scared because I have seen the kind of daughter I had been to my mom. I have seen the kind of troubles my friends put their mothers through and now I think I couldn’t have actually coped up with the situation had I been in their place.
I think future while parenting the wee little one. It’s too early maybe. But I do. I don’t want her to be a Barbie but I want her to like the girly stuff too. She should understand that she can wear a Versace dress and Moschino Shoes and red lipstick while she is achieving academic excellence and scaling career heights.
The following are the things I want to be good at while parenting her:
1. Helping her to be confident
It is a big bad world outside the 4 secure walls and 4 arms of the parents. But someday, I know I have to leave her to deal with them on her own. She already is, in a way. She goes to preschool for 2 hours and I am proud of her already by the reports I get.
We as parents set example for the kids. I am conscious now of all decisions I make and to make sure they reflect positivity and confidence.
I know someday even she’ll know the challenges women face.
I give her enough autonomy and independence in her own small world to develop her self-confidence, which will go a long way.
‘Happily ever after’ fairy tales are good to hear but the reality is more beautiful to experience with all its ups and downs. Some day she will understand that.
She will never be treated lesser than a boy, which is a myth the world needs to get rid of soon. Womanhood is a gift and I want her to cherish it.
2. To be happy with her body
I never was happy with the way I looked. I was too tall. I had bad skin. I complained that my hair was dull. Looks aren’t that important. I realised it early enough and I hope she does too.
I hope that she loves the way she looks and is happy being in her own skin. I want her to understand that skinny isn’t always beautiful but even obesity is bad. Indulge in food once in a while but also try and make some healthy choices.
3. To be an outdoors person
I hope she plays one outdoor sport at least at school or district level. We as parents are trying our best to make her love outdoors. We have actually done more road trips than before we had her. She should love going out and exploring. Discovery should be a trip taken not just a channel on TV.
4. Talk her about sex and puberty with no storks or any birds or bees involved
I have never liked the birds and bees stories. The stork delivering a baby to you is a ridiculous story. It makes the pain a mother goes through to bring a life into this world look so trivial. It’s ok to tell it to boys to a certain extent. But a girl needs to know everything before she hits puberty.
So I will, one day, sit her down and talk Sex.
I also will not tell her that all men are bad and they just need one ‘thing’ and that ‘thing’ is evil. I want to teach her that sex is natural to happen but only with mutual consent and with mutual respect and understanding.‘NO’ is a powerful word and the physical boundaries it sets should be respected, when she says so, by anyone.
5. Value Education-formal and life
Education provides a foundation to everything in life. She can be anything in life and choose any career path but I will insist on a university post graduate degree as a baseline to start from.
Here, her father pitches in saying that though school and college education are necessary, the best education a person can get is by keeping his/her eyes open and learn what life teaches us every day. She shall learn to do that too.
6. Be her person
I hope that I know her first crush, her first kiss and her first boyfriend and finally help her find her soul mate. I hope to instill in her, enough faith in me, to be able to be frank to me.
I hope I find my best friend in her and I hope she does too.
While all that I said above as a parent do happen, I also understand as Kahlil Gibran puts it so eloquently:
Your children are not your children.
They are sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you.
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
I’ll give her a set of wings made of my dreams and blessings but where she chooses to fly, is up to her. But she will also know that the nest she leaves behind, will always be there open for her to fly back or visit sometimes.
An erstwhile Quality Analyst, Sirisha Achanta, is now a full time mommy to an adorable 2 year old girl and a part time writer. 🙂 She loves to dance, dream and read a lot!