Author: Sumita Shah
Parenting is an art which needs to be practised, it is a skill which necessarily needs to be developed, it is a quality which needs to be inherently evolved!! Gone are the days when you hear statements like “Bachche toh apne aap bade ho jaate hain”. Our children being millennial are well informed, possess a decent exposure and most importantly don’t take a NO for a NO. An explanation is demanded and expected for everything we tell them as a parent. Parenting is a complicated process that needs to be meticulous in bringing up our kids and making life a pleasant journey for parents and kids both.
Communication is the most important key:
Talk to them about everything going on in your life and in theirs right from their childhood according to their level of understanding at each stage. We as parents tend to feel that children don’t possess intelligence but you would be surprised to know how smart they are. Talking to them, even asking for their opinion at times, sharing your feelings with them, giving your opinion to them makes them feel involved and important.
Be a friend to them
Communication can make this happen. Our generations always feared our parents and never had the courage to question them but our kids should not fear us. If at all they do, they will begin to hide about themselves and that is a dangerous zone. To make them comfortable to speak, they should take you as a friend first and then a parent. In fact a mature friend should be your second name as a parent. Explain and discuss the vagaries of the growing up process and how to deal with them.
Accept their dreams may not be your dreams
As a mom, we want to see them utilize their gifts to achieve the highest results. What I’ve learned is sometimes the dream I have for them may not help them grow in the same ways the dreams they have will. The biggest relationship builder is supporting their dreams and offering your guidance when asked.
Do not make assumptions
In this world where we are so connected with social media, it is easy to see a post on Snapchat or Facebook or Instagram and start dreaming up assumptions as to what may or may not be going on in their life. If they are constantly at the bar or always alone you can really start to create some not so pretty scenarios and, if I’m being honest, some big judgments. Scheduling one on one time together will give you the assurance you need as to their current state of mind.
Get on their level
Since we are talking about social media, it is their generation’s way of communicating. Even if you are not into Snaphat, Instagram or one of million other platforms, taking the initiative to communicate in the way they are comfortable can really help you feel some connection. Do not keep nudging them about their virtual behaviour. They have the easy option of blocking you!!
Support without coddling
What do I mean? Well, they are going to run into so many challenges from broken hearts to struggles in the workplace, to hard life lessons. Let them face the consequences of their own life. Drawing the line between supporting and guiding them as they work out a plan versus trying to take over and fix it all is so skinny. If it is a financial situation it can become even stickier. Very Importantly, just because you can bail them out doesn’t always mean you should.
Trust them to make good decisions
You have spent years instilling your values and beliefs in them. Now, you need to sit back and trust they know how to make good decisions. I worried far too much about my children repeating my mistakes. My mom is always quick to remind me they are not me. They have their own brains and they know right from wrong and if they find themselves choosing the wrong path see number 6!
Have your own life
Believe me, there is nothing lonelier than sitting around waiting for one of your adult children to want to hang out with you. I am still interesting and FUN! There are still so many things I love doing that define me and it is also just an amazing time to remember all the things you enjoy. Giving your child a guilt trip for declining your invitation to hang out will do more to drive them away instead of drawing them closer.
Put yourself in their shoes
Empathy is important. If you take a step back to your young adulthood you will probably remember as much as you may have loved your family they were not your top choice for social time. Depending on where they are on their journey they may need to spend time with friends, nurturing their own new family or they may be enjoying the social perks of being single. Try to see their current journey through their eyes instead of your own.
Pray for them
And for God to continue to give you the wisdom and words to support them. When they do ask for your advice and guidance you have to be willing to accept if they do not take it. Whether it’s a boyfriend or girlfriend you feel is not a healthy match or a career change that is risky, at the end of the day it is still their life. Accept they have the right to live it and then you pray. You may pray the truth is revealed to them or pray the right people are put in their path but think deeply about your prayer and be sure you are offering it for their best interest and not your own.
Sumita Shah is a MBA graduate & a corporate trainer by passion and a director by profession. She works for Tapti kids — a chain of preschools by Tapti valley education foundation. A people’s person, she always looks forward to each moment in life with excitement and enthusiasm. Live and let live is her mantra and always will be !!