Meaningful Parenting- I tweaked the way I talk to my child.

How I talk to my child is different from how my father talked to me. Am I glad that I am doing things differently?


Is there a guarantee that this is the best way to talk? Is there a safety net?
No. Because there are no safety net’s in the world for anything.

Question- Can I watch TV?
My parents- 'NO. Go and do your homework. Watching TV will not help you.'
:( And all the while the TV show went on, I stared blankly at my book. I was distracted.

Me to my son- 'Yes, you can, after you are done with your homework.'

My constant NO's only make him immune to this word. What message do I want to send across? Can I reword my answer and ensure that it's positive and takes care of both our interests?

Upon not picking up a concept/skill fast.
My parents- ‘How much time you are taking? Hurry up. You are so slow.’
And I kept wondering what was so grossly wrong with my intellect? I felt belittled.

Me to my son- ‘I know it's not easy. But I can see you are being patient. Can I help you?’

I wasn’t Einstein, I don't expect my son to be one. I am glad he shows focus and persistence rather than the correct answer. The correct answer will come eventually.

Upon making a mistake and saying sorry.
My parents- ‘What sorry? Sorry doesn't help.’
I truly felt sorry but couldn't understand why they didn't see my sincerity. I felt sad.

Me to my son- ‘I know you are feeling sorry. Just ensure you do not repeat it again.’

Mistakes happen and sometime the best you have to offer is a genuine sorry. There is no harm in saying one.

Upon a bargain situation - I want to go for a movie with them on Sunday but parents want to organize the store room.
My parents- ‘What movie? You are too much into movies. We have so much work at home. We need to rest too.’
But why can't we go for a movie? Why is it always your way?

Me to my son- ‘How about we agree to have a movie night the coming weekend and this weekend we get the store room organized?’ or vice-versa.

It’s about creating a win - win situation. I cannot always exercise my will by virtue of being the powerful parent. For a harmless day to day activities, one as a family can bargain and reach a more amicable situation rather than dictating my WILL on him. His interest is important to me. Trampling it every time is not my style.

Upon a fight, I had with my friend and I am trying to tell my parents about it.
My parents- ‘Enough. No more of your nonsense. I don't want to listen to your stories.’
I wanted to share but guess they didn't care. I mused to myself.

Me to my son- ‘Tell me more. What happened? How did it all start?’ 

I am helping my child share his story with me. Stories of everyday life which give me ample fodder to know about him, his thoughts, feelings and ideas. I am also giving him the signal that 'I AM THERE' and he can come and talk to me about anything and or tomorrow.

Upon asking my father to buy me a comic.

My parents- ‘Go and read your school books. You are too much into comics and story book. These comics will not fetch you marks.’

Reading 'Akbar-Birbal' comic strip on a train journey is no sin. What is wrong in reading a comic? I kept sulking and thinking.

Me to my son- ‘Let's read together. When I was your age, I loved reading these. These comics have been around for long and they still are interesting.’

How do you instill love for reading? Course books are hardly enjoyable to read. :) I don't think it's a good idea to put a barricade on what to read and what not to read (of course adult supervision is a must on all that children are watching and reading). A genuine love for reading is possible when the child finds it interesting to pick up all kinds of (age appropriate) magazines, comics, story book, picture books and dive into it. Also, a parent who loves reading with their child is only benefiting the child in numerous ways...two of them being- spending quality time by being your child reading companion and helping him become a READER.

Upon making a mistake
My parents- ‘You cannot do a single thing properly. I shouldn't have asked you to do it in the first instance. We cannot trust you.’

 Really Daddy? Why? I blamed myself for the mistake.

Me to my son- ‘It's okay. We all make mistakes. We make mistakes of all kinds. The art lies in learning from them.’
Things happen and mistakes happen quite often. What do you do? Shout? Yell? Blame? Accuse? or you just give family members including yourself the room to make mistakes and learn from them? When you owe up for your mistakes, you just show to your children how to take responsibility for mistakes, learn and move on. When you let, your child make mistakes, you extend the same courtesy, room and comfort to him. And who doesn't make mistakes? Who is perfect? None. Right? I have seen my son feel miserable over not being able to meet my expectation and not being perfect. But I just let him be. He doesn't need to be perfect. He can make mistakes. All that I want is for him to learn from his mistakes. Every mistake comes with a hidden message.
Life isn't black and white either

Upon joining a family conversation
My parents- ‘Just keep quiet. It's not for you. It's for us to talk and sort. We are your parents.’

But even I have something to say. Anybody listening? I shouted within.

Me to my son- ‘What do you think? Should we invite your friend’s cousin too for your birthday?’

He may be too small to give me real solution but I am giving him an opportunity to participate in family discussion. He is a member of the family and listening to what he has to say is important to me. Today he gives me funny solutions, tomorrow he may give me a unique idea to resolve a problem at hand. We can reserve the bedroom for adult conversation. He can be taught to not jump into conversation when two people are talking. He can wait for his turn.  By involving him in family discussion I am letting him know that we value him, his thoughts, his idea. We are helping him learn that a family operates together, takes decisions collectively and bears the responsibility of the consequences.
'Thank you'… something which my parents thought was too formal in a family set up and to me it’s manners, tact and grace, the learning of which starts from home. 

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