Being a parent is one the best things that can happen to anyone! Cuddling that little bundle of joy in your arms and wishing only the best for your little one. Constantly agonizing over getting everything right for your little angel just becomes second nature to you once you become parents. There is a special joy in knowing that you are responsible for the physical, emotional, social, financial and intellectual development of your child from infancy to adulthood! And at the same time, there is also a sense of deep responsibility to raise your children to the best of your ability.
To achieve this, most of us parents turn to family and friends or the internet or the erstwhile parenting books that have stood the test of time. Earlier, when the internet hadn’t yet become a part of our everyday life, we depended on the elders in the family for direction. But of late, we are beginning to depend more on online parenting support groups, parenting websites; and even social media where people in situations similar to ours, share their experiences and insight. This helps us see parenting from a broader perspective; and yet, we end up, sometimes, doubting ourselves. There’s a reason for this. And that reason is; that no matter how much we prepare ourselves, parenting is not the same for everyone. Indeed, when it comes to parenting, there is no ‘one size fits all’. And that’s why an advice in a book or on a certain social media group, which might have worked for many parents, may not actually work for you!
I once read an article about teaching one’s child not to interrupt a conversation in a fun way. The writer made a point of highlighting the fact that children listen to you if you tell them something in confidence and show them that you believe in them to stick to the plan. So optimistically, I decided to try it out on my little one too; and was surprised to see that it actually worked! But a few days later, my little one didn’t find it cool anymore; and just stopped responding to the trick the article had taught us to use! And that’s when it dawned upon me, that what writer had merely expressed an experience. Since both of us had children with different temperaments, what worked for her did not obviously work for me. I am sure many of you are nodding your heads at this point, remembering yourself in a similar situation; and let me tell you, there is no shame in admitting that we have all been there, done that. After all, we parents learn everything about parenting “on the job;” and let me tell you, this is no easy job either!
Just because the solution in a coming from a “parenting expert” does not work for you; doesn’t mean that it is wrong to read something and try to implement it. On the contrary, it is good to be prepared and well- informed. Like I said, these things give us a broader perspective; and it is essential to have that.
However, merely keeping ourselves updated with the latest parenting trends is not enough to get it right. The one most elementary fact that is at the heart of parenting is that for any advice to work, we need to tailor it to suit our requirement! Just like recipes taken off the internet! We look up recipes on the internet with exact measurements of ingredients; and then adapt and tweak them to suit the palates of our family members. Some families prefer more salt, others less spice; some love it bland while others take it sweet – and it is only when a recipe suits our family’s preferences that our efforts are admired and appreciated.
Parenting goes the same way. For the parenting hacks, advice, tips on the internet and in the books to work for us, we need to adapt them to our family’s special mix of behaviour and reactions. Most importantly, we need to learn to trust our instincts. And it is only when we learn to believe in our instincts as a parent – a mother and a father – that we can make positive changes in ourselves as parents and in our parenting! So if you are someone who agonises over getting your parenting right; fret no more! All you have to do is take that parenting advice and have faith in your instincts as you adapt it to your situation.
Rashmi is a devoted mum and an avid reader. When she is not engrossed in a book or attending to the whims of her spirited offspring, she indulges in creative writing and blogging. She was a lawyer once, much before she surrendered to motherhood and took up writing. Today, she is a regular contributor to lifestyle, parenting and e-learning websites; and has created FindMyRead – a vibrant community of book lovers! To read more from Rashmi, visit her blogs Ramblings et al and Find My Read.