My hubby has raised his arms in surrender. He’s broke. My birthday, our anniversary and Mother’s day took its toll on him and now, Valentine’s Day is the final tip over the cliffJ
Roses and wine are passé. So, we decided that reading, editing, liking and sharing our blogs is THE sign of True love! (He went cycling early morning today and hasn’t returned yet. A reward of200 INR and an opportunity to babysit one of the finest minds of the future if you spot him!)
So, while my hubby is AWOL, I look forward to building my relationship with Generation Z. So, let’s talk about the V of Parenting!
I have often mused over the meaning of true happiness. And it has left me perplexed. Neither Books nor intellectual reasoning could uncover the truth for me. So, I went all scientific and laid my powers of observation to test. Came up with Zilch. Then I watched a movie (Home alone) and enlightenment dawned.
Kevin, a cute young boy gets to enjoy the time of his life when, by a freak accident, his family leaves him all alone. Some picnic that was, huh Kevin?
Let’s go back to our childhood. What was it about our teacher leaving the class even for a minute that we, collectively rose in chatter even though forewarned with strict instructions to do otherwise. We would wait for Mummy Papa to leave for those social obligations so that we could be alone in the house, become the boss of the house – for that momentary illusion that we call the shots!
The man of the house feels most happy when he gets to read the newspaper every day in solitude. His wife does not let him watch the game – that makes her happyJ.
A long time employee cuts the ties loose and becomes a start –up. Very Happy.
One could conclude from everyday life that a person compares control in the relationship to measure the happiness quotient.
And we compare control in terms of passage of time-Control in the present vs. Control in the past.
If the level of control increases with time, you feel powerful and in- charge. However, if one were unfortunate enough to be in the midst of a control downsizing, one would feel the pinch.
Earlier, my cook controlled breakfast and now she controls the fridge, the microwave and an occasional washing machine. And boy, does she feel empowered.
The same analogy works with children.
Psychologist Sylvia B.Rimm suggests that when control is allotted to children in increasing amounts over long periods of time, it creates a feeling of empowerment in children.
To illustrate- the sides of V represent firm limits within which the child may make decisions and live with the consequences.
The bottom of V represents birth, while the top represents the time when the child leaves home for adult life.
Ask: During a car ride- would you like to carry your teddy or a book?
Ask: During meal time -would you like to eat with a fork or a spoon?
Ask: During sleep time -would you like to read Dr. Seuss or Eric Carle?
Teachers may ask-would you like to rest or do your homework during the free period?
These choices don’t really matter to us as adults. But for the child, it is as empowering. So, when I asked my daughter if she would like to eat a carrot or a cucumber for her snack time, she actually took time out to think about it. Both- the choice as well the freedom to choose mattered to her.
We as parents and educators need to give more and more freedom as the years go by. It seems logical to hand out the power of choice from the so-called inconsequential decisions to major, life changing ones(Refer belowJ)
Unfortunately, many parents often invert the V ‘s. Often limits are undefined and freedom is liberally granted during early childhood making the child spoilt for choice. Be it clothing, accessories, food or friends, the child learns to demand and soon enough, temper tantrums and power struggles follow. As they grow, rights and privileges are withdrawn, creating temperamental and rebellious being.
Try this-Get your child into the corporate groove.
This summer vacation let him/her create a presentation on how the holiday homework will be done. If you plan a trip, encourage your child to call different vendors, get package rates and plan the vacation. For once, let your children haggle with the scrap paper vendor or the grocery chacha or discuss with the hair dresser the type of cut they would like to have.
Looking to buy a car? Drag them to a couple of car showrooms, get brochures and create a family debate contest to judge the car most suitable for the family.( Make them slog- speeches, reviews and facts- the works!)
Of course, keep an eye but let them handle the situation. Yes, the turnaround time might unsettle you at first, but no better pathshala than Mom/Dad to deliver an internship on Life Skills!
So, this V-day, step back and look at the big picture. Make sure to grant everyday choices of little significance to your littles and watch them creating choices which they really choose and blossom into rational, thinking adults of tomorrow.
Love and Light,