When it comes to parenting, there is no one standard stead and fast rule. Every family and every parent have their own ways. One way that is used on a child may not work on another child in different family or different region BUT there is one thing which is common when it comes to what kind of person the child would be when he/she has grown up. What is that? Well, keep reading.
No parents despise their children. No parents want their children to face the difficulties they faced, if any, during their childhood. All parents want their children to have the best in their children’s lives no matter what happened. All parents take their children as prince and princess who must have all in their lives. But the question is NOT in “What to give?” but “How to give them the best?”
I am not a parenting expert and I definitely have not had a hands-on experience in parenting, but I do observe my environment, I do meet people; and sooner or later, in the back of our minds, we “judge” these people and in that judgment, the way those people were raised would be included in it.
How many of us feel that we would not let even one single scratch come to our babies on the very first moment we hold our babies in our arms? I would surely have the same concept the moment I hold mine.
How many of us indulge our children in luxury and give ALL that our children ask because we are financially strong enough to fulfill that request-cum-demand?
Well, let me give one simple clearance. A man and a woman get married, they make babies and they raise those babies until they become adults. THAT is ALL, folks that we could do to our children. We could not put them in a cage so that they do not get any scratch. We could not put them inside the house for eternity so that they do not meet others and fall in love and be hurt. We could not put them inside the four walls so that they do not learn how to survive when the parents are gone. ALL that human beings could do is just MAKE babies AND RAISE them. The rest would be on lie on the fate of the children. Making babies are easy as long as a woman has good ovum, strong womb, and a man has good sperm, but how about raising them?
Raising a child involves all contexts from physical condition, biological needs, spiritual health, psychological health, moral existence, empathetic and sympathetic abilities, and conducive environment for a stable intellectual development. Raising a child is NOT about:
- Buying them all they want (trust me, if you keep fulfilling this, soon it will be a demand where they would cry and rebel and attack you back when you do not get it for them);
- Letting them study in the most expensive and most popular school in town without really knowing whether those schools are educating the children properly or not;
- Letting your children travel in your private car all the time;
- Buying your children a car once they come of age;
- Letting them eat all the so called nice food which is full of sugar, preservatives, fat, salt, and God knows what all other material;
- Giving your children all the branded clothes and gadgets without teaching them to give away some of the clothes when they are no longer used.
My answer would be “Are you sure that you LOVE your children that much, that you are ready to sacrifice their independence to lead a life where they would actually understand how to survive, how to lead a decent social life after you are gone? Are you sure that you would be there for your children FOREVER to provide them? Never give fish. Give a hook and teach them how to catch one”.
Our children would not be in our comfortable, warm, and mosquito-net covered cribs forever. Humans are bound to social interaction. How to lead a successful life in social context cannot be taught by showering your children with luxury and over-protection.
I remember when thatha once handled my youngest cousin. He was very young, maybe 1.5 years or 2 years old and we got power cut that night so we lighted candles. My young cousin was curious about that light and he approached one candle when my aunt (his mother) screams in horror of him touching the candle fire. Thatha calmed her down and said “I am here, nothing bad would happen. Let him know that it is hot, so that next time when you were not around, he won’t fool around with fire anymore”. With that, thatha stood behind him and let him approach the candle. My young cousin tentatively neared his finger on the flickering candle and when he touched the flame, he retract his hand quickly and said “sussshhhh” and thatha told him “It is hot; so next time, do not touch it, okay?” with a mix of body language to make him understand and he nodded with a smile.
The point of why I am telling that anecdote is to give a clear understanding that keeping your children in the dark by not letting them be exposed to the real outside world would not shape them into a real human being. They would be just a living thing without any single comprehension about what they are facing on this earth. All they would know is your protection and NO adventure of THEIR OWN.
Let them fall but do not lift them up, teach them how to get up.
Tell them to study but do not ask them to get the first rank, teach them to love the lesson and develop curiosity out of it. They are stressed up enough with the so many lessons to learn at school, do not put more pressure on them to get a first rank.
Give them healthy food which may not be very delicious for them, and explain them how their body would love that food so much that they would stay healthy and able to play without any problems. I am sure they would agree when you mentioned the word "play".
As a parent, you may have faced difficulties in your life before you finally settled down with a stable life. Let your children know about that. Do not cover them from it and give them the luxury, just because you do not want your children to face what you faced.
Let your children know how to ride on a bus instead of providing them a car with a driver so that they know that NOT all children in this world are like them who has all the fulfilled needs. They would observe the difference of life-style in the end, and respect those differences instead of mocking those who do not come in private cars.
Let your children help you do the dishes so that they know the responsibility of house chores.
Let your children help you fix the bike or other stuff so that they would not be a cry baby who demand everything to be perfect and functioning smoothly all the time.
Bring your children to orphanage centers and let them see you give away their unused clothes, food items, stationery or toys for those children who are not as fortunate as yours who still have parents. By doing this, you create a real environment surround the children. You bring them to a real world instead of keeping them safe inside without knowing what is going on outside. It helps them in understanding that not all things come easily to all people, it helps them to respect what they have and respect what others have, and it helps them in understanding what care and love actually mean.
Now maybe you ask, “Is there any differentiate in raising a baby girl and a baby boy?” Well, my answer would be “NO”. You may think raising a boy is easier than a girl. You may think having a boy would be more beneficial for you in the future rather than having a girl. Well, gender is not what makes a human a human. What make a human are his/her choices - The choices to lead the life - The choice to fulfill his/her responsibility of being a part of this world. Many men out there are leading decent gentlemen lives while the women are leading lives without dignity. At the same time, many men out there are behaving like chickens without charisma while the women are fighting for their lives bravely like bulls. Why? The answer is “The choices they made”.
Like Anne Frank ever said once "Parents can only give good advice or put them on the right paths, but the final forming of a person's character lies in their own hands."
As parents, it is your job to guide them in making good choices, BUT it is definitely not your job in making the choices for them. As parents, it is not your job to decide their fates and destiny. As parents, all you could do are provide them with proper methods, proper mind-set, proper decency, and proper strength; encourage them to be brave to make decision which they believe in their hearts; teach them how to get up when they fall in their lives by teaching them to have faith accompanied with efforts; teach them the value of money so that they do not spend unwisely on unnecessary things; hence, once you are gone, they would not be stray people without methods and moral to survive.
Human beings are social beings but the capacity to survive in a decent manner is a matter of individual. We live in a social life with other people, but we do not cling on them. No one wants to be clung on other than parents. How long would parents be there? To which extent could they be clung on? Sooner or later, we would face the world outside the fence.
Life only happen once, do not make your children regret one day when you are gone that they have not done anything they wished just because you suffocated them with your restrictions and threats that the outside social life is dangerous or that the outside world is 100% perfect because nothing is so perfect and nothing is so dangerous. Do not make them regret by making them feel that they have not actually lived their lives as per their choices. Let them make choices, if they fall, be there to guide them to get up.
We may not be able to live without other people around us, but to live among those people as an individual, we must have our integrity. Teach your children to have that integrity. Teach them to be able to stand out instead of standing behind your shades all the time. Let them face their monsters just the way you faced yours. You did not turn out so bad anyway, did you?