Friday, October 14, 2016

Walking the tightrope of Parenting

It's time for one of the now-occasional parenting related posts on the blog ;). As the kids grow older, I have got more caught up in privacy concerns, and wondering if they would want so much about them online. This means that I analyze quite a bit before putting up anything in this space. D, who's now 11, has also read through many of my older posts, which made me all the more wary of writing something that might make her uncomfortable :D. Of course, in a couple of years, she might be online herself and sharing stuff, but I will have to leave that to be her decision and her learning.

Canva pic courtesy Shailaja Viswanath :)
But oh well, it seems like parenting is similar to walking on a tightrope most days. As young parents, we feel that babies are TOUGH, and it's great when they grow up and start eating/drinking/sleeping on their own, but the challenges don't end - they just change :). When I was faced with a surprise phone call from my 11 year old a few days back, it took a lot of self-control to sound calm and give her advice, though I was panicking a bit underneath. That set me thinking of all the times when we must let them do their thing, just to help them grow, though I have not always wanted to!

- When S, at 4 years, wanted to start bathing himself, simply because his sister had been doing so for a few months and he didn't want to feel left behind. Was it efficient? Definitely not! It took a few weekend scrubs to make up for the weekday self-baths, but on the whole, it was worth it! He has always tried to take to things earlier, simply because of the competition ;), and it has mostly ended up making our lives easier with less to "teach".

- When I took the decision to stop studying sessions which had me "asking questions" before every exam, to let D do her own preparation. She protested, I worried about the effects it would have, but I found that it hardly had any impact on her performance. Humbling much? For sure :P.

Sibling Beach fun!
- When they forget school items or submissions at home, and even if I know it's something important, I took the decision that I would never run to school to get it to them, but let them handle the situation on their own. It did help that both their schools have been a bit far from home so it would be a huge effort to just get there. I also hoped that not being super-organized myself, they would develop this habit on their own. It's an uphill task on many days, but I know they can definitely handle unexpected situations with just a little advice and nudge from us now and then.

- When D had a stay-back at school for one day a week, and offered to come back on her own by public transport, I was a bit concerned, but I knew that not letting her do it would set a bad precedent. We thought we'd give it a week or two and see how it goes, and surprise surprise - she's doing really well!!

When there's an unforeseen, even slightly worrisome, situation, and you feel like things are not in your control, there is always a sense of panic in a parent's mind. But I have learnt to control that feeling, and only portray a sense of calm to the kids. They know our phone numbers to call from a phone booth, and they have change on them if they need to.

A lot of credit is due to the spouse, who's been the enabler in most of these situations. I have learnt and adapted over the years, though I still sometimes have to suppress my initial impulse, and then go for the calmer alternative ;).

12 comments:

  1. Loved it! And as usual, you hit the nail right on the head with this one. It's important to let them make mistakes and learn, although that's easier said than done, right? Sigh. This parenting thing doesn't get easier, that's for sure. Don't remind me of the time when they will be online! Gosh, that seems too close for comfort!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Shailaja :). Yes, I was thinking about it the other day too - I've imposed a timing of 13 years but it seems so close!!

      Delete
  2. I believe our kids are around the same ages and hence I relate to a lot of this. Like the weekend scrubs and not running to school with items left behind. I also gave up the teaching sessions for the elder one since last year and it has actually helped make her more responsible. But as you said letting them be doesn't come naturally to Moms I feel. There's always that urge to be protective.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for dropping in Rekha! Yes very true that it doesn't come naturally to many of us, so good if the partner provides a balance :).

      Delete
  3. You are one evolved parent. Your daughter can negotiate public transport - that's amazing. I am letting the twins go short distances on their own provided there is no road-crossing involved. Long way to go yet. They can handle projects and submissions but exams are a whole different thing. I did try leaving them to it with pretty disastrous results for one of them. The other managed fine but he doesn't like it if I spend time only with the other. That kind of complicates things. I have a long way to go.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha don't know about evolved Tulika, some days are good and some days not so much ;). With twins, you have a whole different ballgame on your hands, so you have utmost respect from me. I wouldn't know where to begin!

      Delete
  4. Hey aparna, loved it and you have written it so well! As a mother to a 5 mnth old daughter, I am only beginning to understand the value of the calmer route and again all thanks to my spouse.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So good to hear from you here Munazza :). 5 months already, I'm sure it must be a lot of work but so much fun as well! Much love and hugs to you.

      Delete
  5. My elder son who is 14 had taken public buses since last year but not for longer distances. He is so scared of crossing the road in heavy traffic. As difficult as it is, we have to let go little by little though it leaves us feeling anything but calm. You are right, challenges evolve as they get older. You are doing a great job, Aparna. I don't know how we did so many things way more easily when we were their agree and how in heaven's name did our parents stay so calm.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Rachna :). In my case, it was a slightly over-protected childhood, so this is even more of a challenge! That's where the spouse's POV helps a lot!

      Delete
  6. I can totally relate to many lines listed in your blog Aparna. I recently finished a book How to raise an adult. Good pick hits your over parenting. Trying to follow many of the principles of that book .. my 12 year is comfortable taking public transport from school which includes changing 3 trains. They are learning and so am I..

    ReplyDelete
  7. I can totally relate to many lines listed in your blog Aparna. I recently finished a book How to raise an adult. Good pick hits your over parenting. Trying to follow many of the principles of that book .. my 12 year is comfortable taking public transport from school which includes changing 3 trains. They are learning and so am I..

    ReplyDelete