Very often, I meet new parents or parents of adolescents seeking guidance to understand the nuances of parenting, and mentoring, to deal with their children and the tantrums, issues and situations that come with. As parents and couples, how we wish there was a rule book to follow for this smooth transition!
We sometimes forget to acknowledge that dealing with children can be as challenging and sometimes even traumatising for parents, as it is for children to deal with parents! Before we begin looking into how we can better manage our daily parenting, here are some difficulty yet important questions to ponder upon:
● We all have some stereotypical patterns of parenting – some of us are authoritative while the others are more permissive. But are we evolving and devising our ways according to the time and situations at hand?
● Do we adhere to the needs and demands of our dynamic relationships, which are continuously changing and expecting us to fix our ways too?
Irrespective of the answers to these questions, we must realise that each one of us is already trying to adjust, fix and rework our approach towards children, in our respective capacities. Sometimes this attempt clashes with the beliefs and practices we were conditioned to follow growing up, and this invites chaos and confusion to our minds, which then trickles down to our actions.
How about moving a step ahead and channelling ourselves to partner with our children?
Sometimes we need to mend and redefine our role as a parent and move up to teaming with them– moving from the set premise of ownership to partnership with our lifelines. Here, it is worth considering what is common between a parent, mentor, role model, teacher/ coach and a counselor– all these roles exercise varying degrees of power to work on the child.
However today, the child needs a partner, a team mate and a peer to be able to share their feelings, confusions, conversations, dilemmas and situations at hand. The power dynamics of parenting need to pave the way for partnering practices, where there is an equal onus on both parties and both feel equally heard and seen in the relationship.
Here are few considerations to initiate a new league of partners who can transit to a positive and cordial relationship with our children:
Having a designated time, space and bandwidth to be receptive to listening to each other unconditionally. Can we handle our children telling us what’s acceptable and what’s not ? Are we open to receiving statements and arguments from our children about what they may not have liked about our behaviour or actions? Opening our mind to listening to what works for them and what doesn’t is a difficult but effective way to start this journey
⁃ Tolerance Levels
With the increasing pressures returning to normal school and mingling yet again with peers does reduce the tolerance in our children to start with, but we tend to expect them to be happy and all positive to go to school and be normal. Often within these expectations, we might show signs of impatience, intolerance or aggression. Let’s give each other some space and time to rewire ourselves to the new normals yet again.
We want our children to be persevering and consistent in their academic, social, familiar and personal lives. But note, our expectations from children and our own actions in this direction are not always in-sync. We seldom push ourselves to be consistent with our children. Can this be because we are influenced by comfort of dealing with our children, on our terms and our times?
⁃ Being Unconditional
How harsh am I to myself in the face of deadlines, difficult situations or unkind consequences? Very often we end up losing our cool on our children for not completing their work or end up labelling them for their shortcomings. Partnering with your child means working with them on their shortcomings and motivating them to believe in themselves.
These are just a few ways to partner with your child and renew the lease of a relationship that needs more than guidance or mentoring. Each day, let’s aim to bring that relationship to a phase where there is no sense of ownership over the other, but a sense of belonging for each one in the relationship– a space we want to come back to, and come back to with joy, happiness and most importantly to be.