Way before I conceived my daughter, every time I would see a mommy-child pair on the road or anywhere, I used to be quite fascinated by the different attitudes the mothers would adopt towards their child.
While some mums would be cajoling and trying to soft-speak their kids into behaving properly in front of strangers and do the kind of things they wanted them to do, others would be outright boisterous and loud, not ashamed to show their anger in a public place towards their kids. On the other hand, I almost always saw that the same pattern was re-applied even when it came to how the kids behaved back with their parents.
For most parents who were behaving more ‘civilised’ and soft-spoken with their kids, the kids would listen to them in more cases. Some kids would of course talk back about what they wanted to do differently, as most kids of that age will, but it would be done in a much civilised and polite way. On the other hand, mums who had been over-bearing and over-loud and over-angry with their kids would always get back an ‘over’ dose from the kid too. The child would shout back, or throw a tantrum, or openly refuse to do what mamma said, choosing instead to do the exact opposite and showing the parent that they weren’t scared, rather daring the parent to come ahead and do something more!
I used to be quite amused then. Now things have changed. Now I understand the entire psyche better, I understand how the whole pattern works to come back in a perfect, or in some cases, imperfect, circle. More than the father, a kid will almost always pick up behaviour of the mum. How mommy reacts in given situations, how she speaks to the child and to those around her, how mommy behaves with helpers and people who are into utilities, what kind of programmes mommy watches, what kind of music she likes, what kind of language she uses when with friends, what interests she has, the way she dresses – little things that form a part of our everyday routine, yet things that a little mind will process and store for a long time to come. I have seen this pattern with mothers who have sons and in my case, my daughter is an exact replica of me as a person, down to the interests I have, to the attitude I have towards life, to what kind of language I use. She has just picked it all up, and most of it, unknowingly.
When it comes to teaching your kids the basics in life that will stay with them for the rest of their lives, I realise it’s we, the parents, who need to first inculcate those basics in us. Just saying that parents are the biggest role models doesn’t help. We need to actually ‘become’ those role models ourselves, rather than telling our kids what’s right and what’s wrong and forgetting that the same rules should apply to us as well. Okay, maybe not all, but most basic rules, yes.
Being a Delhiite all my life I’ve heard some of the choices ‘bad’ words in Hindi my entire life. But one thing that I’ll always remain super proud of is that though my parents lived in that environment forever, I have never heard them speak it themselves. Ever! So it is that I can never utter one ‘gaali’, even though my friends can rattle off all sorts of abuses at the slightest provocation. My hubby, being a Delhiite again, did pick up those words, as is natural with all Delhi boys, but ever since our daughter arrived, he has been pretty careful.
One day though, I ended up saying ‘mad’ in some fun context at home in front of my daughter. And what a scolding I got! And I realised she had a point. If ‘mad’ is a word she shouldn’t use, how does it make sense that it’s a fun word and can still be used? Ever since then my daughter has become the ‘bad-word’ monitor of the house, and each time one of us slips us, she promptly stands up, holds out her hand and asks for the pre-decided fine amount of ten ‘tupees’. The box allocated to store all the fine amount has spilled over many times, and each time it gets filled, she gets a treat from the entire amount, coz she stopped us from using that bad word! She sure is proud of herself on that!
And I am proud each time she says thank-you to an auto driver, to the maid or to a shopkeeper. And I am proud that each time she doesn’t agree with what I am saying and wants to make her own point, she does it with perfect logic and reasoning, explaining things to me in a typical 5-year-old out-of-breath-very-busy fashion, not screaming or shouting, but mostly trying logic that makes sense to her. And of course, when she doesn’t find a way to convince mamma, she uses the ever-present right of a 5-year-old girl to resort to her big big tears that are enough to bring mamma papa both to their knees! Heyiiiyaaah!!!
Debolina Raja Gupta loves being a mommy and best friend to her 5-year old princess. A working mom, voracious reader, social activist, photographer, poet, travel freak, beauty writer and an everything-of-sorts. Best fun is story time and our fashionista time together. My blogs: The Book Worm, A Few Thoughts Here And There, My Little One And Me, Beauty Makeup And More.