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Ethos of parenting

punjab Updated: Jun 17, 2013 16:44 IST
Parminder Kaur

Please don't frown, I won't break into a sermon on how to be a good parent nor will I dwell on the dos and don'ts of ideal parenting. Why not? Because I am still struggling to wade through this whirlpool called parenthood, trying to unravel its mysteries. The dictionary defines parenting as "the act of rearing or raising a child". How I wish it was that simple!

My son is eight years old and I'm yet to strike the right balance in bringing him up. I usually end up either being too strict or too liberal. The autocratic me shrieks at him for making a mistake in his studies (as if I made none), for soiling his clothes, not adhering to TV time/ meal time/ bedtime etc. Do I sound like a hostel warden or a jail warder?

In my generous mom avatar, I allow my son to have his favourite fast food (once or maybe twice a week), resign to most of his toy demands and occasionally accept his excuse for not eating a few (too many) green vegetables. So, am I suffering from a dual personality disorder or am I simply being a mother? Fathers must be facing a similar dilemma, only they are less vocal about it.

As a mother, I may be confused about a lot of things but I have also learnt a few lessons. Though a unique personality, a child mirrors many a traits of his/her parents. Apart from certain physical attributes, genes may not be credited for everything that your child imbibes from you. Mannerisms are not always inherited but acquired by a child by observing others and foremost the parents. Children are good imitators and the best way to teach them is not to quote examples but to be the example.

This is easier said than done, I have discovered the hard way. As a parent, we are all idealistic and set high behavioural and disciplinary standards. But as adults we have rather flexible standards for ourselves. We mend, bend and break rules to suit our interest. Our children should eat veggies, while we can devour junk food. Kids should imbibe the early to bed, early to rise dictum, while we the practise late to bed and rise just on time for office habit. For children, honesty is the best policy, while for us this policy comes with 'terms and conditions apply'. As adults, we can offer numerous justifications in our defence but as parents how do we justify being a role model to our children?

I know I am backtracking on my promise and gradually transforming myself into a gyan guru. This is only an introspection of my journey as a mother and not an attempt to generalise or criticise the fraternity of parents. As a mother, I feel the need to practise what I preach, be the example I want my son to emulate and then let him make his own decisions, tread his own path.

I have realised the ethos of parenting lies in not perfectly raising a child, but in sincerely trying to be a parent.