Let me start my saying, I have yet to be a parent for a child of my own. However, I had the privilege of being a mother figure to a few children who entered my life. Some I was more hands on than others. The experience taught me, opened my eyes and gave me a better understanding. In addition, I studied in the field of care giving and I have taken interest in reading books about children and parenthood. And for some reason, I got inspired to write about the subject, given I observed some things lately.
This is in no way a judgement on my part on any parenting style. And I am not here to say this is right or this is wrong. I am simply stating an observation, drawing comparisons based on real-life experiences and mainly stating my personal views on the subject. I mean no offence to anyone.
Having clarified my intention regarding my subject today, I start by saying; there is no book out there that says: This is how a parent should be and this is how you must raise a child. However, there are plenty of books and articles out there, written to guide new parents, to provide information, to educate about various topics from child-birth to raising a teenager. But these writings are all suggestions and other people’s point of views. They are not ‘Manuals’ or ‘instruction books’. And so it is to be taken as such: guidance, some help, education, points of view from others with previous experience.
The reason why it’s not a manual to be followed is because every child is different. And every parent is different. You cannot apply the same method with different things. It won’t work. Simply.
I observed on many occasions, now more than ever before, a lack of discipline among children when they are in public. There is a huge increase in children acting out and throwing tantrums. This is indeed a natural behaviour for a child as they grow and pass through those stages of development. And there are different methods to deal with them. Each parent will decide what is best and how to parent. However, there are those who do nothing. They don’t try to correct a behaviour or pay attention to what their child is doing. I understand a parent wants to teach their child that they won’t give in to their demands just because they are around strangers. But it is not parenting if you are in a supermarket, letting your child to wander the store as they take things from shelves and throw it on the floor. That’s just plain ignorance and disrespect to the public place you are in. If you as a parent need a break or some space from being a parent, letting them free in a supermarket is not the place. There are other people to consider. I’m just saying.
What do you expect from a child that was not disciplined or taught or guided by their parents from the start. How will they behave when they get to school? How will they turn out as adults. What type of a boss will he be??? Well, let me tell you. There is a big possibility, that will be the kid who bullies his classmates. It will be the same kid who scares his friends and show off he can do whatever he wants. The same one who will step on anyone that gets in his way at work. And will be the same boss who will threaten you to do the job of two people or else fire you. Whose fault is it now? The kid or the parent who did not parent.
Another example of wonderful parents out there. Those parents on a plane who let their children loose, not putting into any consideration how they are bothering other passengers, disturbing the service, getting in the way of flight attendants, or even putting themselves in harm’s way. For God’s sake, you want your child to stretch and let them walk around in a tube 40 thousand feet above the ground; go with them. Don’t leave them alone. You are not on a private jet. Your kid is crying because they are bored or strapped in a seat belt they don’t like, totally understandable. What are you doing about it as a parent? Did you come prepared with books and toys. Are you trying to distract them from the seat belt or at least trying to explain to them why. What are you doing?? Hello!! Mr. and Mrs. parent.
You are tired and you are sleepy and you are travelling alone. Well, don’t travel alone with children if you can’t handle it then. It’s a huge responsibility and takes a lot of sacrifice. If you can’t do it, don’t do it. Simple. But no, you want to have it all. And let the flight attendant lift your 100 pounds 5 carry-ons in the head compartment. And keep asking them to bring down and take up all flight long. And let them babysit your child and run after them in the plane. And they will also be responsible to dispose of your child’s diapers (without putting in a bag) and they will warm up your milk and maybe even they have a change of baby clothes for you in the back, just in case you didn’t bring any. Oh and if you need their clothes to get washed or dried, ask a flight attendant also. This is no exaggeration. All this actually happened, not from one or two parents; but several.
I am well aware it is not easy. And even more aware that sometimes no matter what you do, the kid is gonna cry, they will scream, they are not in the mood to play, they are not listening to anything you say and again that is very normal. You are dealing with children. But what gets me is how some parents do nothing. Absolutely nothing. I have seen it with my own eyes. Nothing but feed the child and change them. I think there is a misconception on what parenting is. It’s not just to feed, change, put to sleep and send to school until they are big and can take care of themselves. If that’s what you think parenting is, then please don’t have children. Because the world doesn’t need any more of that.
Then you have the type of parents who are the exact opposite. They are super prepared, overly protective, smothering the child and don’t allow any room for the child to explore and express themselves. Of course these are perfect parents for the plane, the supermarket, the park and the mall. The children will be safe, protected, and most of all directed. There will be no inconvenience to the general public. And no embarrassment for the parent. Which is all good and dandy, but where is the child’s personality. Do you know his likes and dislikes. What are his talents. What is he good at and what he needs help with. How would you know, when you are directing and commanding all the times. What is his favourite subject in school. What does he want to be when he grows up? As a parent, you raised, protected, guided, and in the end decided what who and how your child will be. What have we here when this child becomes an adult. Will he be happy or confused or insecure. Dependant perhaps. Angry maybe. Lost very possible. Rebellious at some point if he dares to. Who knows.
Having said that, I still mean it when I say I am not trying to offend anyone. I’m simply describing in detail what I observed and how I analyze the situation from the angle of an outsider. Of course the parents involved are not seeing it. It’s not like they are purposely creating chaos or neglecting their child or intentionally destroying their future. Some Parents don’t see the big picture. They don’t look beyond the moment and they don’t try to put themselves in other peoples’ shoes. They are focused on me me me. I am the parent. I am the one suffering. I am tired I am not sleeping. The kid is driving me crazy. I need time for myself. You need to feel sorry for me. And so on.
The question remains. If you are educated, and learned what having a child means; on TV, friends, family members and all around you. Why did you have a child when it’s so difficult for you to deal with it. Or is it because society says you are supposed to?? Think. You have a brain of your own. Think. If you doubt that you want this responsibility for the rest of your life. Then choose not to. Spare yourself and this soul you will attach to yourself. And you will spare the Society you are part of. Otherwise, grow up and take that responsibility. You weren’t sure how it would feel. Well, now you know. You have no choice but to rise to it. Stop using excuses and say I’m not good or I don’t know how. This is not a product you can return back to the store and ask for refund. This is a product of yourself and now you have to live with it. Period.
Indeed I am very frustrated as you can tell in my writing. I am not hiding that fact. It’s a soft spot for me. I can’t stand it to be honest. I wish I can go up to some people sometimes and shake them up and say to them: ‘you don’t understand the gift that you have. There are others out there who cry every night wishing and praying to have what you have. So please wake up and realize the blessing in your hands’
In conclusion, I must admit, I have seen and interacted with truly amazing parents. I commend them and bow my hat for them in awe and appreciation. By that I don’t mean they have all the answers or doing everything perfect. But they do their best. They have taken the responsibility seriously and grow with it. They understand that a balance is required in raising their children. Discipline is necessary, the method will vary and that’s totally normal. Giving love is essential, it is the main reason we have children from the start. Your intention should always be to give love and that’s it. No other expectations or wants or needs. Love, more love and even more love.