Today was an overwhelming day as many of my friends’ kids and my nephew cleared their 10th, 12th and some other entrance exams with flying colors. By flying colors, I don’t mean above 95% or so; I mean that the efforts of these kids have been fruitful.
I have seen these children grow in front of my eyes and seen them shape up. Most importantly, I know the parents, especially the moms, of these children very closely. I have seen these parents encouraging and supporting their kids with their choices among all adversities and difficulties. They had their share of emotional, financial, and other struggles, yet I have seen them help and support their kids with a smile on their face. A big kudos to these parents.
As for the children, most of them would label them as nonchalant, mobile scrolling, earphone wearing, careless teenagers. But all these teenagers have shown that they were/are not careless and are serious about their future because they know that they belong to the middle-class parents who can provide education as “property or heirloom”. These kids include my both children too.
I wish these kids all the best for their future, but mostly I wish them to be happy in life because happiness is grossly underrated.
Yesterday my daughter’s teacher asked them write down the names of 5 persons whom they loved. When the teacher asked who had written their names in that list, more than half of the class didn’t raise their hand.
This is not surprising as we are not taught to love ourselves. This holds even more true for women. Sacrificing is applauded while self-love or self-indulgence is being shamed. When one doesn’t love oneself, somewhere there is constant seeking of validation from others, the feeling of being guilty, the need to prioritize only others. People who are self-assured and love and prioritize themselves are confident people.
We are taught to love, respect and prioritize others; that “we” should include oneself too..
More than the physical strength of the number of push-ups you do or the weights you lift, strength is holding yourself strong when the weight of adversities and challenging situations bog you down in life.
FB throwback reminded my of how 3 years ago on this day I was with my late father when he had his second heart attack in a span of 6 months. I needed to be strong for my mother, my father. Within I didn’t know whether my father would make it or not, my heart broke to see my ailing father and my broken mother, but I had to put on a brave face.
I have handled the hospitalizations/illnesses of my husband, both the children all alone trying to act strong, taking decisions practically rather than breaking down. It breaks your heart to see your loved ones being hospitalized or weak/frail. I knew in such situations I had to get them back to their strong and normal self again, and I have done that successfully in numerous situations in the past 20 years.
I have seen my kids being bullied, my son getting specs at age 7, my daughter getting period at age 10 and in all these situations I had to give them the strength because I knew if I broke down they would be shattered. I have seen the so-called well-wishers and friends getting me to write blogs for free for their start-ups or websites and then never bothering to connect again.
All these experiences make you a little more thick-skinned, a little aloof and cold, a little less emotional. Not all experiences in life are pleasant ones, but that’s what life is all about; its the best teacher.
Let’s face it, parenting children especially teenagers and young adults is way more different than what it was during our times as kids and teens. Not generalizing, but most of the middle-class Indian parents would never talk about consent, hormones, puberty, sex education; homosexuality and LGBTQ being unheard of! Even when there was an “odd kissing scene” in any movie, the channel would be changed hurriedly. Having curiosity about sex or changes in the body or opposite gender would be frowned upon. Most of us came to know about a lot of stuff only through friends or post marriage!
As a generation of parents, we have transitioned, made conscious efforts to be more open and frank with our children. Still I read many people lamenting about parents should not be “friends” with their kids. In my humble opinion and almost 2 decades of parenting, talking it out helps more than hiding or chiding. It prevents the curious, hormonally charged children to go astray or experiment in wrong ways to curb their enthusiasm or curiosity. The transition from those “good” children to the “frank” parents has not been easy; but when someone from the previous generation tells me, “That’s how it used to be”, I always have this question, “No one taught this to us as parents too, then how did learn and unlearn certain things?” If we allow things to continue and don’t try to bring in the change, nothing will change. From those gawky teens who couldn’t and still can’t question or utter certain “prohibited” words in front of our parents to the frank parents ourselves, it has been a long, insightful, challenging, learning journey.
The change didn’t happen in one day..
When a girl is molested/raped, stop asking the girl accusingly, “What were you wearing? Why were out so late?”
When a woman moves out of an abusive relationship, stop telling her, “Why did you walk out? You should have tried harder and adjusted.”
When a child is dealing with body image issues, stop jibing, “Oh my God! Look at you. Do something about your body. You look so ugly.”
When a student goes outside to study and dies under unfortunate circumstances, stop asking the parents, “Why did you send him/her to study abroad?”
