Parenting – the ultimate challenge

Parenting doesn’t come with a ‘how to-’ guideline, giving you a chance to create your own struggle stories, fun stories, blunder stories that you will be sharing with your family on some weekend dinners! This article here will help you with your learn-as-you go process of parenting.

Gujarati Kahevato

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I believe most parents will agree with me that parenting is the ultimate challenge that they have faced in life.

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As I look back at my life, challenges have been part of my life, just like in the case of a common man. The challenges I faced at different stages of life seemed the ultimate one at that particular moment. Tying shoelaces was just so impossible! Reciting that poem and singing it facing the class! Completing the journal before submission date! Completing the curriculum before examination date!

Getting into that college and that course! Finding the first job, completing that first individual assignment without botching it up! They all seemed to be the most difficult and critical. How desperate I felt while these situations adamantly kept me on my toes! I felt so incomplete and at times they made me raise questions against my own worth! But these all had a definite end. They came, they kept me occupied and they ceased to be important. However, parenting is something that is going to stay with me for the entire life. It brought joy, hope, new goals, new worries and a whole new way to look at life!

Parenting, an ever-dynamic part of a common person’s life keeps him/her guessing all the time as to whether he/she is on the right track or is missing something very important.

Honestly, I don’t think I am ready for any further challenges after experiencing the challenge of parenting. Or rather, I feel nothing in life seems challenging after facing this challenge. To add to it this challenge doesn’t come with an end. That is why I call it the ultimate challenge! It keeps mutating itself. Sounds familiar? Yes, here also being strong from inside and taking precautions are the only options available.

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I envy the parents of that young child in a movie. The child grows up so quickly. No tantrums, no clashes during personality development phase… The child grows into a young person (mostly a very good personality, strong inside, healthy and having good values). The entire process gets covered in a couple of scenes… a few minutes. But that is how movies work, that is how life does not work.

Let us touch upon some common doubts or questions most parents confront themselves with every now and then. I think many parents who started reading this article had some kind of doubts and were looking for a solution. But I am afraid there is none.

Which is the right way/style/approach to parenting?

Instinctive… Authoritative… Helicopter… Authoritarian…?

The right way or approach is as elusive as the COMPLETE MAN or IDEAL MACHINE. The fact is, the best way is to modify the approach based on conditions. No approach is the best one or the worst one. Different styles work in different situations and at different ages. So, don’t be self-critical of your approach. Being consistent is a good thing in general, but expecting it to work all the time is like expecting your good handwriting helping you get some marks in a math exam. If you don’t get the answer right, it is zero!

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He/she is so different from what I was as a child.

Personality is – Heredity, Environment and its Synergy. (Synergy concept – the whole is greater than the sum of its parts)

You can’t change the heredity; you have very little control over the environment. Your Synergies are different. You two are different. You are incomparable.

I don’t know why he doesn’t listen to me (anymore…)

The first year we desperately want the child to learn to talk and walk, and then we want him/her to sit at one place and keep quiet. Every parent goes through ‘My daddy is my hero/my mom is a super-mom’ to ‘my parents are just unbearable’ cycle.

Parents, from times immemorial have been ‘guilty’ of enforcing their children with their own unfulfilled dreams and desires. Like, ‘I could not become a doctor, but now I will live that dream through my child.’ We can blame this on the evolution process. Mankind always wanted the next generation to achieve, conquer, and overcome challenges he could not. Like taming that beast and domesticating it, or growing that crop and conquering that hill. But sooner you come out of this delusion, better for you and the child and the world. This generation doesn’t like to listen to what you missed out in your life, rightly so.

Some tips which are not unique and as common as hand sanitisers these days,

But they are very important to follow sincerely and consistently:

– Don’t preach. Just practice. Children are not good listeners but are very good observers.

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– Your child is not supposed to finish your incomplete businesses or dreams.

– Introduce him/her to basic life-skills and then let him/her choose where to go ahead.

– If you want him/her NOT to do something particular, you must provide something better as an alternative.

– Don’t judge yourself as a parent; don’t judge your child as a child as well.

– Don’t compare yourself with other parents; also don’t compare your child with any other child.

– His/her success may give you happiness, but it is not your success. Same applies for failure also.

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Gujarati Kahevato

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