Today morning, when I was standing at the bus stop to drop off my daughter, I realized it was freezing outside and she was not wearing her school blazer. Immediately, I got into a frenzied emergency mode ignoring the fact that she was already loaded with 3 sweaters and it was definitely not cold enough for water to turn into ice! So practically speaking, she was safe!
But there I was all worked up!
"Hey, Ishita, you must be feeling cold! I will run and get your blazer or my own coat," I spluttered anxiously.
"Mom, it’s cold but I am fine. You please relax!"
I took a deep breath to calm myself down and asked her again in just short of 2 minutes, "Are you sure Ishita, you are not feeling cold!" I must have sounded like a frantic mother whose child is stuck from neck below in the freezing snow of the Arctic because Ishita gave me one of those warning looks that meant "Mom, please!!"
In an effort to distract myself, I looked around and noticed that I was no different from the other parents there who were hovering over their young ones like honey bees!
After seeing off my daughter in the school bus, I trotted back home with a thoughtful look, remembering my own childhood. How I used to go to school on a bike, be it winter, summer or even in heavy rains. I remember the days when I had to manoeuvre my kinetic (a non-gear two wheeler of those times) in the heavy fog.
And I don’t remember wearing any warm pants to school, simply because we didn’t have that in our uniform! It was just one uniform throughout the year — a short white skirt with a white shirt. Come winters, we used to just layer that up with a couple or two of red sweaters and long socks to ward off the cold. And our parents never grumbled about this to the school authorities and we…
Well we as kids enjoyed all kinds of weather, whether it was sultry summers or freezing winters. Seasons never mattered, only friends did!
And then I realized how the modern-day parenting might be smothering our children. As parents we need to understand that,
It’s okay for the child to catch common cold once in a while.
It’s okay if the child goes empty stomach once in a while.
It’s okay if the child fails his tests once in a while.
It’s okay if the child doesn’t excel in performances once in a while.
It’s okay if the child cries his heart out once in a while.
It’s okay if the child is not indulged once in a while.
It’s okay if the child doesn’t get to eat pizza and burgers once in a while.
It’s okay if the child makes mistakes more than once in a while. He is just collecting his life’s experiences. Let him be free enough to do that.
Too much of cushioning can hamper the child’s own experiences. Too many DO’s and DON’Ts will create not smarter but ‘biased’ individuals. As parents, let us first accept that our child is a unique individual with a mind and dreams of his own.
He is not a blueprint of our ‘unfulfilled dreams’. He is also not a ‘second chance’ for us to rectify our own life’s mistakes.
So as parents, let’s take a step back, loosen up a bit. And let the child explore his own aspirations, play around with his own ideas and take his own decisions.
Obviously as parents we need to create some ground rules, make certain boundaries, and be firm with the same.
However, let us back off for a while from mollycoddling them and planting ideas into their heads. Let us give our children credit that though young, they are smart enough to manage small responsibilities, take minor setbacks in their stride, celebrate small victories, learn to accept NO and failures gracefully, and laugh at their own mistakes, without us holding their hands all the time.
Let me conclude by saying that 'Parenting' is not a job, it is fun because we are growing up with our children. We are learning many things together. It's a special, emotional bonding between two generations.