Thursday, November 30, 2023

Mother’s Day: Raising a child in this difficult time, a tough challenge


It’s a difficult time we are passing through. Raising a child and assisting him to become a better human being is a tough challenge faced by parents, especially mothers every moment.

When I was not even married, I used to visualize how I’d want to bring up my kid. I used to tell myself, rather promise myself that I’d be a certain way with my child and endeavour at becoming an example for him/her. Raising a good human being is what has been the way for me ever since I’ve become a mommy! My son is a little above 8 and he surprises me at times, with his value system already. There are these small moments when I feel, I think I did manage to do what I always thought I would.

Nurturing an honest, kind, humble and respectful toward all lives, kind of humans should be everyone’s foremost priority. When we become parents, we take up the responsibility of bringing up 1 life! – a very important life. So, it is a big responsibility and his future circle, friends, the decisions, his outlook towards life and the way he will handle different situations – all of this will depend on how he is conditioned under our care.

When our kids show the first signs of manipulation, when they lie for the first time, when they hide things from us – our first reactions comprise of disappointment, anger, shock and disapproval. I feel that connection before correction is the key.

One should first introspect that does their child connects with them or do they have a strong connection with the child before they think of correcting him/her. If your connection is strong, the child will not even feel the need to lie or hide in the first place. The equation should rather be, ‘I am in deep trouble and I’ve to tell my mom or dad’ than ‘I am in deep trouble and I will be dead if my parents get to know.” And with this alone, so many other things fall in place.

With the current pace at which we have accepted the new normal and have moved steadily with it, it has become several times more difficult to oversee all aspects of your child’s growth. A parent today has to be super vigilant of the umpteen number of touchpoints that the child is exposed to, in terms of the content he consumes, screen time being the biggest worry in today’s time. But look at what they are learning. Look at us. If we are monitoring our own screen time, then the kids will follow too.

We often forget that they are also little human beings who deserve equal respect, equal say, equal privacy and equal place. Belittling them or passing a remark on them, pulling their leg in front of a full house – we must never do this.

We expect them to respond to our ask almost immediately. When we are glued to our phones, laptops or engrossed in other chores (and we take the liberty of saying, I shall do it later), consider the same amount of space for our little humans too. That last round of their game holds equal importance for them as our WhatsApping holds for us. By understanding that they could take a pause to respond to your ask, we are teaching them to be respectful of every individual’s time, wish and will, but first, their own.

Kids learn by watching. When we speak to our subordinates, when we place an order at a restaurant, when we argue with our parents – our kids watch everything. The way we speak to them is the key. Screaming at the top of your voice or hitting them will never be the answer. When we lose it on our kids, it is actually less to do with the kids or their behaviour, and more to do with our need of feeling heard or respected. Our reaction to their misbehaviour is what will stay with them.

I try to ensure a healthy framework for his value system by –

  • I am considerate towards his choices and decisions and do not consider them any small or less relevant
  • If he shares something with me, I make sure I respect the fact that he confided in me and do not speak to other family members about it, laughing or giggling over it
  • When he shares his dilemmas with me and is seeking a sense of right or wrong, I make sure to have him see situations with a just/fair perspective and does what he thinks is right
  • I do not skip our reading and storytime before bed. That has been like a logical end to the day since the start. That is purely our time and we connect the best then. Believe me, they are never too big for a good story

Also, I am breaking some myths for him to make things easy for him in future –

  • The gazillion restrictions which came on us under the umbrella of religion, beliefs and superstitions – He will follow none
  • Roles and responsibilities are gender-neutral
  • The importance of life skills – with the fact that cooking is also a life skill (survival)
  • Respect towards all living beings

Also read: Mother’s Day: Motherhood is a behaviour

(Geetika Gulati is the founder and CEO of ZIVComms, a boutique PR firm.)

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.)


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