The most obvious answer parents give to the question asked “what do you want for your children?” is the same old answer we’ve been hearing for ages – they want them to be successful, diligent and (of course) happy. They want to see their children grow into the best version of themselves. Isn’t it? No, it isn’t. That’s not enough at all. They want their children to excel in academics, be the best in class – so much so that they sit with their children during online classes (thanks to COVID-19) and prompt answers so that they answer all the questions (while not caring at all if their children are understanding as to what’s going on in class). They want their kids to be the numero uno in every activity they take part in, be well behaved, and so on. The list is never-ending.
Absolutely agreeable that children need parental guidance, without a doubt in their first few years and especially during their teen years. But as time goes by, parents tend to forget that slowly it’s time to start letting go, to let them take their own (even the smallest) decisions. Giving them the freedom to choose their choices is one of the best things a parent can do for their children which goes a long way. Once they’re in the real world there’s no one to make decisions for them. But all this starts from a young age, step-by-step. From what colour shoes they want to wear to which task they want to do first, and asking them why that task before the other tasks and to let them make mistakes and teach them from those mistakes.
As parents, the onus is on us to raise them in a way that they turn out to be better thinkers, make better problem solvers and make sound decisions. This seemingly difficult task isn’t that difficult. Taking the simplest of daily-life situations and turning them into learning moments can do wonders.
How can we do that?
Decision Making: – As mentioned earlier, the biggest parental temptation is to take their children’s decision for them. One of the many ways to help them get better at the decision-making process is to give them monthly allowance which teaches them so much. You can teach them the value of savings, for instance. In the future, if they ask for a play station and a computer, letting them decide what is more important, what they want more and saving up for it is a good idea. It’s also a way of helping them be more patient. Even the homework plans or study schedules that parents make for their children after a certain age puts them at a disadvantage.
Empathy: – As parents, it’s imperative to know a child’s temperament before reacting to a situation. While dealing with hissy fits in a restaurant, or at the mall for a toy, the most obvious reflex is to shout at them or give them the stern-eye-look. When sibling fights break out every three minutes, sending them off to their respective room is what most people do. But sitting them down and hearing each other out develops the habit of a good listener and getting them to listen to someone else’s point of view. Words of kindness are always the ideal way to deal with these situations.
Self-understanding: – Another instance is when a child goes through a traumatic incident parents tend to ignore or avoid the situation altogether. Instead, talking to them about it and helping them come to terms regarding the situation helps them understand and move past the incident without much damage. Inculcating the habit of journaling their thoughts can also help to deal with incidents and help them understand themselves more. Ignoring the situation altogether could plant deep roots and crop up in the future in unimaginable ways.
The crux is that parents can take these ‘survive’ moments and convert them into ‘thrive’ moments. During these moments what parents teach their children is empathy, an understanding of oneself and morality which when juxtaposed together gives rise to sound decision-making abilities. Letting them go, letting them make those mistakes and then guiding them as to why they couldn’t complete their tasks on time and how can they manage it better is far more advantageous and has far more learning. Just like a mother bird doesn’t teach her younger ones to fly, the same way the duty of a parent is not to help them do their tasks, but to make them capable enough to do their task themselves, make sound decisions and find their way themselves which starts from a young age, from the smallest of decisions and from the simplest of decisions. The duty of a parent is not to make their decisions but to guide their children and give them the freedom of choice.
Let us know if you agree or disagree or want to add on to it in the comment box below!