A good enough mom?
I tell my child (turning 5yrs old next month) the importance of moral values almost every day. I tell her the importance of saying Thank you and saying Welcome. These were one of the first few words she learnt from me. I tell her bedtime stories with characters that show good behavior and those who show bad behavior, telling her the importance of being a good human being. I tell her about greed, jealousy, anger – that these are things she should stay away from. I tell her that God is generous and gives his blessings and gifts to children who share. I tell her that we all are equal, that everyone is beautiful, that true beauty begins from the heart and mind.
Now how much time it takes her to fully understand and imbibe these concepts cannot be controlled beyond a point by me. As parents, we just have to keep trying. Be the example? Yes I believe in this concept and I try to live by these concepts the best I can for her. From my experience I feel that as parents we have to try to be a better person in order to be a good example for our children.
The other day, I picked up my child from school and took her to a store nearby. We were accompanied by a known friend who lives nearby and her son who is in the same class as my daughter. We planned to go back home together. My daughter bought a chocolate from the store and was not comfortable sharing it with her friend. It isn’t that she doesn’t get to eat chocolates very often, she does. Many times she herself buys a chocolate for her friend next door. It was just that day that she was hungry after school and she didn’t want to share.
She started eating her chocolate and her friend asked for some. She said no. The friend’s mother asked her to share stating that “you should share things with your friends”. She said “no I don’t want to”. At this she forcefully snatched a piece of chocolate from my daughter and gave it to her child. At that my daughter got upset and started shouting and hitting (which I am working on to stop her and teaching her how to face a situation calmly) and she did not listen to me when I tried to calm her down. I couldn’t do much when we were outside and when she was distracted by her friend running away laughing which she took as teasing and got even more upset. Yes it was a lot going on – her friend laughing, the friend’s mother shouting at her for what she was doing and to stop, and me trying to get her attention and calm her down.
I apologized to my friend for her behavior, but she was quiet upset. I had to listen to these words from her “My child is quiet well behaved. There are quiet kids like mine and there are hyperactive kids, but not like her, she should have behaved appropriately”. What about her own behavior – forcefully snatching something from a child’s hand?
Only when we reached back home I could calm her down and explain the circus that was going on and how she should have behaved and listened to me. She understood and improved her behavior considerably.
I think that many moms would have faced such a situation. Others always advising, telling them how to parent, without knowing (or even feeling the need to know) or realizing how much that parent’s efforts have been in raising the child. They don’t want to understand the entire context, their own behavior and the reason for a child’s behavior.
According to me, parents do all they can, and think about every possible way of bringing up their children the best they can. Yes, they do make mistakes, and they should not be ignorant about their mistakes. But they should not be blindly judged.
Being a good enough mom in people’s eyes who just care to blindly judge or blame is not important to me. My child’s pediatrician told me that if you want to know if you really are a good enough mom, ask your child.
Lot of us can relate to this post and the incidence discussed here. Believe me there is nothing called perfect parenting, no parent teach children to be mean or unkind or self-centric. Despite of all the good concepts taught to them we forget that a child is an individual who has its own personality which is taking shape with our up-bringing vis a vis they learn a lot from surroundings. We do not have control over the influence of external situations and at times it becomes difficult to handle and justify what happened in this case.
My son who is bit older then your daughter had also been through these situations and i felt bad that despite of all good concepts which i told him many times, he did not follow every time. At younger age he did not have the expressive power to ask or tell reasons, as he grew up he started asking - when other children does such things, are their parents not teaching good manners and behavior? Why only I have to follow all the good concepts which you taught me? Why other can get along with it and why I am punished or get scolding and tagged as misbehaving child? Practically I did not have any answer for his questions. Most of us suffer from a syndrome called Scouting parents who take it as a mission to imbibe all the good concepts into children and restrict natural learning for them. I feel we should try to nurture them to decide what is correct and how to manage any situation on their own rather than imposing our thoughts on them. I think it could be the best way to become a good enough mom!