As a mom to two young girls, if there’s anything I have learnt about parenting, it is that parenting is a lifelong journey and it’s a two-way ride. Parents not only teach their child; but many times, learn from the child themselves.
We learnt our first lesson from our daughter when she had just turned 5. And that’s a lesson we have never forgotten and has even formed the basis of our relationship with our daughters.
It was in the year 2010, and we were busy preparing for Deepawali. Hubby and I were staring at a long list of pending chores and an equally if not longer shopping list. We took our daughters, then aged 5 and 3, to my mother’s place. After a round of tea and snacks, the two of us slipped out, unnoticed from the kid’s eyes.
Four hours later, when we returned to pick them up, we faced the unexpected. A volley of questions soon replaced the welcome hug, and the elder daughter subjected us to a round of interrogation.
Where were you?
Shopping baby. Diwali is coming, so we had to buy a lot of stuff.
Why didn’t you take me?
It’s crowded because of the festive season. You wouldn’t have liked it.
So why didn’t you tell me that. I would have understood and not worried about you.
Shocked and surprised at the maturity she displayed, both Hubby and I lost no time in apologizing for our folly.
The need for open communication and taking consent became our parenting mantra, and we firmly swear by them.
Whatever decision we take, we take the children into confidence and discuss with them rather than imposing our decision or catching them by surprise. Since 2018, we have moved 4 homes across 3 countries. And every time we have explained the rationale, answered all their queries, quelled their doubts as best as possible and have moved ahead with consensus.
Trust me, it’s not easy to always do this. There are times when the devil inside peeks and tempts us to use the most loved parenting lines, ‘cuz I said so,’ or ‘we are the parents, we know what’s best for you.’
It’s easier to do that, but it is not rewarding, it is not comforting.
Our biggest reward for walking on this path has been the trust our children have in us. They share their life stories with us, no holds barred. Be it boys or BTS; pads or pimples; math troubles or Mexican cravings; there’s no topic which is taboo for discussion with either parent.
Well, obviously, the flip side to adopting this mantra is long drawn discussions, some tears, and harsh words at times, but there’s plenty of love and trust to cushion any hard feelings and smoothen the creases.
Do let me know what’s your parenting strategy. It would be a fun and educative experience to share notes.