A parent is a caretaker, a teacher, a support system, the first source of a child’s identity and ideologies. Being a parent means providing and supporting a child’s physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development from infancy to adulthood.
So, what is the mantra for being the perfect parent? Well, it is a myth because the perfect parent does not exist. But yes, there is good parenting and bad parenting and between the two is a process where you evolve, learning one day at a time.
Navigating childhood and adolescence is not easy. Your job as a parent is to help make that journey wholesome with support and understanding, and maybe a few life’s lessons thrown in. Here is how you can be an approachable parent, one that always has their child’s back.
1) Do not expect your child to understand you.
Firstly, you are older, and secondly, it is your experience that he draws on. So, understand your child’s fears and worries, and be his go-to person. As a caretaker, you would know what’s best for him based on his strengths and weaknesses. Gently nudge him to do what’s right and guide him on the path aligned with his likes, dreams, and goals.
You can only aim to do your best but know that he has an individual personality at the end of the day. So, give him room to make mistakes, and grow and realise his unique potential. Respect his desires, and don’t push him to fulfil your unrequited dreams.
2) Don’t Compare
Comparison is the bane of our existence. No two people are alike, so why should we pit children against each other? Your child is unique, even in the case of twins or triplets and more. Each of them is different despite the possible similarities.
Nurture these differences, build each one of them up to be who they truly are. Enable your child to shine in whichever sphere of life they choose.
3) Nurture your relationship
Your job is to be a supporting ecosystem. Release control, expectation, dependency and the overwhelming responsibility. Know that it is a journey of growth for both of you. You are the soil in which he grows his roots. So give him that strong support system to find himself. Remember, all he needs at the end of the day from you is your loving support. Rest, he will find his bearings from the world.
4) Imbibe values in them.
A child emulates his parents, so what you are, he will become. Be aware of the example you set: food habits, drinking, social habits, moral character, or discipline.
Education is a part of everyday life. Don’t force him into obedience; instead, make it an organic part of your household that will become his inherent inner nature.
Build his character rather than have him chase material gains.
5) Live, love and laugh.
Life is too short to keep looking at the other side. Be someone they look up to and the one they depend on and be free with without any outer mask. For guidance for him, you can always take external help from friends, relatives or professionals. Laugh with them, silly out your problems, tease each other. After all, you live with them, and you both cannot have a better friend than each other.
6) Maintain a peaceful, harmonious environment
Do not load your worries and stresses on the child as he cannot handle it. Mothers tend to complain against the father to children. Fathers voice out financial woes in front of the child. They bicker about the politics of relatives in front of the child. They load their emotional and health worries onto him. His innocent mind will create thick jungles of fear inside, and he will become fearful of facing the world.
See him as a child who will form opinions based on what you feed him. Hide your struggles, fights and problems. Can he do anything about them except becoming fearful? Remember, you will create a replica of your inner fears if you realise this. So when you come out of the room, wipe off that frown and meet him with love. Create an environment where he feels emotionally stable and can idolise his parents like a superhero who will always protect him and be beside him in his times of need as he treads on his path of adulthood.
7) Know your role play
Your role with the child is only of support, both physical, financial and emotional. You are not his teacher- they are there in school. You are not his friend- he has plenty outside of the home. Don’t fret too much about his studies, habits, choices etc. Just support him to realise what he truly wants.