Monday, July 5, 2010

Honor Your Children

For parents who feel that children need control forever, can be manipulated to suit personal purpose or advantage and should be treated with less stature in the relationship, indeed need to revisit their style. Today parenting is more than rearing children or providing to their desires. It’s not about commanding as in a military unit but about understanding and relating to children at a transparent level. Such unequivocal dialogue between parent and child is a model of communication, relationship and behavior that represents parenting. Over the years this facet of human development has transformed from directive to participative style, wherein a child has a privilege to fair expression and concurrence and the parent has an unbiased approach and acceptance of a child’s such right. To me personally, parenting appears to be a role reverse that helps me relate to my child and lets me honor his thoughts and emotions, as I would want him to respect mine. 

A parent-child relationship sometimes also appears to be like a two way traffic sign on a street that has two arrows of equal sizes, side by side to each other, one pointing up, and the other pointing down indicating incoming and outgoing traffic in order to minimize or prevent chaos. But If the same street has these two traffic arrows unequal in size with one arrow pointing upwards larger than the other pointing downwards, it means outgoing traffic has priority over incoming traffic, something usually found when the road narrows at a particular end. This civic sense could serve as an augury in parenting. As an interchange of ideas and opinions and a junction of emotions, parenting is like the traffic arrows that signals directions in the relationship. Any wide or narrow frame of mind can either augment or taper this relationship leading to a never ending gap between a parent and his child.   
With times changing fast, children today are far smarter and perceptive of their parent’s style. On the other hand parents too seem to be more aware of their tact of dealing with their children indicating a paradigm shift from conventional authority structure to new age holistic balancing of roles with concepts of accommodating and comforting the child. The idea of parenting in the 21st century is not about creating a family but comprehending the changes that a child goes through in his lifespan from infancy to adolescence and later as an adult. Most importantly, parenting is an aim to let this change penetrate through the child in a way that doesn’t define parenting as stressful or even a tradeoff wherein the parent barters a child’s love and preferences for personal temperament.  

Mother Nature being the universal parent has an exquisite lesson to offer. Her tiny creatures like the sparrow bird incubates eggs patiently, feeds her young ones initially and grooms her children ultimately to see them fly independently in search of food and nest. This instance shows the thrust of autonomy on the offspring that boosts his self-sufficiency, something which we humans may or may not realize as elemental in the journey of parenting. Today successful parenting is as important as advancing in professional goals or accomplishing life’s mission. It’s about mentoring a child with expertise and wisdom rather than managing his life. It’s not just about setting disciplinary standards alone but ensuring self-appraisal before we assume a critique’s role in the child’s life. On realizing and implementing such change in us, as parents, the process or functionality of parenting becomes transformational and does not remain just transactional. It becomes far more yielding, leading to renewal of relationships rather than stagnation of thoughts in kinship. 

In order for parenting to be more rewarding, aligning ourselves to the following mode of care giving can be helpful. The choice to pursue such means though can be personal.

  • If the child is an infant give him all the love you can while observing physical changes, eye movements, sensory agility to gauze his interests to capitalize on these as he or she grows older. 
  • When the child is a preschooler encourage him to ask questions, reach out to people, and try new things even if it requires bearing his tantrums. If he cries, hear him out, it’s all the more reason to give him an advertent opportunity to hear himself. 
  • In his teens nothing could be more beneficial than befriending him to open candid channels of communication, emotional support, advice and introduction to the gruesome facts of life. Here is the point where you are half way through favorable and happy parenting. 
  • As an adult, he is no more a child. He would always be your little darling; it’s just that he won’t be that little sparrow anymore. It may sound as a bitter truth but the sooner we accept this fact, the better results we have. Also, this stage is paramount in the child’s life as this is when he outgrows from his parental cocoon to experience new relationships. The best thing to do as a parent would be not to judge but to gladly accept. 
  • Having almost same rules for all your children (two, three or however many) ensures good sibling relations and mutual respect. Giving more freedom to one over the other in the long run can be hurtful or harmful for the siblings as it could be for the family as a unit. 
  • When the child enters marital state and the family prepares to stretch out their nest, giving equal love and respect to your daughter-in-law and son-in-law, treating them as you would treat your children, is the first successful attempt at nesting into an extended family. On such welcoming effort, don’t be surprised if ‘love begets love’ and your daughter-in-law or son- in -law regard and respect you as their own parents. 
  • Last but not the least, setting dual standards can bring in disharmony, which none of us want. So try to avoid that. Also appreciating the fact that every relationship is a pattern of human behavior may be helpful, what befits one situation or style may not befit other. Remember that parenting is also a state of mind so try and change if you want to make the most out of it. 
On following such precepts parenting wouldn’t have to be a stage of depression or a situation of resistance to change but a gift from one generation to another to nurture life’s invaluable traditions. As Sloan Wilson once said, “The hardest part of raising a child is teaching them to ride bicycles.  A shaky child on a bicycle for the first time needs both support and freedom. The realization that this is what the child will always need can hit hard. As parents of a preschooler, honoring this lesson is the first task that my husband and I have decided to solemnize. 

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  1. Awesome blog! Thank you for your comment and visit as well.

  2. Mind if I send this back to my folks in the 80's? :) Very nice.

  3. Learning how to tune in the same music as each child is different in character and talents need a willingness to learn and to adjust...


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