HYDERABAD: As we continue the discussion and the ways for more effective parenting, I would like to share a beautiful true life story. A successful scientist was once asked the reason behind his success and he responded that the credit of his success goes to his parents who cultivated the scientific aptitude in him and he especially shared an incident as a child.
As a child he went to pick up a bottle of milk from the fridge but dropped the bottle and spilled the milk all over the floor. Usually in such a scenario a mother will yell; however his mother approached it in a very different way. She asked him what he could have done to avoid dropping the bottle. After several trial and errors the kid realised that it is appropriate him to hold the bottle by the trunk rather than the top for better grip.
This also made him find 20 other ways in which he should not to hold the bottle.
Then his mother told him that they should make the most of the spilt milk by playing with it. (Another unusual reactionfrom a mother). They played in the milk and shared some good laughs.
The kid learnt a lesson that said there will be messy instances in life, that we can’t avoid all the time. So when it does happen, you could sit back and enjoy it. And that gave him a wonderful ability to accept gracefully not so very successful moments in his life.
After all this playing his mother invited him to clean the floor with her. Another learning for him was at the end of the day, we only need to clear the mess we have created.
The three profound lessons of life in such a simple activity got embedded in him for the rest of his life.
I also often encourage parents to be aware of their own interactions.
A child is a sponge who absorbs everything around him/her. One very common societal influence on a male child is, don’t cry or behave like a girl or you are a boy you shouldn’t behave like a girl or you need to look after your sister and so on.
In the very upbringing we end up creating a strong differentiation in a child’s mind about one gender being superior or powerful to other. Somewhere in this process we end up having the men of future who considers women inferior, weak, to be protected, emotional and the sense of equality amongst the gender gets dissipated. This is the very fundamental reason of so many atrocities, disrespect and exploitation of women.
The other often used statement in our upbringing is when a child asks something our immediate response as adults is, you won’t understand or don’t interfere you are too young. This makes the mind of a child take information as him/her being unwanted or lack of intelligence or not valued. This often leads to children wearing the shoes of adults, copying or mimicking their habits.
A better way could be to ask a child about what they feel or understand from a situation rather than curbing them. And the situations which you feel will give your child too much of information at his/her age those should be avoided from your child’s exposure which also includes uncontrolled access to television and other media.
Also, covering up an already exposed situation would make a child’s mind fantasise and may excite a child to discover the truth which is often through secret channels! Best way would be to explain a situation which your child is exposed with truth in a gentler story form than covering up with facts.
If we have accepted the age of I-phone 6, we need to acknowledge the sexuality of our children too and the moment we do, as parents it brings us more at a level of equality with our children. And isn’t equality a best stage for any loving and compassionate relationship to sustain?
(Megha is a 33-year-old wellness expert and healer whose approach is holistic, intense and deep. She is a founder of Meghavi Spa and Salon located in Banjara Hills)