Note: This post was half composed sometime in December last year after reading Zephyr’s post..then I added some half now…its a mish mash post. I wrote it more for myself than for anyone else to read so that when I think I am going wrong in my parenting, I will come here and read it for myself.
Zephyr as superb as ever, came up with this absolutely amazing post about loving your children .I recommend every mom and not yet mom to read it, because its what true love towards your child is all about..
I learnt a lot from it
about ‘letting go’
I am not a very controlling mom as such..as long as things are done under limit and she doesnt cross her boundaries by being rude or something, I am okie with R doing things on her own including cleaning the mess on the dinning table 😉
and by setting boundaries, this is what I mean..This happened when R was about 3.5 years or something…
Our milkman usually comes in the night (I know I know, I told na that the R household is a bit weird) with his daughter who is slightly older to R…
both the kids usually smile at each other, say hi and bye and its done..one day I was in the kitchen and RD opened the door and apparently R told the little girl very rudely ‘tu idhar se ja – go from here’
RD asked her to apologise for that..but R refused..
the milkman and his girl went away
RD came and told me..and then all three of us trooped to the milkman’s shop, made R say sorry to the girl and came back home…
We refuse to accept rude behaviour and if you did it, you say sorry…
anyways I digress.
Zephyr talks about letting go
Most parents especially mothers, I think find it very difficult, and it may be also, because afterall as a mother you carry the baby in your womb for 9 months, feed the baby and ensure all is good for the baby..it definitely is difficult, but its not impossible
Its important to let go..and let go enough so that its balanced.
If you give too much freedom, the child becomes a brat, if you dont give freedom, the child becomes a recluse.
My Appa always used to tell Amma, to let go when she would get worried or hyper about something involving RMB and I 🙂
One of the first lessons of parenthood, I think, should be letting go (okie okie, may be it should be diaper changing and poop cleaning, and breast feeding, but we are talking in an emotional sense here!)
Sometimes, as a mother, I find it very difficult to find that thin line of balance between letting go and holding back. Well, but who said parenting was an easy job eh?
I know of parents who take every decision for their child. While I am totally okie with a child asking their parents for opinion (as in case of RMB, he discusses everything with my parents, but ends up doing what he and bhabhi decide!) but when parents expect their children to follow what they say and nothing else, its definitely not letting go.
Some parents refuse to believe that their child has grown up and is capable of taking decisions. which is wrong I guess. You cant make your child so dependent on you. What will happen when you are dead and gone, who is going to decide for them? After an age, I think you should trust the child to make decisions.
Infact, even at a younger age, for some things, I think its totally okie to let your child decide.
For example, most days, I let R decide what she wants to wear. Even if its the same GREEN FROCK every second day, I let her take a call, unless of course we are going out and the green frock looks like a rag now. Again, I give her a choice, you can wear the black and white frock SnS masi gave or you can wear the red and black skirt blouse with S chitti gave from Bangalore. She usually agrees. Some days its really bad. Major tantrum throwing, crying, etc etc which is when RD once told me, that we should have listened to what Amma (My MIL) said and never given her such choices early on. I dont agree to that. You should let your child decide on things which are not too major. Obviously, I am not going to let her decide whether she can get that fourth piece of chocolate (She cant! period. fullstop. no matter how much she cries or throws a tantrum!) but I think I should give her the liberty of deciding what she wants to wear from what she has.
My MIL feels I give too much freedom to R. Or rather I give her too many explanations and choices. I dont know. I dont think I do because otherwise I am a pretty strict mom.
Manners, way you talk to elders, way to conduct yourself in public – All this, if she crosses a line, she had it from me. May be not there and then, but definitely I talk to her about it.
Again, each child is different, what works for R, may not work for another kid.
But what I want to say is, remember to let go at every stage in life. You cant be a helicopter mother till the child turns 13, and let go suddenly. It sends confusing signals to the child who is not coped up well enough to handle such sudden independence.
There are times when I tell R ‘you are a big girl, you decide’ Lets say ‘she asks me for an extra chocolate, I know its over her stipulated quota. I try and say no, she doesnt listen, starts a tantrum, I try and explain, that her once-in-three-days quota is over, she still wants and says please Amma last piece…now she knows that ‘please’ is like a brahmastra but…, I dont agree, she starts crying, I finally tell her its your decision, do what you think is right..and in 99% of the cases, she agrees to me. (1% she goes ahead and has it, I dont say anything, she comes back and tells me sorry!)
Often, parenthood is depicted as the epitome of sacrifice. While I do agree that as parents, we know of many cases where there have been supreme sacrifices, (For example eating less so that your children have food, or not buying new clothes for yourself so that your children can have them) I will never agree that your children have to ‘pay’ you back for your sacrifices. You have children because you want them. Then how can you make the relation a give-and-take one like a business.
And the easiest way not to expect from your kids is to ‘let go’ of them.
Give them enough freedom to discover things on their own, let them take decisions, let them explore. Be the guiding light, dont live their lives for them.
Making your child dependent on you for everything from keeping the coffee glass into the sink to deciding whether to become an engineer or doctor is not doing him/her a favor. Asking him to keep the coffee glass in the sink and giving him the pros and cons of being is doctor/engineer/hairdresser/chef/entrepreneur is what, I personally feel, true parenthood is all about 🙂