Parenting Essentials: Though children are the pivots of parents’ lives for good, it would be really meaningful and valuable if parenting involved these three things for their children – love, limit and let them be.
Love: Children need our love the most when they deserve it the least. We are the only people who could love them unconditionally. It is hard not to judge, it is difficult not to compare, it is tough not to lose cool but it is imperative to love without judging, comparing and fuming.
When we love them unconditionally, they learn to value life unconditionally. When they have the confidence that they can come to you anytime with a broken nose, a broken heart, a broken bank balance or a broken life, they will have the courage to bounce back every time they get knocked down. Love them, show them that you will love them come what may, forever.
I always tell my fellow parents that Parenting is an emotion. One should become a Parent only when they are sure of having this emotional energy which keeps them patient, sane and hopeful as a parent for the longest of time. The emotion called Parenting keeps us awake for nights when they have a cold or an exam or a late night party. This emotion keeps us calm when they defy or fail an exam or mess up with a senior. This emotion keeps us concerned, even when our kids turn fifty. This emotion keeps us content, even when we miss them in our empty nests.
Limit: All the cool, friendly parents of today need to remind themselves that their children need parents, not friends which they have many. When parents are disciplined, children adapt their ways. We must gift emotional discipline, health discipline, time discipline, learning discipline and moral discipline to our children. Our children need to learn to face rejection and disappointment as an integral part of life so that they don’t get unusually angry or depressed. Ensuring development of healthy habits for eating, exercising, sexual activeness is our prime responsibility.
Showing them by example to organise and prioritize goes a long way in making them self reliant. A strong value system coupled with habits like reading and researching helps them decide between right and not so right choices. Limiting them is a skill we all need. I always tell my parent colleagues that kids don’t learn when we teach them something, they learn when they are ready. We should keep showing them the right behaviors and they will pick it someday which could be today or years later.
Let them be: Having expectations is natural for Indian Parents as we are used to parents owning lives of children. We are to our children what a gardener is to plants and trees in a garden. He looks after the plants’ well being every day, adding manure, required fertilizers, cutting, mowing, pruning, but he doesn’t own the plants, the flowers and the fruits.
Despite all the care, some plants get uprooted or wilt due to weather conditions. A gardener observes and tries to control the damage by being caring as well as vigilant. Parents do the same by observing silently, encouraging from the sidelines, guiding casually without being pushy or authoritative.
We can show them the path, but we can’t walk for them.
We can teach them the words, but we can’t talk for them.
Let them bloom into their own persons with their unique fragrances. Let’s not try to make them a version of our dreams and expectations.