A couple of weeks ago, we had attended a party. And the following conversation took place between a parent and his three year old son. Sample this!
The father: “Beta! Life me apna haq cheen ke lena chaiye, maangke nahi! Samjhe!”
The son (with two chocolates in hand), now looking at a smaller child with a smaller chocolate: “Accha papa! Thik hai! To main uske haath se chocolates cheen ke lata hun!”
The father said nothing. Although he held his son’s hands back, he stood there smiling, as if that was precisely what he had expected his son to do.
The above conversation rattled the pit of our stomachs as my husband and I turned our faces away in disgust. After the party ended and as we drove back home, my husband started explaining to our son about what good manners mean. And the first thing he said, “Never hurt someone smaller or weaker than you. Bullying someone only shows your cowardice.” And, this had to be made clear to our son, as we all were spectators to the episode (including my two and a half year old son). Our son nodded and both father and smiled as the understanding between them was clear and crisp. I looked out of the car window, trying to adjust to the nippiness of the starry winter night, and then a series of questions with the same word hit me, “Are we obsessed parents?”, “Are we competitive parents?”, “Are we cool parents?”, Or “are we just regular parents?” And, that is when I decided, I had to write.
Oh well, let me just group parenting as ‘obsessed, ‘competitive’, ‘cool’ and just ‘regular’. ‘Obsessed’ means, keeping a 24/7 watch on the kids and restraining the kid’s actions most of the time in the fear of being ridiculed for the child’s childlike behaviour. Precisely, they can’t bear the thought of risk (of any kind). The ‘cool’ breed is the one that loves to parade their kids in funky outfits, often trying to get them to look like some child rock stars just getting ready to talk/scream and gyrate like adults. And then, there is the ‘competitive’ breed who are always on a watch as to what other kids are doing and then getting their own kids to do the same. Finally, there is this regular breed which is seldom known but much common, where parents try hard to raise their kids with caution and at the same time, do not push them around much, giving them their own little space.
Now all the breeds that exist are somewhere influenced by their own upbringing. Some love to pamper their kids rotten. Some love to live their dreams through their kids. Some raise their kids with an iron hand, trying to bring them up with utter control and not letting them have their way for anything. Some love to give all those comforts to their kids, of which they themselves were deprived of. And some, raise their kids with the perfect understanding of when to spare the rod and when not to. Of course, like children, parents too evolve with time. So it would be difficult to comment on parenting styles.
But then, there are certain habits and manners a child needs to understand the importance of such as,
- Finishing morning ablutions on time
- A hearty breakfast that must have milk, A healthy lunch with green vegetables, cereals and pulses, A light dinner followed by a glass of milk.
- Lot of physical activity, creative learning and social interaction
- Reading good books and listening to good music
- Wishing elders promptly by the time
- Sharing toys and books with friends
- Following the rule of ‘A place for everything and everything at its place’
- Throwing the waste in the dustbin
- An evening of games and company
- And a prayer to the Almighty at night, thanking Him for food to eat, clothes to wear and for the roof above the head
Of course, I am not a parent who can, at this stage say, “Oh! Been there, done that!” I am yet to cross the bridge as of now. And I am also fully aware of the challenges that lie ahead, as kids for most part of their lives, are influenced by the surroundings they live in. So, as far as inculcating good manners are concerned, I will definitely strive hard for that. It will be a daunting task as it is for every parent. But then, there are good examples around too. As my husband keeps telling me time and again, “Sweetheart! Thank all the parents you meet in life. The ones who teach you how to raise kids and also the ones who teach you how not to!”
Isn’t it? Absolutely!
P.S: The other day, after both my husband and our son came back home after a long drive, my husband removed his shoes and placed them in the shoe cabinet. As he turned around, our son was holding his pair of shoes waiting to place them in the shoe cabinet, right next to his father’s. We smiled at each other.
If you want your child to build a good character,
You be the inspiration, you be the example!