Don’t say or ask all these; you never know you might be in their place one day. You never realize the pain until it has happened to you or your loved ones.
A little empathy doesn’t hurt. It doesn’t cost anything..
Over the past few years social media has taken over the world. In some ways or the other, we all have become a part of the “social media family.” While it has been a boon in many ways like long-lost friends getting connected with each other again, help from various groups and getting to interact with like-minded people, knowing many wonderful things just at the click of a button. But social media has its drawbacks too! Yes, this is me saying, someone who is very active on the social media.
Social media has made people selfish and competitive in the wrong way. We all know that people post photos of their happy moments and we fall for it. We envy the happy faces, the exotic holidays, the achievements, some men/women becoming more successful, and so on. Most “social media friendships” nowadays have become “friendship with benefits.” A person meets another influencer or tries to find ways by which he/she can benefit from the other. Social contacts have become more of selfish contacts.
What is to be done? Like everything, this is also needs to be taken with a pinch of salt. One should know when to step back, where to draw the line, and use intuition to judge right from wrong, friend from selfish interest. One should realize that the virtual world is a lot different from the real world.
In virtual world one fights with a stranger, one judges a stranger, one can get affected by the people whom one has never met!
So, next time you are envious of a virtual post just step back and take a chill pill. You do not know what’s going on in his/her real life. Next time, someone judges you in the virtual world, laugh it off. They don’t know you as a person. Next time some virtual friend calls you his/her best buddy after one meeting accept it graciously but don’t be too elated. You might encounter a heartbreak when that “buddy” might malign you once the selfish interest is over!
Your life is more than the social media. Be more social rather!
It was the second day of a painful period and I was craving tandoori chicken. I ordered one for myself and ate it to my heart’s content.
I defied all the norms and qualities of a “good and ideal” woman, wife and mom:
1. I ordered it, did not stand in the kitchen heat and make it from the scratch.
2. I had the whole thing for myself.
3. I did not eat any leftover last piece stating that I am not hungry.
4. I was the first one to eat as I was hungry.
5. I ordered a dish of my choice and not simply what my family liked. I like to prioritize my choices too.
6. I pampered myself and expressed my pain in front of my family without trying to camouflage it with a fake smile or stating “I am fine.” I refused to silently bear the pain without sharing the anguish with my children and husband.
And surprisingly despite not fitting in the “ideal and good” category, I am an awesome woman, wife and mother! 😉
What gives the teachers or for that matter any adult to berate or humiliate a child? My daughter’s friend mentioned to her yesterday that her tuition teacher of a so-called reputed tuition class yells and berates her almost daily. This is shaking her confidence. The parents aren’t able to connect with the higher authorities to complain.The otherwise simple bubbly girl is become dull and anxious.
Why don’t some teachers/adults have the bandwidth to deal with kids, especially teenagers? Yelling, bullying, humiliating doesn’t motivate them, it damages their spirit, their confidence, their belief in themselves.The pressure of scoring well shouldn’t be the only objective always. Such teachers/adults need to understand child psychology well. Unfortunately, most of them are unequipped to do so.
My son got his specs at age 7, my daughter had her periods at age 10, my kids have hurt themselves innumerable times, and so on, but one thing what I have always tried to avoid was “mom guilt”. I never blamed myself for my son having specs at a young age as the eye specialist had told it was due to genetics, I never blamed myself for my daughter having her period early, as hormones are beyond my control, I never blamed myself for cuts and bruises that my kids endured. Instead of blaming myself, I had always asked myself, “How do I handle the situation now to the best of my ability?” And that’s exactly what I did, and I must say I handled them well!
Day in and day out , I see moms feeling guilty about things which are beyond their control or just a bad timing. As such, the world is harsh on mothers, blaming them all the time rather than appreciating their efforts; so as mothers its time we are kind to ourselves. If its unintentional, its fine and even if its intentional let’s simply apologize and rectify. At the end of the day, we all want the best for our kids and our love for them is what matters…
Society, parents, school teach the children to be honest and have their opinion, yet I always feel that when children, especially teenagers, put forth their honest opinions and views many parents, elders, teachers do not take it well. A child who doesn’t want to toe the line is usually termed “rebellious” or “mannerless”. A teacher-pleasing student or people-pleasing individual is applauded more than the honest one. No wonder many children eventually stop giving their honest opinions.
Don’t stop your children from expressing, from discussing, from being honest if you want holistically developed children and society.