Families were once taken for granted. Not any more. Family bonding is important and now calls for a conscious effort to make it harmonious
PARENTING TIPS FROM A SON
Parenting from a child's perspective can be a real eye-opener, discovers Vikas Malkani The other night, as I slept, the thought that all first-time parents are at best experimenting with the fine art of parenting—without any guaranteed results—stayed with me.
In my dreams, my first-born son, Vinay played with me. Behind my apparent joy and a genuine smile he sensed a deep uncertainty.
"What are you thinking, Papa?" he asked and stopped playing.
"Just the fact that I'll never really know if the way I'm bringing you up is the right way or not," I smiled, amazed at how he had read my thoughts.
"Don't worry, Papa. You'll do fine. I promise."
"How can you promise that I'll do fine?" "Because we all do, in the end. Don't we?" His eyes had a mischievous, knowing look. "But what do I do now?" I asked.
"Just follow your instincts. Oh, and do the best you can do, with whatever you have," he smiled.
Words of wisdom from the mouths of kids have always amazed me. And I was completely awed now.
"It's that simple, is it?"
"Yes, just as simple as we want it to be.
But to help you along the way in handling me well and proper, let me give you a few pointers. Okay?"
"I'm listening," I said, enthralled.
And so began my first lesson in parenting—imparted by my own kid!
"Dad," he began…
• First of all, don't spoil me. I know quite well that I ought not to have all I ask you for. Most of the times, I'm only testing you.
• Don't let me form bad habits in my childhood, no matter how much I rebel. I have to rely on you to detect them in the early stages.
• Don't be afraid to be firm with me. I actually prefer it because it makes me feel secure about you.
• Don't correct me in front of others if you can help it. I'll take it much easier and give it a lot more attention if you talk with me quietly, and in private.
• Please don't make me feel smaller than I am. It only makes me behave and act stupidly 'big'.
• Don't take too much notice of my minor ailments. Sometimes they help to get me the attention I so much need.
• Don't put me off when I ask questions. If you do, you will find that I stop asking and seek my information elsewhere.
• Don't make me feel that my mistakes are sins. It upsets my balance, and my sense of values.
• Don't be inconsistent. That completely confuses me and makes me lose faith in you.
• Don't tell me that my fears are silly. For me, they are terribly real, and you can do much to reassure me if you try to understand.
• Don't nag. If you do, I'll have to protect myself by seeming deaf.
• Don't be too upset when I say 'I hate you'. Sometimes, in fact most times, it isn't you I hate but your power to thwart me.
• Don't protect me too much from the consequences. I need to learn the painful way sometimes.
• Don't ever think that it is beneath your dignity to apologize to me. An honest apology makes me feel amazingly close to you.
• Don't ever suggest that you are perfect or infallible. It will give me too great a shock when I discover, as I will, that you are neither.
• Don't forget that I can't thrive without lots of love and understanding. This is one thing you must never forget, even if you forget all else."
Looking into my eyes with a mischievous smile, Vinay said, "How's that for starters, Papa?"
"Unbelievable!" I replied. "But you mean there's more?"
"There's always more. But you will figure it out as you go along. So don't worry about it too much. Okay, Dad?"
When words of wisdom with so much depth come your way from such an unexpected and innocent source, what does one do? Or say?
"Yeah, sure," I nodded in agreement, as I reached out to hug him.
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