Parenting refers to the process of raising a child from infancy to adulthood while supporting its physical, emotional, social & intellectual development.
After becoming proud parents, the next goal automatically is, to become better parents if not the best. Parenting these days has become a competitive sport and we see it being played out every day. From under parenting to overparenting and all the styles in-between, this tough job has not gotten any easier even with the myriad of books, research and online aids available.
So, let’s start with basics. Everyone makes mistakes and as parents, we do make mistakes and sometimes they are not the little ones. Guilt is natural and especially so with working mothers who have to balance work and home pressures every day. The key is to move on and seek help. More often than not, help is always there.
It’s important to understand that children have their own personalities and temperaments and we as parents provide an interface to the world which the child eventually will deal on its own terms. Our job is to prepare the child for independence in a rapidly changing world, so that they have the best chance at mastering its intricacies.
Treating a child like you expect to get treated in a professional working environment is a great start. Expectations are well communicated, achievements are rewarded, transgressions get reprimanded while maintaining a respectful environment where dialogue and discussions are encouraged. Remember, communication is the key to any healthy and successful relationship.
It is natural for every parent to expect their child to be the best in everything they do, be it academics, sports, art, music etc. But in our list of priorities, let’s not forget that respect, compassion, empathy should be the building blocks of the child’s personality.
Reading should always be encouraged, so that the child falls in love with this amazing habit & the quest for knowledge. Whenever possible let us replace gadgets with a book. Sports teaches us to be strong, to share and to lose gracefully, but it also helps us easily make friends.
At every age children pose new challenges, and parents who think that things get better with growing up, are in for a surprise. Teenagers at the cusp of adulthood tend to be complex to handle. With hormones playing havoc, academic and social pressures mounting, they can be quite rebellious. It really helps to think about our teenage years while dealing with children, because basics remain the same, with cosmetic changes in the environment. Connecting with teenagers is essential because they are easily influenced at this age. Access to social media must be controlled & monitored. Cutting it off entirely may not be the ideal solution. We must make sure that online friends are the physical ones too.
Discipline and purpose once inculcated during childhood will ensure that children become independent and assume responsibility for their actions sooner than others. But they must also know that parents, will support and love them unconditionally. This instills a confidence that helps recover, persist and pursue goals even in the face of setbacks and disappointment that life throws at them.
In conclusion, Parenting is a growing, continuous process and an enlightening experience, not a chore. It teaches us as much as we hope to teach. Smile, we turned out well and so will our children!