Dr Abdul Kalam once in an interview said, “The only time a mother smiles, seeing her baby cry, is when he is born”. It is only natural that mothers cannot bear to see their little ones upset. For every mother her child is the most precious thing on the earth. So she pampers him and protects him with the best of her abilities against any potential threat. However, children can be highly demanding at times. There are instances when we feel our children are trying to control our lives or pulling our strings. Dr Wayne W. Dyer, in his modern-day classic Pulling Your Own Strings has appropriately said that we have to take charge of our lives so that other people do not pull our strings and try to control us. This holds true in case of children too.
Kids have a lot of expectations from their parents. Parents are also under the critical eye of the society.
Take the example of five-year-old Saira’s parents. Saira’s father has wonderful job offer in hand which means better pay and scope for growth in his career. However, her father is in a dilemma in accepting the new job. The new job means shifting home and school for five-year-old Saira as the work offer is in a different city. Saira has refused to leave her colony and school. She has declared to her father that she will never speak to him if he makes her leave her friends. Saira’s mother has shown her helplessness against her daughter’s tantrums. In fact, she has even suggested to her husband not to think in terms of job change as it troubled their only daughter. If the story of Saira’s father sounds familiar, here is a reality checklist that you should perform on yourself to decide whether you are a good parent or you are allowing your strings to be pulled by your children.
Are you sensitive towards every demand of your child?
Do you fulfill his every wish?
Do you feel disappointed if you cannot meet a demand of your child due to financial constrains?
Do you call his teachers/tutors and get angry with them if your child blames them for scolding him?
Do you “settle scores” with a playmate of your child if he dares to disagree with your kid?
Do you allow him to decide whether to eat junk food every day or not?
Do you allow him to plan out his birthday party menu and his choice of restaurant always?
If your answer to all these questions is a “yes” then this is the time to stop and reflect on your parenting skills. Redefine what taking care of your children means. Buying them material gifts in order to create a bond is not required. You are boosting their negative energies by overlooking their faults and setting a wrong example in front of them by being rude to their teachers.
Over indulgence is bad for the child and as a parent you are spoiling his life if you consider his every whim and fancy. A child has to learn to take in disappointments. If it is for his good it is best to disappoint him now. The sooner he gets his lessons of life, the better it is for him. Be firm when you say “no” to your child. Compromising with your life as Saira’s father, should not happen. Your child will get over the disappointment of having been told “no”. But he won't get over the effects of being spoiled. Your decision-making ability teaches the child the value of accepting new challenges.
Giving in to the material demands of the child is the easiest way out of difficult situations. You don’t want to teach your child that he will get everything through crying or getting angry with you or through any other manipulation. However, for stronger emotional bonding teach him the value of struggle and hard work. If the demand is genuine and well-deserving, suggest a little goal-setting exercise to your child. Offer to buy that fancy sport bike or the Barbie doll house set for an excellent report card. This way you are teaching your child to work hard from the very beginning. You are also teaching the child to be proud of his own efforts and learn the value for money.
Modern-day life style has made parenting a challenging task. The primary job of a parent is to prepare his child for the real world. In the real world, one does not always get what one wants. Therefore, a person will be able to deal with disappointments as an adult if he has experienced them as a child.
As parents we are a role model for our children. However, we must remember we are not the only role models for them. That is why effective parenting is necessary so that our children look up to us and feel proud of us.