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30 Oct. 2020

Parenting: A Constant Work in Progress

To be a parent is one of the many joys and challenging tasks on the face of this earth. After all, bringing a life into the world, being responsible for them, providing for them and most importantly being their best cheerleaders and rooters for the rest of their life can be anything but easy.

We have all wondered and more so wished for there to be a parenting guide which could concisely and precisely tell us what to do and more importantly what no to do as parents. To tell us what the sure-shot ways are of raising a happy, healthy, confident child.

But let me tell you something today. There is no such thing as perfect – no perfect child, no perfect parent and no perfect way of parenting. Parenting like everything else in life works on the principles of experimentation and permutation-combination because each and every human brain is unique. You try ten different ways of being/engaging with your child’s brain till you arrive at what works best for you.

I wish it was as easy as it sounded though. Unfortunately, the tricky part is that what works best for you might not necessarily be right. Consider for example, some parents use fear with their children in return for compliance, some use pure love and some use a mix of both. All three have different implications for the growing individual depending on how the child’s brain process the information. While constant use of fear might make one timid, always obeying authority without questioning, might make the child scared of taking initiative or worse an aggressive bully; the constant use of love might make him/her too comfortable, a great negotiator and/or maybe encourage the wrong kind of pampering.

Here are certain tips that the parents could possibly incorporate into their ideas of parenting are as follows –

1• There is a thin line between protecting the child from the unknown and letting them explore and experiment. Sometimes, parents overwhelmed by their need to protect their child from any harm – physical or emotional give out solutions or quick fixes to every problem that the child faces without allowing the child an opportunity to try and learn. Trust your child. They are smarter than you know. Know when and where to intervene.

2• Times are changing and with it are the issues/problems that children face. Be open to having conversations – about changes in their body as they grow, bullying, body image, gender and sexuality.

3• With families turning nuclear from joint, and both parents working, couples struggle a lot of times to find adequate time to spend with their child. As clichéd as it may sound – quantity is less important than quality. In whatever time you get with your child, have a conversation with them with listening more and more . If you ask them about their day make sure to share about yours as well. It also teaches them listening and helps them understand you better.

4• There are different ways of engaging with your child. Research suggests that expressive activities such as art, craft, dance, painting, play, storytelling helps children in their emotional development, fosters critical thinking and creates a safe space with you where they can talk about anything and everything

5• Lastly, it is important for you as parents to acknowledge that you are only parents and not superman/superwoman. You cannot control everything that goes on – right or wrong in your child’s life. It may sound extremely scary and might force you to take every step with great strategizing but what works best is constantly reflecting on your own experiences, learning from what went wrong or right in your own childhood, educating yourself about things you do not know and admitting to yourself at the very least that you don’t have it all figured – and that is okay!

Lastly, it is important for us, as children, to acknowledge that while parents, well become parents, they are also individuals who have crossed yet another developmental milestone and are preparing for another with all its cherries and lemons. It is important for us to acknowledge that they are human beings too and can make mistakes – and it is okay as long as the mistakes aren’t too obviously problematic.