It is December 2013! Another year gone by! Most people tend to be pensive and reflective about the year that zoomed by! See, here’s the thing | Once you become a “parent”, life is just not the same ever again. WHY? Because you start to “major” in this subject called parenting – There are multiple assessments, projects, tests, reviews, exams, … et al – All with the aim to get you to learn, internalize and possibly become a better parent with the lessons amassed along the way!
So here I am looking back at the year and asking myself “What parenting lessons did I really learn in 2013?”
But before I start, I can’t help but wonder when does the journey of a “parent” really start? Is it when you are a child, and you see your parent / other parents behave in specific ways – And start making mental notes that “This is something you will definitely DO / NOT DO with your own kids” OR “Does it start when you discover that you’ll be parents” OR “Does it start when your baby is actually born?”.. I don’t have the right answer – But I think all the three stated above definitely play a role in your own parenting journey..
So without any further ado, let me list down my Parenting Lessons of 2013..
- Every child is “UNIQUE”, “SPECIAL” and “GIFTED” in his / her own way. Acknowledge it, Accept it and Believe in it. Your parenting journey will transform the moment you do this. And trust me, easier said than done!
- Parenting is a lifelong journey. And you learn with every single experience, and every single day. You learn and understand things about yourself, your parents, your spouse (the other parent), family, friends, education, teachers, children, emotions, relationships, experiences, creativity, communication, the world and about life.
Sometime you have to un-learn, and sometimes you have to re-learn. Sometimes you have to hold-on and sometimes you have to let-go.
Sometimes you have to speak up, sometimes you have to shut up and sometimes you have to observe in silence. It’s all part of the journey. And most importantly, there is no right / wrong way in parenting. It’s just what works for you and your child in any given situation.
- As a parent – you will make mistakes, you will falter, you may have set-backs. But you’ve got to get-up, take the lessons and move on! And of course, try not to repeat the mistakes!
- Every child needs strong anchors (Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, Social and Financial) in the formative years of their life and development. Be sure your child has anchors and knows who his / her anchors for the above are.
Dispel judgment for every single thing related to your child (and even yourself, if possible!). It can be wonderfully liberating.
- The Difference between RIGHT and WRONG simply because life is not black and white, and has numerous shades of gray. So things can be Undeniably Right, Arguably Right, Partly Right, Partly Wrong, Acceptably Wrong and Unacceptably Wrong; and that can be awfully confusing – for children and even adults!
- As a parent, “WORRY” will try very very hard to become your BEST FRIEND. Don’t let her be-friend you. Distance yourself from her. Run Away! Flee! In the long run, you’re better off if she and you don’t connect and form a bond!
- Patience is probably the only one virtue that every parent must invest in learning, and re-learning and re-learning. In the long run, it will hold you in good stead!
There are 3 golden phrases in English. “Sorry”, “Please”, “Thank You” – Teach them to your children and use them with your children… In abundance
- Till the age of 5 years, REPEAT REPEAT REPEAT those habits that you want to build in your children. And there is nothing like Too much repetition! It’s all good, and it’s all worth it! Life is indeed a collection of habits!
- In the initial few years of a child’s life, there is no such thing called “quality time”. The only thing that matters and makes a difference is “quantity time”. If you can manage both “quality and quantity”, then great.But if you spend “good quantity of time” even of “average quality”, you and your child are better off than “less quantity of time” of “high quality”. You see a child does not really know or differentiate “quality” that well! It changes as children grow, I’ve been told! But that may be my parenting lesson of 2020?
As a parent, let-go of perfection and control – of yourself and your kids. It will liberate you.
- Accept that you CANNOT KNOW everything there is to know in the world, especially for your children. Focus and Prioritize what you believe is important, and what you need to know. Every choice will come with a price – and that’s OK! Make peace with it. And most importantly – Your children may end up teaching you so many new things. Be open to let them teach, and you being the student!
- Try not to compare children (Easier said than done) – be it with siblings, friends, classmates, relatives, and anyone else. In the long run, both you and your child will be better off with minimal comparison
Once you become a parent, do everything in your capacity to awaken and nurture the Story-teller in you. Trust me; you cannot really survive as a parent of this generation of kids without a treasure of stories in your treasure-box!
- Get a sense of humor. If you don’t have it take a loan for the next 30 years of your life. That is the ONLY way to survive and stay sane as a parent of today! Don’t take yourself too seriously as a parent!
- Sibling love is a pleasure and treasure. Agreed that the decision to have kids, and how many rests with the parents. But if you can or in doubt, do go for two kids. A child’s world is a lot beautiful if they traverse through life with the love of a sibling!
- NEVER EVER GIVE-UP on your children! Let them know it
- Last and most importantly : Ensure that the “memory-bank” of your children is full of laughs, love, kisses, hugs, dreams, rainbows, hope, positivity, confidence, strength and joy! That is the best gift you can give your children
- Your children will be an integral part of your personal legacy. How they eventually turn out?, What they make of themselves? and the difference they make in the world can be directly / indirectly be linked to you, how your raised them and the role you played in their upbringing. So for those of you who have children – As you step into the new year, ask yourself “Are you doing enough – your bit and BEST to nurture, teach, groom and guide your children to truly discover themselves and live life to their BEST potential?”
Those are my lessons… What are yours? Share in the comments below…
As I sign-off, I wish you and your family with warm wishes for a VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR 2014! I hope this year brings your way good health, joys, happiness, new passions, gratifying relationships, loads of wealth, success, prosperity and dreams fulfilled.
Lastly, I leave you with a list of 12 NEW YEAR Worthy questions to ask yourself as your welcome this year.
Am I doing things that I love?
Am I learning enough?
Am I content with the current state of my overall health?
Am I really happy with myself?
Am I spending time with those who matter to me?
Am I living life to the best of my potential?
Am I content with my current state of personal finances?
Am I happy with the current state of my immediate living environment?
Have I made peace with my past?
Am I giving enough?
Do I need to review the state of my online / offline data?
Am I really experiencing life?
Nischala Murthy Kaushik is mother and philosopher rolled into one (the philosophical streak emerged after she became a mother – essential for balance, she believes). She is an Engineer and Management Graduate (IIMB Alumni) by Education, IT/Innovation/Marketing Professional by Employment, Google/Blog/Twitter/Social Media Lover by Era, Writer by Passion, Dreamer by Compulsion, Student of Life by Choice, Eternal Optimist by Necessity and Chief Happiness Officer of LIFE by Realization. She blogs @ Nischala’s Space, Thoughts and Expressions AND VERVE : The Quintessence of my Life . In addition, she is also as a guest blogger in several sites of global repute; and her blogs have been featured in several Best-Of lists and on the Directory of Top Indian blogs. She tweets @nimu9 and is also listed among the 50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter.