PARENTING: A BEAUTIFUL JOURNEY by Sonal Maheshwari

While driving down the road of parenting one experiences a mixed bag of feelings. Sometimes we feel good, happy and there are days when we feel drained out, exhausted. It is a tough job with no salary. Once a parent, you must be on your toes throughout your life. While I am writing this, I am struggling with my 8-year-old child demanding for story telling time in the background. But whatever said and done once I see his smiling face my heart melts, I feel blessed to be a parent and a mother.

Parenting involves providing emotional, physical and social security to a child. We all have different styles of parenting some are very gentle, some strict, some are over possessive, and some are carefree. We can categorise them as good parenting and bad parenting. Well I think not really, because no parent adopts bad parenting intentionally for their child. So, I think I should replace it by saying efficient parenting and inefficient parenting. To ensure efficient parenting we need to go out of our comfort zone and keep the following points in mind.

Time for your child.

We all know time is the most precious thing in the world, so why not give this precious gift to our child. At every stage of their life they need time or in other words attention. It makes them connect with you. My 8 years old always argues with his father, why he cannot come home early and spend more time with him? Not only that he always wonders why his father is on official calls even after coming back from office because as per him, once his father comes back his time belongs to him. “It is mum and not you who works from home” he says.

So, here is a tip When we get up in the morning and plan our day, we must include at least one activity as a goal to be accomplished with our child. Spending time with them can include storytelling, playing any game or sports, a chit chat session, or going out on a holiday and needless to say all this should be done without we being busy with our gadgets.

Practice what you preach. Well this reminds me of an incident. When my society people asked me if I could prepare food packets for the underprivileged people during the lockdown. I requested them if it could be postponed to some other day, since a lot of official training sessions were lined up for me. My child was listening to all this very carefully and later he said “mum you say that we should always help the poor and needy people ,so why are you not doing it today?” Well this blew me apart, his kind heart made me realise how important it is to ensure that we practice what we preach. Children learn by observing things, we cannot teach them by dictating things.

Be Friends.

It is extremely important that we make our child feel that we are their best friends. In today’s world when people are finding 300 to 400 so-called friends on FB and WhatsApp, it makes it important that we become the real friends of our child with whom they can share everything under the sun. Because of this the child will never feel lonely and would prefer to discuss everything with us. However, while doing this, keep one suggestion in mind, that once they share things or their experiences with us which are objectionable to us, we should not become a parent suddenly and scold them. This will refrain them from coming to us in future.

Nowadays children have access to social media, online content like chats and photo sharing at a very tender age. It becomes a huge responsibility of parents to guide their children in right direction, become their real friends so that they trust you more than their virtual friends.

Motivate your child.

Today’s world is highly competitive. We as parents always want that our child should be an outperformer, doing exceptionally well in studies, sports, job etc. They should always stand apart and come first in whatever they do.

But hold on dear parents we need to understand that one is not the only number in counting, so everyone cannot be number one. Someone must be number 2,3,4 and so on. Our job is to motivate our child to work hard towards their goal irrespective of the result. I remember an incident where my child started crying because he did not win a skating race. He was terribly upset as he did not get the prize and recognition which children coming first or second got. At that time as a mother, I took on the responsibility to explain him that winning or losing is not decided by your rank but by the effort and the hard work that you have put in. That
journey of mine, to motivate my child to do things irrespective of the fact whether he wins or loses has never come to a halt. Just a few days back he said to me, “mom one of your good quality is that you are always motivating me.”

Do not live your dreams through your child.

Parents need to understand that your child is not a puppet and by giving birth to them, we have not become their masters. They have their own mind and their own thought process. We need to nurture their dreams and not force ours on them. Do not force them consciously or unconsciously to achieve something which you wanted to do, and I am sorry to say, you failed. Our role is very crucial in giving them the exposure required and give them the knowledge and information about same. Once this is done we should take a step backward and allow our child to explore all those options and allow them to pursue what they want. So please do not force them to become an IAS officer only because you could not become one.

No comparison please

Have you ever thought why God has not given us all fingers of same size? Why some people are tall, some short, some black and some white, some have grey hair some have black? All plants, animals and other creatures in this world are different from each other. None of them are same. Everyone on this earth has a different role to play. Can we compare an apple with an orange? If the answer is no, then how can we compare Rishan with Daivik, Sonia with Geeta,so on and so forth. We need to understand that each child is different, is unique in his or her own way. To ensure effective parenting we need to see that special thing in our child and nurture it well, and help the child excel.

Big NO to spanking

If I ask anyone, if he or she enjoyed spanking while growing up please raise their hand. I am sure none of you would have said yes. Understand it is something which will only teach the child to fear external consequences. It will only give parents a short-term compliance, no way this will teach your child what is right and
what is wrong. Children who are spanked regularly are more prone to fighting with other children, they feel this is an easy and faster way to solve dispute. They can grow up and become bullies. So, to discipline them we need to practice positive discipline, be firm with them and avoid punitive measures.

Pamper yourself

Yes, you heard it right. Trust me pampering yourself makes you feel happy and only people who are happy can spread happiness. To ensure you are happy, take care of yourself, work on having a healthy relationship with your spouse with your extended family. Do things which rejuvenate your mind. Take out a much talked about “ ME TIME “ and please do not feel guilty for the same. Do not consider yourself a superhero or super women, ask for help whenever required. Always remember we will fail in parenting if we fail to take care of our self mentally and physically.

So in the end I would like to say it once again, “yes parenting is a tough job with no salary but if we keep working on it, it will surely make our life more meaningful and enjoyable and will also enable the child to excel.