By Geeta Ramakrishnan
Being a perfect parent is a myth, yet it remains a constant endeavour. To begin with, the decision to be a parent entails huge responsibilities. As prospective parents, you need to give a serious thought to the time, financial, physical and emotional commitment. Yet, sometimes, too much thought, ifs and buts, wondering whether one is capable, if one can afford something, does not work either. The joy of parenthood is something that cannot be explained but needs to be experienced. You can never be prepared enough when your bundle of joy arrives and turns your world upside down. I believe children are a gift from God, as Khalil Gibran penned in these beautiful words:
Your children are not your children
They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.
As parents and especially with young children, you need to be high energy super-parents. You have to multitask, and be there for them and somehow magically manage your work, find time for yourself, your relationship and your social life. Young children depend on you for their physical needs and emotional support. It is worth investing to get a perfect time management routine in place, with both parents chipping in.
In spite of this juggling, often parents need some help and support. Enrolling grandparents and friends or outsourcing help is often a win-win formula. It can give you some free time for each other, to gather your sometimes chaotic and fast-paced life. This allows you to be fully available as parents, where you are more fun to be with rather than feeling stressed and angry.
When you are with your children, give them your 100 per cent attention. By attending office calls during family time, you are unconsciously sending the message that they are less important to you, while ironically working for your family. The best parts of your childhood are not those expensive gifts your parents gave you, but the time you spent together, the times you laughed and played together. Wouldn’t you want to give the same to your children?
If your life is more organised and disciplined, your children learn by example. Co-create the rules and boundaries together, enrolling the children in the process. Define the consequences of breaking the rules. It need not be severe. Missing weekends out or having to wash the dishes perhaps. And follow through with it. Playing board games or doing a barbeque together are great family bonding exercises.
Your children learn from you. Empower them with good values like mutual respect and empathy. Teach them through example by living it yourself. Engage them in social discussions and increasing their awareness. Allow them to make their mistakes and learn from it, nurturing them into mature young adults ready to transform a better tomorrow, a better world.
(The writer is author of The Game of Change.)
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