Great Lessons in Parenting – 1st Lesson

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Are we raising her or is she raising us…!!!

Everybody aspires to be the best parent one can be for our children. Sometimes we get it right, sometimes we get it wrong. In our case, we got it wrong more times than right, as described in our previous article. Being a new parent is like starting life all over again. Every day is a new adventure; every event is a new lesson. Raising Aarohi has been the greatest quest we’ve embarked upon so far. As parents we teach a lot of things to our daughter, in return we get to learn a whole lot of things from her. But there are few life lessons that have altered the way we interact with her on a daily basis. We do believe that these have a very big contribution in shaping the personality of our child.

Raising Aarohi has been the greatest quest we’ve embarked upon so far.

Lesson 1 – Good Girl, Bad Girl syndrome

This first lesson is in the category of “things we don’t say to her”. We’ve seen a lot of parents encouraging their kids by saying, “oh what a Good girl or boy you are”, when the kid does something they like. On the other hand, the phrase, “you’re being a Bad girl or boy” when she or he does something they don’t like. In our opinion, this is the worst way to encourage a kid. Another symptom of this syndrome is that parents get the kids to do things by saying that they’ll be a good girl or boy if they do what the parents are asking them to do. Along with saying that they’ll be a bad girl or boy if they don’t behave the way the parents expect them to. This is the one thing we stay away from at all times.

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To be honest, we’ve seen this approach working very well in the favor of the parents. It sure gets the job done. The problem is that the parents are not aware of the effect this kind of upbringing has on the child. The child grows up thinking that they are being good or bad if somebody TELLS them that they are being good or bad and not because they are DOING something good or bad. By doing this we are raising children who have no recognition of good and bad. The only thing that becomes important to them is that somebody is saying that they are good or bad. This can be exploited by bad elements in our society to encourage them to get involved in anti-social activities by telling them that they are being a good girl or boy when they hurt others. They may be encouraged to steal, rob, bully and fight just by telling them, “If you do this you’re a good girl or boy.”

By doing this we are raising children who have no recognition of good and bad.

As parents, the way we approach this lesson is to teach Aarohi what is good and what is bad in our opinion. Then she is free to make the decision of choosing which way she wants to go. This way we make sure that she is aware of our ideologies and at the same time, free to make up her own mind. This way nobody can manipulate her into thinking something is right just because they say she would be a good girl if she chooses it. Once the situation presents itself she would be able to take a decision based on what she feels is right or wrong.

what to do if she chooses the option that we explained to her as bad?

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This lesson, of course, is not as simple as it sounds. One of the biggest situations we face on a regular basis is – what to do if she chooses the option that we explained to her as bad? This is a tricky one and it took us a while to crack it. As parents, it is very difficult to let your child go with the choice which you feel is wrong and in the beginning we used to panic if Aarohi would choose it. We would try to distract her from it or encourage her to choose the other option. But soon we realized that if we do that, the whole purpose of this approach fails. So, very cautiously, we allowed her to go with the choice that we thought was wrong. The first time she loved it. The second time, she again loved it. The third time, the same result. We started to get worried. But soon enough she realized that her choice was hurting her more than she was enjoying it. This was the start of a very understanding relationship between us. Slowly but steadily her perception of things has changed for the better. Things don’t always go according to the way we want it but at least we can be sure that she will choose with an open perspective and free will.

This was the start of a very understanding relationship between us.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Abhijeet,

    I have a 2 year old son and I am confused whether to choose conventional schooling or homeschooling for him. I am a working lady and I am not sure whether will I be able to give him sufficient time and make him learn things at home rather than school. On other hand I feel, if I cannot get enough time for him, it will be his loss… I have one more question – In case of homeschooling, what about the degree or the certificates that kids will need in future(for some job or business)? Is there any university or curriculum that is there for homeschooling?

    • Hi Prajakta,
      Sorry for the late reply. I was moving our residence over the weekend. The choice between schooling and homeschooling is a difficult one. When we took that decision we were very sure we wanted to do it. Please don’t go that route without being 100% sure about it. It’s a matter of your child’s future. If you do decide to homeschool, one of you, mother or father, will have to be with your child fulltime. You’ll have to teach the child everything and participate in everything he does. Let me assure you, it’s a 24-hour job. There are a number of websites on which you may be able to buy curriculum for homeschooling. A simple google search will give you enough results to choose from. One free resource that we utilize is Khan Academy (https://www.khanacademy.org/). But we only use it sometimes as we are essentially unchooling Aarohi (http://agreatblog.com/kind-home-schooled-child-aarohi/). We are not really concerned about getting her a degree when she grows up as we aspire to teach her skill based education which should lead to her earning a living from her own independent venture rather than looking for a job. But if she grows up and aspires to become a Doctor or Pilot or something, then the closest option we’ve come across is NIOS (http://www.nos.org/). They are an Indian Government Open School. Please do visit their website and inquire to find out what options you have with them.

      Hope I’ve answered all your questions. Do let me know if you have any more queries.

      Cheers,
      Abhi.

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