All parents have a dream for their child. With our dream to turn our child into an exceptional or super being, we leave no stone unturned. And in the process, we forget that pushing our kids and ourselves harder and harder is not what parenting all about. We have misconstrued the whole idea of parenting. And that is why it gives us all the more reasons to take a break from parenting.
Wondering what is a break from parenting…well keep on reading. I am getting there…!!
Let’s take a break from pushing (and driving others mad)
A few days ago, I got a hysterical call from a very close friend.
“My daughter doesn’t read. I have bought her hundreds of books. Give me some tips so that I can make her read.”
I asked, “Does your daughter doesn’t read at all?”
“She does, but not as much as I’d like her to!” Now what kind of a reply was that!
“Listen, every child is different. If your child doesn’t like to read, you can’t force her. Or maybe you should stop pushing her and she would read more often,” I replied exasperated.
“But kids should read more, I am hearing this in all parenting groups.”
I rolled my eyes. Unfortunately, she couldn’t see me doing this.
This was not the first instance of pushy parenting I had come across. One of my friends took to reading books because she read somewhere that kids emulate what parents do. Yes, books are important and so is reading, but if your child doesn’t read it’s not the end of the world. Also, I don’t fully agree to – the child copies parents.
My parents neither read nor encouraged me to read. But I loved books since a very small age. My siblings didn’t. Till date, they cannot read books. Another friend of mine goes off to sleep after reading a couple of pages of a book and her son is a bookworm. So, your pushing your child or doing something you don’t enjoy is not helping anyone. In fact, it might turn your child against it.
I will tell you something interesting. A cousin of mine is very good at art and craft and she teaches craft professionally. Her son runs away from craft. He clarifies he sees enough of it every day at his house. It might be something to ponder.
Let’s take a break from feeling guilty
If you have grown up in 70s and 80s, you must have had Rasna. In fact, we didn’t have cola and fanta, but every Indian household had Rasna. We all loved Rasna – but what was Rasna actually? Artificial colours and sugar.
But we very conveniently forget this and obsess about our kids are eating healthy. Kids need nutrition and healthy food, but let’s not drive them and others up against the wall with our obsession. If your child is having fries at home, he will not turn obese overnight. Homemade food is the best, but a few sandwiches won’t hurt anyone. And that maggi and aerated drinks are OK once in a while.
If the child falls sick or doesn’t get good grades, it’s not because of you or because you didn’t try enough. Things happens and you can’t take blame for all of it.
Cut yourself some slack and stop feeling guilty.
Let’s take a break from fretting
Remember, how we used to get a remark in the school diary for forgetting the subject book or something that we had been instructed to get from home that day. What did we do? Nothing. We forgot about it as soon as our parents signed the remark.
So why do we fret today when our child forgets to take something to school? What’s the worst that can happen? The world in my experience doesn’t come to a standstill if your child has forgotten to take a book or the box of crayons to school. At the most, he will get a remark. Sign it. He will learn to be more responsible the next time.
Let’s avoid fretting about little things. Let’s stay calm. Our kids will manage.
Let’s take a break from obsessing
Should I enrol my child into ballet or squash? Did my child eat his tiffin in the school? He just sneezed, is he coming down with something? Does she have enough friends or toys to play with? He is playing all alone; maybe I should arrange a play date.
These are some of the thoughts that enter our mind everyday and torture us for quite some time. Just imagine how much head space we give to such obsessive thoughts. How about cleaning them away?
How about not obsessing about our child every second?
Let’s take a break from being friends
My daughter and her friend were playing at our home. I looked up from work to see them talking very softy. I asked, “What is it that you two are talking about?”
They said in unison, “It’s a secret.” And the girls smiled at each other knowingly. Once the friend left, I prodded my daughter to spill up the secret. She refused. “Mama, it’s a secret between me and my friend. I can’t tell you.”
Frankly, I was taken aback, but then on second thoughts, I realised she was not wrong. I am her mother, her guide, her mentor, her go-to person for every problem and trouble – but not her friend. And though I would like to stay on top of things, there will be something that I will not be privy of. She has her friends and I have mine.
We have family, but we still need friends. No parent can replace friendship and vice versa. So let’s keep relationships separate and not muddle them up.
As parents, it’s our duty to feed them well, provide shelter and good education, teach them values and guide them. However, let’s remember something important – that we are parents, but we are also individuals. How about we stop acting like parents all the time and let our true nature resurface from time to time.
These are different ways of taking a break from parenting:
- Let’s not worry about our children just because we are expected to. Instead let’s do what we feel is right for our child.
- Let’s not bend over backwards to raise our child. Just because someone said feed at least 3 fruits in a day, we can’t run after our kids.
- Let’s not play God. We are parents after all.
- Let’s not assert ourselves at all times. Kids are individuals with their own likes and dislikes. They can take their own decisions.
- Let’s raise them to be independent.
Let’s be fun parents and practise mindful parenting. Let’s live and let our kids live in peace. Let’s take a break from parenting every once in a while.