How can a Parent do more for their child?
Created by Bhavna Updated on Jul 24, 2013
Most of us spend too much time on what is urgent and not enough time on what is important - Stephen Covey
My day starts at 6.00 in the morning and ends at 11.30 or sometimes 12.00 in the night. There are a million things that I have to do everyday in order to provide and be the best for my child. More often than not, there is one or other thing that gets missed out or overlooked and I end up disappointing my daughter and eventually my own self.
As Parents we are supposed to know everything, to be prepared all the time, to perform and deliver (yes, this is how I feel sometimes) and at the end of the day do the best that we can for our children. There are times that I feel there are not enough hours in a day to do all that I want for my princess, and I am sure most of us have thought the same, one time or other. Then a while back I decided it was time that I took a few minutes off and actually strategize on how I can do more for my child while I had the same number of hours available to do it.
Following are some of the facts and realizations that I came to in my process:
1.Being flexible and willing to adjust the Parenting style: I was so hung up on doing things the right way that somewhere along the way I forgot to have fun. I am a stickler for rules and my husband is a fairly chilled out parent. There was a day that I realized that he was the fun parent while I had slowly turned into a non-fun one. He was having a great time parenting while I was constantly stressed about one thing or another. That is the day that I decided to change my parenting style and look at the bigger picture. This meant that if my daughter took 20 extra minutes to finish her food, it meant that I had 20 extra minutes to clown around, laugh and cook up stories with her on the dining table. I wasn’t stressed about the little things anymore.
2.Knowing our own needs and limitations as a parent: There was a time that my Job profile included being a mum, a chef, a driver, caretaker, nanny, a wife, a designer, writer and the errand runner. I was spending so much time fulfilling all these obligations that I had no time to rest or take care of myself. This meant that I had overworked my back (this is the case with most mums) and was suffering from chronic back pain. The constant pain made me irritable and I definitely could not be there a 100 % for my daughter. Now I have learnt to prioritize which, does not leave me over worked and I am less irritable since the backache is non-existent.
3.Keeping the guilt factor at Bay: As parents we are driven by a couple of motivation factors but I have realized (after talking to a lot of fellow parents) the biggest driving forces in most of our lives is Guilt. Almost all of the other, or us, at one time have been engulfed by this very strong emotion and pushed ourselves to do more for our children. Over the years I have realized that if we just sat and explained the situation to our children it is much easier for both the child as well as the Parent. In order to be the best for our children it is imperative to know that once in a while one may have to tread the tough road and that will not be the end of the world.
4.Verbal Acknowledgement and Appreciation of oneself: As part of effective parenting, we appreciate and acknowledge our children, their successes and achievements. We live our dreams through our children and in the process forget who we are and what we do for them. We seldom stop and appreciate the efforts that we put in and give ourselves a pat on the back for a Job well done. It is very important to realize that we are doing the best that we can and acknowledge the great efforts that we are putting in, believe me it is an uplifting feeling.
5.Setting acceptable and achievable limits for Us: In the process of providing the best opportunities for our children we more often than not stretch ourselves thin across the day. It literally is a dash through out the day from one place to the other. I have seen parents start their day at the break of the dawn and push themselves through the various activities and commitments that need to be taken care of. Mostly and inevitably it leads to just getting through the day and not enjoying it at all. Setting achievable goals so one can enjoy the precious time spent with our children may just be more enjoyable and rewarding than stretching one too thin and not being able to appreciate the results.
6.Admitting and owning up to our mistakes: Life in the fast lane is not easy, it comes with constantly being on the move be it an extra class or a sports activity that the child needs to get to and then there are other worries like healthy food and safety. There is bound to be one time or other that a parent may slip and make a mistake. I remember one time, I was stressed about work and I ended up being impatient with my daughter. I knew she was just being her 6-year-old self and I had been wrong. I did not have an easy night but I apologized to her first thing in the morning and when she gave me that brilliant smile, I made a pact to myself, - “ I will not let my stress define my daughter’s day”.
I have slept better since then and have seen many more of those brilliant smiles form my princess.
7.Setting the expectation levels of our children right and sticking to it:
My daughter: Mum, “ can we eat pizza today?”.
Me: But baby food has already been made, maybe we can have pizza tomorrow.
My daughter: but I really wanted to eat a pizza today..(With a sad face)
Me: (Thinking, mulling, cant see my daughter sad, should I give in??)
This is a snippet of the conversation that I had with my daughter, though I wanted to give in to what she wanted (all I had to do was make one phone call and the pizza would have been delivered) yet I decided that I will try to get across to her. I reminded her that the junk food day was Saturday, since I had spent close to 45 minutes making dinner for everyone maybe, she could appreciate the good food that she was getting and we could have pizza the following night.
She smiled, that’s it… she smiled and hopped on to the dining table to eat her food. We all ended up stuffing ourselves with simple daal, chawal and sabji and we did it smiling.
8.Having positive thoughts and attitude: Someone a long ago told me, children are like sponges, and they are constantly absorbing information, attitude and vibrations from us. I think half our job in parenting is taken care of if we have positive thought and attitude. Once our children see the optimistic and progressive approach that we have towards life in totality it has a cascading effect and they in turn learn to be optimistic which in turn boosts their self-esteem.
9.Car Time: Car time is by far the most un-adulterated time that one could spend with their children. Going from one place to the other is when my daughter and I have lengthy discussions on various topics like, what’s new in school? Who is her current best friend and why? Sometimes we just simply sing songs or look for next cool car on the road. It was one of these car rides when she got chatty, I came to know that a boy from the bus had been bullying her and while she was traumatized, she did not disclose it to us simply because she wanted to handle it on her own.
These car rides have helped her understand the concepts of empathy, poverty, road sense, morality and most of all bonding.
10.Asking for help and support: In the times that we are today, it is extremely important to have a support system when it comes to Parenting. I myself live in a nuclear family with no extended family for support but I have managed to create my surrogate family, which includes close neighbors and friends. There was a time that I would not ask for help from anyone come what may, but slowly I realized it just was not working out. Once I embraced the reality and decided to be open and trusting I realized as parents we were able to do so much more for our child. Asking for help did not make me less of a parent, it just had better results and life was not so demanding all the time.
With these thoughts I urge my fellow parents to take a breath , stop and smell the roses, see the silver lining … be a Happy Parent to raise Happy Children.
I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions -Stephen Covey
| Jul 29, 2013
Thanks Bhavna, it's a beautiful article, I could relate so much to it, I wish to enjoy my 16 months old daughter's childhood to the core but feel guilty of not being able to do so because of my job... after reading this I want to ensure that whatever time I spend with her is worth it :-)
| Jul 30, 2013
Hi Bhavna, this is indeed straight from the heart and perhaps that is why so well received. I myself have struggled with following a particular parenting style but learnt over time, that we cannot be rigid in our approach in raising our children. These are individuals, real people , we are dealing with and no fixed approach can work. Also, ditto on the car time, we dont do it as often anymore, but after reading this wrte up, I will make more effort. Great, inspiring write up.. look forward to more from you.
| Nov 16, 2013
Hi Bhavna ! This article is really a eye-opener for me,coz even I keep on taking stress & going around for little, and in this all at times either I ignore my daughter or at time scold her for disturbing me in my daily chores. Thanks for the article and will try to become a fun parent !! thanks !!