• a parent or a friend ? i think one of the hardest question to answer.My kid is just 3 and I have started facing the dilemmas of a parent .I know today’s small issues are going to be big ones tomorrow. Be it the choice of school , cartoon watching hours , interactions with outsiders every time new doubts and advises.
    Parenting has no fix solutions or way we just have to work on hit and trial experimenting all the time and decide on our own depending on the situation what works best for the kids.so I will go with both the roles parent as well as friend ( a safe formula)

    • Hi Manjery,

      Yes indeed. Mothering and parenting can be a difficult process. Since your child is only 3, you have plenty of time to plan your moves. But then, it is all about trial and error as both of us mentioned, not exactly planning. And parenting is definitely not a maths sum. We have to work out the sum and that too without any formula. Good luck to all of us parents….What say you?

  • You have synthesized your opinion well, Shail. And mine is more or less like yours. As the situation demands i am footloose with them at times at times i put my footdown. And like you have said there is no written manual or right or wrong. But i believe you should be a little free with the children , trust and empathize with them during their teens since we have already put the values by then……..and still hold the reins. At times, i am a friend at times i am a parent:)

    • Hi Asha,

      Good to know that many of us are like this only. This extreme or that. Quite a tricky process I might say as just when you are thinking you are doing right, your child springs up with something and you begin wondering, where you went wrong.

  • Thoughtful post. Thoughtfully put.

    I have always believed children know far more than we give them credit for. Nature has its own of letting them run their lives. And we may not need to ‘play’ either role and we just ‘be’!

    • Hi Kavi,

      Yes. Definitely. We must never EVER underestimate our children. They are more conscious of a lot of things than we were when young. But, just letting be becomes difficult at times… Still working on that….

  • A very thought provoking post, Shail! In today’s times, parenting cannot be the 2 extremes ie too strict or too friendly. It has to be the right balance of both and I guess this equation does not remain the same in all the phases of the child’s growth…

    • Hi Shilpa.

      Exactly. The extremes can be difficult to handle at times. When the going is smooth and friendly, it is all fun. But when things are not going the way they should, and you are not able to fathom what is going on then, or you know, you are being taken for a ride, the trouble starts. We need to figure it all out ourselves…

  • Jo

    A well written thought provoking post..

  • Brinda

    Hi Shail
    Always a pleasure to read you thoughts. Very well written as usual. I guess, I am a freind and a parent depending on the situation too. I am friend enough for them to talk to me about anything and everything and I promise not to over react but a parent when they need me to be a parent and hold their hands to move forward.

    • Hi Brinda.

      Thanks. Nice that you liked the article. We all are like that at times. But, many a time, our moves can go wrong. So, we must try not being too much of a buddy or a strict disciplinarian either. It is the middle path. But, sometimes, even that becomes invisible.
      What do you think?

  • A common dilemma, especially in today’s world where we read so much about how parenting needs to be more open, we need to show more respect for our children, etc. Yes, the world has changed and children are more questioning and outspoken than we used to be as children. And it is important that we encourage them to be confident and unafraid by asking questions and even, sometimes, questioning our decisions. For children today cannot be convinced with an ‘Because I said so.’

    At the same time, we need to also decide for ourselves where we will draw tbe line – certain things are sacrosanct and cannot be questioned or disobeyed, no matter what. And each parent decides this for herself. After all, in the quest to be open and accepting, we cannot forget that an important parenting task is to teach the child to take her place in the world, which means teaching her to accept boundaries, follow rules and co-exist with others.

    Kritika Srinivasan

  • Hi Kritika.

    I agree with you entirely. The Lakshman Rekha needs to be there whatever the situation. As you rightly said, we are parents first and need to show the right way to our children. But in the process , we must not lose sight of the fact that the children need some space too…
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Mira Pawar

    Hi Shail ! Your opinion that every parent has to discover his/her own way to deal with his/her child is very convincing. We have heard people saying that kids are reflection of his/her mother/father and this is because of your upbringing. Your child cannot be like the neighbor. In a nutshell, the kids will turn out to be exactly how you bring them up. Also depends how you want them to turn out. If your priorities lies with your kids then surely come what may you will find time and make sure that they become good human being as you want them to be. Give them a safe and loving home and I am sure 50% of your fear that your child has gone out of hands will reduce, Values inculcated during the early childhood are very important, It’s not necessary that their values will not change. With the passing of time, the kids are sure to replace certain values with something more convenient or that resemble their peer group but this does not happen always. Well, I think the parents should do their best and leave the rest for time to prove.

  • Hi Mira,

    A lovely comment. Yes, the priorities do matter. Sometimes, life’s activities do tend to carry you away from the goals that really matter to you and that very much includes one’s family. Children need to be made aware of their limits and the love that is always there for them. And yes, parents need to put in their very best without compromising. The rest, as you said, time will show/prove.

  • m samson sundeep

    shail wonderful to read your article.Some one said.kids dont belong to you.you belong to them and they belong to themselves.well this is about belonging. but when it comes to parents being friendly or strict, i feel the parental love and at the same time parental authority matter in dealing with growing children.Family is the God ordained institution and parental authority really works.An authority in which love undoubtedly dominates all other rules. Love covers every aspect of life but friendship may not. i feel parental authority laced with love would work well.