Dear Cheeky ke Mom and Daddy,
Let me start by congratulating you for creating a miracle – your baby. Even though I don’t see your child with the same pair of rose-tinted eyes, I can assure you s/he is almost as adorable as you think. Her smile can turn the articulate to gibberish. Her beautiful eyes can light up even the darkest heart. She is cute as a button, till she opens her mouth to express her displeasure.
She wanted boo boo and you couldn’t get it for her. So, she’s doing what she does best. Scream. And why not - your Princess is not used to being disobeyed!
|Courtesy - Google images|
Her high pitched scream makes your hear palpitate with terror. You are even willing to swing upside down to stop that horrible noise. So, you do what you do best, fetch boo boo for her to make her shut up.
God forbid, if you are in a mood to be brave and decide to ignore, she will promptly raise her decibel levels and give you a migraine attack. Suddenly you start feeling the heat of at least a dozen pair of eyes boring into your back and accusing you silently for having created this monster.
If looks could kill, you would have died a thousand deaths.
Sorry, it’s all your fault. In your earnestness to be a good parent, you turned yourself into her personal genie. You wanted to be her superhero, moved mountains, jumped ditches and danced like a clown to fulfil her demands. And now she has you wrapped around her little finger. She knows the power she has over you and uses it to her fullest.
A generation of parents has forgotten how to say no to their kids. Born after much deliberation and planning, the apple of their eyes is treated like royalty. Buying the best the money can buy, lavishing their kids with everything that they were denied as children, new-age parenting leaves no stone unturned to keep their progeny happy.
Don’t worry, it will become worse as she grows older. You will place your little darling on a pedestal, applaud her every little achievement and tire everyone with your bragging. Most of you are under the impression, that by heaping praise, you are building your child’s confidence and sense of self. On the contrary, too much praise can backfire. It makes your kid afraid to try new things for fear of letting you down.
You are unknowingly conveying to her that she has to get your approval all the time and constantly look at you for validation.
You will worry incessantly on her behalf, do your best to keep her away from danger, won’t let her out on her own, fight her battles on her behalf, cry with her… Fair enough! But you must know, paranoid parents raise paranoid kids.
In other words, you are raising a generation of wimps and narcissists and passing your fear of risk to them.
If you don’t let her skin her knees, let her fall and fail, face her darkest fears alone, how do you expect her to face the world on her own? Outside your cocoon of love, she will face a harsh world and you cannot be always around to protect her. Raise her to be a fighter and not a delicate Barbie.If you love her, listen patiently to her arguments rather than dismissing it as rebellion, value her opinions and most importantly treat her with as much respect as you expect from her. Only when you treat her like a responsible adult will she behave like one.
Start with learning how to say no to her. Don’t let her manipulate and negotiate till she gets her way. You ask her to switch off the TV and she makes a puppy face and says- please Ma, 10 more minutes? Reason with her, tell her with a firm tone why she can’t watch Cartoon Network all the time. If she throws a tantrum, don’t get upset and never negotiate. It’s very important to set a clear, firm limit. If she sulks and throws a fit, let her know her behaviour isn’t going to get her what she wants.
Saying yes is always the easier way out, but not putting up with her nonsense will always pay rich dividends in the future. Do you want your child to grow up to be a tantrummy woman, used to getting her own way by manipulating others? Show your love by teaching her that best things in life are never handed on a platter, you have to earn them.
Love has many manifestations, but pampering her and bending backwards to accommodate her unreasonable demands is certainly not one of them. Praise her efforts and not the outcome. If she toiled nights on a project and still didn’t walk away with the award – don’t console her, laud her for the hard work! Teach her to be happy and not how to make you happy with her accomplishments.
We talk about leaving a better planet for our children that we forget about leaving better children for this planet. Educate your children. Say no to them every once in a while.