Parenting is a word which was not heard of about 10-15 years ago. Being a parent was a natural process. Parenting begins the moment you hold that precious little bundle in your arms. Make sure this was a well thought out decision as you are going to be parents for life. It is now your duty to make this little bundle a useful member of society. The social structure has changed/ evolved to such an extent that at times we are at a loss of what to do. In a joint family, there were a lot of people to take care of the baby as the mother went around her household tasks & the father went out to earn money.
Now with the transitioning of the families to nuclear families and both parents working, parenting has become a special skill to be learnt and put into practice. With my various experiences over the years and observing my own children and students and their parents, here are a few things I would like to say to the modern-day parents. Your child is a precious gift God has granted you. Believe me there is only one precious child in the world and every parent has it.
1. First of all get to know your child. Don’t worry he will let you know within the first few months of entering your world. He has immense ability to shout and holler when he is hungry or wants to be picked up and rocked.
2. Next comes discipline. You have already been told to space his feeding time so stick to that. Discipline has begun.
3. The moment you try to introduce a new food his reaction will tell you whether he likes the taste or not.
4. When it is time to put your child in school you will obviously opt for the best so that your child is well educated but never forget there is a difference between being literate and educated.
5. His education has already started at home. He is picking up and absorbing from his surroundings.
6. Don’t forget to lay down some ground rules. Even a 3 year old will understand when he is told to clear up his own mess. Eg. If there are toys strewn all over the house, tell him to pick them up and put them in the box specially made for the toys. He will even put his plate in the sink the moment he is tall enough to do so.
7. Basic polite words need to be introduced in his vocabulary like: please, sorry, thank you and excuse me. Do not over look if he forgets to say them. They need to be constantly reminded of to him.
8. Now that he is going to school, he will be facing a lot of challenges. You cannot be there all day so learn to listen to your child when he comes back from school full of information about all that has taken place in school. Talk to your child but don’t judge him. Just gather information you will be learning a lot.
9. As your child grows up he will also have to face peer pressure. He can request, cajole or demand that you give him the expensive gadget his friend has. Sit him down, talk to him and explain why you cannot meet all his demands. Teach your children the value of money. You can start this when your child is about 7 or 8 years old. Don’t make them take you for granted. Believe me they are smart enough to know from whom they can get what.
10. Teach your child to not just celebrate victory and excellence, allow them to take failures in their stride too and deal with them sensibly. He needs your support not reprimands. Yes, be his support not crutches. You are preparing him for a very rough road ahead and you won’t always be there.
11. It seems to have become the need of today to become your child’s friend. There has to be honesty between the parent and child and the child should have enough confidence to come and confide in you without fear of judgement. Get to know his friends and their families, but don’t interfere and try to become a part of their group. Never forget that you are a parent, and don’t let your child forget it either.
Finally you are the one whose footsteps your child will eventually follow. So become models for them. No bad words and cursing in the house. There is enough on the net.
As a parent it is your duty and your responsibility to say no if he does something unacceptable. Rest is your call as a parent you know the best. As the final word being respectful towards elders cannot and should not be compromised.
Principal (Retd.) City Montessori school, Lucknow