Parenting Is Not A Cake Walk

Recently I was taking a walk in a park and I happen to notice a kid of four or five years with his maid. He was very enthusiastically relating to an incident that happened in his school to the maid. But the maid was not interested. She was not even making an eye contact with the child. I felt sorry for the child for not being able to share his one of his happiest moment and his parents for missing out that wonderful moment which their son wanted to share. I don’t think a well-paid maid, comfortable crèche, costly toys, gadgets or vacations, can replace the million-dollar moment of love and affection shared between a child and his or her parents. The grandparents can to some extent substitute for parents but only if they are in good health.

The physical closeness, sharing of emotions when happy or sad, just listening and interaction is what the child will remember than the toys or gadgets gifted. I think we spend so much of money on education but do not think twice about parenting. The youth when they become parents interact with their kids based on how their parents interacted with them as they grew up. And this interaction may be good for some and not so good for others. Once the couple decide to become parents they should be aware of the ups and downs of parenting. Good books on parenting, movies, advice of elders and parenting sessions should help the couples to certain extent. Benjamin Spock’s book on pregnancy and early childhood was of immense help when my son was an infant. Sometimes we must use our common sense when our child wants the truth and we are too embarrassed to admit it. To escape the embarrassment, if we lie and the child finds out he will only understand that it is okay to lie.

I remember how my parents, though not well educated bought us up with love and discipline. One unwritten rule I remember is when elders are talking, kids should not interrupt. When we are visiting somebody, we were forewarned to behave well. And if we played truant one look from my mother would be enough. And if this was not enough her one sentence, “I will see you after getting home”, was enough. She would usually forget about the threat, but we would not, and we would be at our best behaviour even after returning home. If we had guests at home, we must take care of them, entertain them and share our room. After they have left we would wait for my parents to admonish us for any inappropriate behaviour on our side. If there is no lecture we would be happy that all is well.

Tirukkural was written by Tiruvallur (a Tamil poet/writer) more than 5000 years on parenting mistakes which stands true for the present times too.

  • If your child lies to you often, it is because you over-react too harshly to their inappropriate behaviour.
  • If your child is not taught to confide in you about their mistakes, you’ve lost them.
  • If your child had poor self-esteem, it is because you advise them more than you encourage them.
  • If your child does not stand up for themselves, it is because from an early age you have disciplined them regularly in public.
  • If your child takes things that do not belong to them, it is because when you buy them things, you don’t let them choose what they want.
  • If your child is cowardly, it is because you help them too quickly.
  • If your child does not respect other people’s feelings, it is because instead of speaking to your child, you order and command them.
  • If your child is too quick to anger, it is because you give too much attention to misbehaviour and you give little attention to good behaviour.
  • If your child is excessively jealous, it is because you only congratulate them when they successfully complete something and not when they improve at something even if they don’t successfully complete it.
  • If your child intentionally disturbs you, it is because you are not physically affectionate enough.
  • If your child is openly defiant, it is because you openly threaten to do something but don’t follow through.
  • If your child is secretive, it is because they don’t trust that you won’t blow things out of proportion.
  • If your child talks back to you, it is because they watch you do it to others and think its normal behaviour.
  • If your child doesn’t listen to you but listens to others, it is because you are too quick to jump to conclusions
  • If your child rebels it is because they know you care more about what others think than what is right.


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