Scene 1 : The baby is crying!
He : What does this mean?
She : Don’t know. Look up in the book.
While she alternates between feeding and comforting the bawling child, he opens up the book and starts reading aloud…
Is it hunger? Is the baby sick? Is he uncomfortable? Is it indigestion? Is he wet? Is it fatigue?…
They check all the plausible reasons and then follow the suggestions to calm the child and something works and the baby sleeps peacefully. They smile at each other, look lovingly at the sleeping child and cast a grateful look at THE BOOK.
Scene 2 : Sonny boy shows a huge temper tantrum in a mall.
After the screaming, kicking, embarrassing and frustrating show, they return back home to read all about the temper tantrums of 2 year olds, how to deal with it and how it is a part of development process…
Yes, books have been our big support system in helping, guiding and preparing for almost every parenting situation.
It all started much before our baby came in our world. A miscarriage after 2 years of marriage and the next 3 years spent in frequent visits to the hospitals and laboratories pushed us to read and understand all about the pregnancy, issues, complications, the reasons for the tests and what to expect etc etc. And the fact that there were no elders of the family around to share the expert advice / comments, further made us, the first-time-parents, go deep into the world of books.
So, what developmental changes happen at the age of 3 or what toys are best for psychomotor development or how to ensure that the child sleeps well or what to plan for a healthy diet or why the child is scared of strangers or how to prevent bed-wetting or is boarding school right for your child… books on parenting and child care opened their secrets with suggestions and tips, guidance and perspectives, explanations and explorations…
So, can we learn parenting from books?
The answer is NO. We can’t learn to be a parent from a book. We learn it from our every moment, every day experience with our child. Our daily experience with our own child provides the perfect laboratory for applying and developing the practical approach that eventually becomes our parenting style.
We learn so many things on our own, from our maturing process that makes us better parents, with each passing day. The lessons in patience and maintaining calm in most trying moments are some of the hard earned and learned lessons courtesy our kids which cannot be found in any book.
But there is no denying the fact that books on parenting and child care open up a world of knowledge and insights for us. This knowledge empowers us to confidently handle the challenges of parenthood and become more conscious and aware parents. It’s the learnings from these books coupled with our experience that make us give our very best to our child, for his better today and best tomorrow.
Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counsellors, and the most patient of teachers, in our journey of parenthood!
A former pharmaceutical professional -turned -soft-skills facilitator for corporates and mother of a 11 year old, Shilpa Garg blogs at http://shilpaagarg.blogspot.in/