Children

14th November is celebrated as Children’s Day in India.  When I was a child myself, the day meant fun at school where teachers put up entertainment programmes for us. As I grew older, it was a day I wouldn’t put much thought into. Pfffft, I wasn’t a child anymore, was I? And then, how time sprints, especially when you are not looking.

I was now a mother to a beautiful girl. Over the years, 14th November was merely a ‘coloured dress code’ day in her school. Slowly, she began choosing what dress she’d like to wear. As we kept adding the years, her opinions became more vocal, and I became more hyper.  It’s a different ball game altogether when you are faced with your split image, in a smaller package though.

Yes, parenting is perhaps one of the oldest professions in the world. I call it a ‘job without pay but great perks’. That is on the good days. The bad days, (oh yes, they exist), I simply scream my head off at anything that moves, breathes or dares to speak. The twos and threes are nothing compared to the tweens. Suddenly, everything you know is ‘so last season’. Don’t ask me when I attended a fashion week, but yes, I admit to relying on Google. How else will I be up to date with the latest acronyms?

It’s funny how care, concern and worry disguise themselves as the hands of the clock. She felt I was strict, I thought she was stubborn, and we were at loggerheads. And then, the statement that has been passed on like a precious family heirloom, from one generation parent to another, rang loud and clear – “You will understand when you have children of your own”. I was beginning to understand why my mother needed to know, at all times, where I was, and how I was doing. Not that I will ever admit it to her, but I had crossed over to the moms section.

But, then again, I had the princess as my mentor. Even as I understood this, I learned a few other things, too. And, as a modern-day parent, I set up my own commandments to adhere to. All this, by trial and error. Who knows, in a few years I might add a few more to this list. But what I can tell you for now is this – Being a parent does not equate being in charge of a battleship. So, breathe, and go easy on yourself. This is not a competition, for no one has a ‘contestant’ quite like yours.

  1. Thou shall listen to their thoughts, dreams and words. Let them know you are there. And that you care enough to pay attention
  2. Thou shall not compare them to anyone else. Be it a friend or family. Know that every child is his own person.
  3. Thou shall let them be in the present moment. Every waking hour need not be scheduled. Doing nothing can be fun.
  4. Thou shall not keep scores of their shortcomings or failures. Encourage them to do better, not by belittling them, though.
  5. Thou shall let them dream their own dreams. Don’t burden their shoulders with your aspirations. Give them a chance.
  6. Thou shall let them fall. How else will they learn? Know the difference between protecting and over-doing it.
  7. Thou shall believe in them even when they have no witness. Teach them to trust you by trusting in them.
  8. Thou shall not misuse the power of being older. Just because you can, don’t be a bully. Respect is earned not demanded.
  9. Thou shall learn to apologize. If you make a mistake, say sorry. Chances are you will heal the hurt for life.
  10. Thou shall learn to let go, no matter how hard it is. This is their life. You were merely the medium.

To be a parent is a blessing. Being a perfect parent is overrated. And since everyone else is already taken, just be – YOU.

Happy Children’s Day……for life!

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