“My son: Mum, can you tell me when you actually ever talked to me?” Me: what do you mean talk? Son:” I mean apart from telling me to eat and study, do you think we talk?”
Have you ever felt disappointed and angry that your child did not fare well as you had wanted him to? And blamed him for ‘failing’ and maybe yourself too? Most parents forget that by helping a child all the time and planning each hour of his day is likely to make him a self-entitled adult, who may not be able to cope with life’s problems, take tough decisions, or manage stress.
Parents today walk a tight rope between our children and careers. If we miss work, we think, overtime will make for it. But if we miss on our child’s PTI or annual concert, then overtime never really helps and the consequent guilt lasts forever. This makes me wonder: are we not pushing the parental pedal too hard? When I say we, I refer to a new breed of hyper-parents, who want to have it all.
Who are these new age parents you may ask? The new age parents expect the best- be it the child’s behaviour or performance. This is because society expects them to excel. This forces parents to emphasise more on short term goals than long term goals, which improve the confidence of a child. We forget that excess involvement in our child’s life can impede emotional and mental growth of the kid.
Can we not admit that at some point of time we are overdoing our jobs as parents? Although well intended, we don’t realize when to stop the urge to parent in order to secure their lives. We all want the best for our children but it is time that we should just let go.
I was a new parent and that too in an alien country like Russia and bitter weather to beat. Managing everything on my own and single parenting most of the time, I have learnt parenting the harder way. The bond that I have now developed with my son, is something that I am proud of. I have realised during my stay in Russia, when I was single-handedly managing my new born and adjusting to the weather that anything you give your heart and soul to, be it parenting or your job, you are bound to be happy with the outcome.
From a full-time lifestyle journalist, I became the master cleaner of poop and puke. There were days when being a mother used to give me those euphoric feelings, and it was followed by those sinking moments. The day he was born, I knew I am going to be the slave of this bubble blowing pink ball. Those were the days when he used to influence every decision of my life, and I don’t think much has changed even today. Freedom, self-indulgence and career took a back seat, and I became an expert in baby babble. I won’t say that I am not enjoying motherhood, but it has its own ups and down, and one should be prepared for it before taking the plunge.
Many parents today feel that being a parent is like a full-time job. We have been programmed to believe that that the ticket for their kid’s success is in their hands. In fact, the preparation to bring up the perfect child starts even before they are born. Parents are turning their kids into mini robots and scheduled slaves.
I believe that over parenting reflects in the parent’s desire to manage every single decision of their child, and not giving scope for them to decide what they like or what they dislike. As parents, we all have our high days and low days, times when we are proud of our parenting, and again times when we are totally embarrassed about the way we have brought up our kids.
There was a time when I used to make my son participate in each and every competition, that took place in school starting from fancy dress, to painting, elocution, and even stressing on academic-based functions like Math-o-fun and Spell-O-fun. Although my son was always interested in sports, we wanted him to paint and also play the piano. We never realized that there is no fun left in the competitions, if a child is pushed to participate in every single thing. I didn’t even bother to ask if he was happy doing it. I thought he was too young and I wanted him to be an all-rounder in everything. Today I regret about the fact that I had pushed him too hard to do things which he didn’t really enjoy.
Parents should take care of themselves as they say you cannot pour from an empty cup. I learnt this the hard way, when I was diagnosed with life-threatening disease called sepsis. The doctors had to say that my body was giving signals, but probably I was not paying attention to it, because I was so busy doing my duties in the perfect possible way. Being an urban working mom, whose husband is not around most of the time during his growing up years of the child, is not easy task. I learnt a lesson that I need to be fit first to take care of my kid.
To all the parents out there, I want to convey that while parents’ love for their kids is undeniable, we as parents should not be over ambitious. Wanting them to do well is not wrong, but remember your child is not your possession! If you nag over every small thing of your child and want everything for them and by them to be done to perfection, then that is a sign of hyper-parenting. So, let’s solve the riddle of parenting together!
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