Let’s get this straight: no one, not even the ones who have written the greatest books on parenting, is a perfect parent. Your aim as a parent is to become a better human being than you already are and lay the foundation for an independent and righteous individual. Of course, these values won’t start showing till your little kid is a certain age, and has had phases like terrible two’s or spitting or bed-wetting. A perfect parent would do everything by-the-book, showing-off the kid as a trophy kid, ignoring the warning signs or gut instincts. A good parent, meanwhile, would aim at creating happy memories with the child and giving her/him a childhood to be cherished.
This leads us to the question: what makes for a good parent? Someone who is always asking the kid to behave in a certain way or a parent who looks at imparting values and ethics in a fun way? The answer is a no-brainer. Here are some pointers that can help you become a ‘fun’ and thus, a good parent.
Fun is foremost
Your kid simply wants to have fun. All the time. It will take a lot of your energy, but isn’t the sole aim of our life is to be happy? We seek it through meditation, music and whatnots. Give that happiness to your child. Tell them, and show them, how to have fun in any situation. If you are home, take few forks and start drumming away on steel bowls. If you are outside, run and roll in the grass.
Know when to stop
Discipling your kid is important, just as it is to be consistent. But do not press the child’s button, for they will retaliate by not listening the next time. Listen to them, believe in them. If the kid is not hungry, do not force them to eat just because it is time to eat. If they want to jump, let them. Stop them only when they can hurt themselves or someone else. Trust your gut instincts more than a routine-based schedule.
Even though we know we shouldn’t, we start comparing the milestones of our kid with other children in their playgroup or class. This only demotivates your child in the longer run. Let them make mistakes, let them learn, let them falter and learn from experience.
Focus on the positive
Parenting is the easiest thing to do, said no one. It takes more than conviction and patience to raise a child. Ignore the behaviour you do not want your kid to imbibe, and keep telling them about how to behave well. Read them books about it, even if they are too young to understand it. Repeated messaging will drive home the point.
Do things together
You mean the world to your kid, literally. Engage with them, and shower them with hugs and kisses. Do things with them. Get on the slide or see-saw with them, play with them. If your kid makes a strong bond with you in formative years, s/he is bound to share or turn to you when s/he needs advice or guidance.
Remember, parents are an essential support that a kid needs. So better be good!
Ananya is a Delhi-based working mother. The strategies listed here have been tested by her personally on her now five-year-old son.