Saturday, November 29, 2014

Parenting - a balancing act

Today morning, the second last day of November, was a cold and frosty morning. Dressed in warm clothing and supplemented by a warm cap, I went to drop my daughter to school. She did not want to wear any coat saying that she does not get cold in school. I tried to persuade her to carry a coat but despite my attempts she flatly declined to take anything with her.

And there lies a dilemma that I sometimes encounter. Where do I draw the line in parenting? I know she should dress warmly, and that prevention is better than cure. But if she does not want to do so, despite knowing the advantages and disadvantages, shouldn’t she have the final say for herself?
Parenting, I have realized, is a balancing act.
We need to try and ensure that we protect our child and take care of them. On the other hand we also need for them to be able to experiment with life, to face challenges and to grow from them. If we always impose our will on them, where is the scope for them to grow and learn?

When my daughter was about 10 months old, she attempted to walk. Wobbly and uncertain, she took little steps – and I was there constantly trying to move aside anything that may hurt her. I watched her walk, laughed as her little steps reached the destination. I watched – with my heart in my mouth - as she fell, time and again – and each time she would get up and try again. And she would eventually succeed.

And what joy there was for us all.

We cannot walk for our children but we try and create a safe environment for them to learn, for them to make mistakes and to fall till they succeed eventually.
It has been said that “It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings.”

And an important learning, for me, is that it is necessary for children to learn through their own experiences. Let them sometimes face some difficulties and challenges. Let us not always try and ascertain what is right and wrong for them. For it is through challenging experiences, that they most often learn the bigger lessons of life.
My little girl returned from school today. It was cold, she said. Henceforth she would wear her coat to school.

Sometimes they only just need to experience the cold themselves.

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