Parents need to grow up too

REVERSE PARENTING

Parents need to grow up too

Parents often assume that they are older, smarter, and more mature. Nothing could be more farther from the truth. Children have their way of making parents grow up, observes Mary Chelladurai.

A young father was shopping in a big food market along with his six-year old charming bright-eyed daughter. He looks at the long list and balefully curses his wife, who he thought didn’t care for him, because even after a heavy week at office, she made him do more even on a Saturday.

Meanwhile, the little girl runs excitedly in the store and eventually looses sight of her father.

Suddenly she shouts, ‘Daddy!’

The father hears her cry and rudely replies a monosyllabic ‘Here!’

The little girl, with her adorable long curls, and a smiling face, rushes into her father’s arms.

But he tries to release himself from her loving embrace, grumbling “Look at your mother! She wants me to do this and spend my only free day standing at this long queue!”

The girl, unmindful of her father’s disgruntled outburst, smiles, “Okay, Daddy. Can I buy some candies?”

Her father snorts, “No! Just stay quiet. You get nothing! Behave yourself!”

The little girl, disappointment writ large on her face, does not retort, but keeps pace with her father, kissing his big hand - the touch of a soft unbeaten heart.

The father slowly lifts her, kissing her curls and asks her to pick candies and icecream as well.

This little child has just taught the father a lesson in natural parenting, with her gentle kiss to soothe and calm him. Many times, children teach us to grow up. One gesture of the little girl changed the father’s feelings of annoyance, fatigue, and anger with the chores he was performing. The little girl reminded her father of the deep love and adoration he had for his daughter. Sometimes, that is all it takes to calm anyone. Often, as parents, we need someone to soothe us. Children invariably are happy to take on this role just to see a smile on our otherwise disgruntled face.

A space to vent it out

In another situation, a mother of a seven-year objected to her son yelling at her. In response, he replied, “if I can’t get mad at home, where else can I do it?” This response seems very reasonable. We all need a place where we can blow our tops once in awhile. A strong, resilient parent is the best bet and the best safety valve. Parents, think about this and let us learn to be happy human beings and allow this space for our spouses, family and friends .

All the beautiful things

Our children teach us to enjoy the small things in life. A child with a sparkle in its eyes looks at a butterfly and smiles. As a response we smile too. An eagle flapping its wings and flying never ceases to amaze a child. All the small wonders around us have lost their shine as we are bogged down with life. Let us pause for a while, appreciate these beautiful wonders around us and learn from our little children to live in the beauty and wonder of things around us.

Being authentic

We adults are pretentious and hide our feelings. For instance we put-up with a lot of things we can change, we do not want to look hurt even if someone close passes an unruly remark. A friend of mine in a social gathering, passed a rude remark to another friend, “Your child looks under-fed and you look over-fed!” The young mother almost had tears in her eyes and just stomached this and all through the evening looked glum and went away without even having a bite of the delicious spread. Children on the other hand are simple and open. A five year old kid may tease a six year old saying, “Look at you! You’re fat!” But never would the kid make a twisted, sly, and nasty remark unlike some adults. Children teach parents to be authentic.

Being patient

Little children help us understand the need to be “patient.” An old saying goes, “To tame an angry man and an woman, get them married and let them have offspring!”. Patience and parenting are closely linked. A child’s different milestones guage our patience. For example, an aggressive child walking on the roads of tantrums helps us to patiently reason with the child. The yelling and crying of the child make us wait, hold, and caress rather than retort.

Being polite

Often, we preach our kids to say “please”, “sorry”, and “thank you”. But when was the last time we thanked our spouse for a great meal? I heard a five-year old telling his dad, “Say thank you to Mama. She made this sweet halwa!”. We so take our loved ones for granted that we forget to be affectionate, loving, or even polite! Children remind us to be good.

Never to hold grudges

While playing, kids may suddenly break into a fight. Amazingly and with the same momentum, they resolve the issue, forget what happened and continue to play blissfully. When we parents reprimand our children, they may weep for a short while. Very soon, they will begin to smile and are ready to start afresh. Little children teach us to move on without any remorse or regret.

Importance of listening

As children grow, they want parents to listen more than talk and lecture. This is one of the most essential aspects of parenting. Here is an instance of a child being reprimanded by his father. Under his father’s relentless thundering, “Why did you hit the other kid!”, the little boy goes on pleading, “Papa, listen to me! If you don’t listen to me, how will you know why I hit him? I hit him because he hit me first!” Finally, the father had to hear his son out.

Love for our spouse

Children grow with great security when they see their parents in love. Even if there is a small tiff between the parents the kids may feel a little hassled. So, as parents, we tend to treat our spouses better. Also, many a times, our kids look at our spouses in an altogether different light, helping us to see them in a better and more positive light. Children are certainly one of the major binding factors for a happy marriage.

Every now and then, parents call for some reverse parenting. Surely, children are more than happy to do that!
 

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