In retrospect the word “parenting” translates to “fun” for me. I may or may not have said this a decade ago since our feelings about any role are influenced by the prevailing situation. I admit to being frustrated, nervous and all those other emotions that take up residence when we deal with our children. But I am glad to say that they were just fleeting. I had a good example to follow – all I had to do was remember how my Ma dealt with me through the growing years to calm down and realise that the view is in the eyes of the beholder – in this instance, mine.
Parenting is a very important and wonderful job. Without exception, every parent would like to raise children who are confident, resilient and happy.
I am lucky I started off with great raw material. Like every Mother, I think I am blessed with the best kid in the world. But seriously, it is a pleasure to raise him, especially because I grow up a little each time there is a significant change. I love it when he says I am the best Mom in the world – no praise is higher, right? How to ensure that he continues to think so for the longest time?
Here is what I’ve learned:
Meaning what you say and following through
I’d say this is the single most critical thing to remember. When caught between a rock and a hard place (oh, children are accomplished at putting you there all the time if you let them) I think before I speak. I don’t want to make a commitment I’ll regret later. I’ve learnt that the hard way. What seems like a great idea at the time to get him off my back can turn into a really stupid one and make me think, what was I thinking? And these moments would happen when I just couldn’t stop what I was doing and deal with the situation.
So – again – think before you speak. Buy time by asking him to repeat what his problem is. LISTEN. That is half the solution. The other half depends on what you have to deal with. Calm down. If you do commit to doing something, follow through. Consistency is very much appreciated with children and you’re also teaching them something there. Exceptions are when they come and tell you that the beautiful vase that you have been guarding for the last twenty years just accidentally fell off and broke to smithereens. Or the external hard drive just fell off the table. Hmph! Take deep breaths.
A child who is praised and encouraged regularly achieves far greater things than one who has to deal with criticism or the “corner”. There is another important outcome of encouragement and that is healthy self-esteem, usually manifested in their actions. Also, it means children who smile more and sulk less. Just imagine how you would feel if someone takes your good deeds for granted and gives you a hard time for every little slip up. Yikes!
Allowing them to be responsible
This one is tricky. And often, parents are the culprits. Of course I am guilty of this one. We all expect our kids to be responsible, take up responsibility and shine as smart people. However, the moment they take the initiative to do something, we’re keen to go help. That is where allowing them to be responsible comes in. Let them make mistakes. It is a good way to learn. Allot certain on-going duties to them. In our house, my 15-year old is in charge of the dhobi/presswala account, the milkman’s account, ensuring the maintenance check is paid on the due date and keeping track of other bills paid online. Gives him an idea of budgeting, deadlines and also lets him interact with these people. When he was younger, he had other age-appropriate chores to do. And don’t forget to praise them for each task. They love it. It builds their confidence.
I could go on and on. But let me just wind up by saying that I am enjoying the journey of parenting. Being loving and affectionate pays large priceless dividends. The most important learning, of course, has been this: never lose your sense of humour. It helps see things in perspective and oh yes, it looks near impossible sometimes – but it is totally worth it.
The rewards? Responsive, responsible, healthy, happy children! And parents!
What have you learned as a parent? Please share!
Vidya Sury is a happy work-at-home Mom who relishes the joy of parenting and growing up with her son. She is a freelance writer, business blogger and social media enthusiast and loves DIY, Coffee, Music, Photography, Family, Friends and Life. She believes that Happiness is a DIY Project. She blogs at www.vidyasury.com and tweets as @vidyasury.