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A new course in parenting

One has to admit, however, that despite the innumerable joys mothers experience, often they have moments fraught with a lot of worry, panic and occasional bouts of anger and frustration.

punjab Updated: Aug 26, 2018 09:29 IST
parenting tips,parenting,parents
(HT File )

Motherhood is special, and as someone who has always been in awe of her mother, I appreciate mothers more after my daughter was born. One has to admit, however, that despite the innumerable joys mothers experience, often they have moments fraught with a lot of worry, panic and occasional bouts of anger and frustration.

I introduced my daughter to skating a few months back. Fond of painting and reading within the confines of her room it was quite a jolt from her comfort zone to be circling around in a rink, balanced precariously on four wheels, in the sweltering June heat. She made her disdain for the new activity foisted upon her very clear. We had many arguments over the issue. I would often lose patience, scold her and unfairly compare her with other children.

Then something happened. While I read a book or listened to music as my daughter skated, I started noticing a group of mothers who would stand by the railing and root for their children.

Even when the little ones got distracted and leave skating mid-way this group of mothers did not get irked. They would smile patiently and coax them to get back into the rink. Often snippets of their conversation would be audible. “Look at him, the red jersey looks so good on him!” a proud mother would say. Another would respond, saying, “She was in no mood to skate today, but still she’s trying so well”, pointing to her daughter struggling to balance herself. “Yeh baaton mein bohat tez hai, skating mein slow ho jata hai (he’s very talkative, I wonder what happens to him on a skating rink!)”, one mother would remark with a chuckle, pointing towards her son who was distractedly playing with tree leaves.

The women at the rink, I later learnt, were the mothers of autistic children. Some of them were dexterous skaters while some were rookies. But the women never once had anything negative to say about their children.

We can all learn a lot from these mothers. Most parents egg their children to outperform others by shouting from the stands. We get frustrated about our kids not being able to skate fast enough or well enough. This particular group of mothers focused on what their children could to as opposed to what they could not do. They would just cheer and applaud for their children.

I realised then that as parents sometimes we are very miserly with compliments. By constantly comparing them with other ‘Sharma ji ka betas’ or ‘Verma ji ki betis’ (sons and daughters of other people), we miss out on discovering what our own children are capable of.

Thankfully, my daughter gradually began enjoying the sport. Now, whenever I’m about to admonish her for taking too much time finishing lunch or being too slow with homework, I breathe deeply and calm down… and smile at the little one.

(The writer is a Chandigarh-based educationist)

First Published: Aug 26, 2018 09:29 IST