Every parent in the world has a distinct parenting style, even parents to the same child, are different in their approach. To say one way is the only way, is like saying red is the only colour worth looking at. When parenting styles are very different, when they oppose each other on the basic principles, its likely to bring up disapproval and criticism. All that said, we still do try our best, and each of us learn to be parents as time passes, its a learning for us, as much as it is for our dear little miracles, bundles of joy.
Pic Courtsey : LifeLoveETC
I want to share one of my most important principles of parenting here. Not to preach, but to put it out there, for anyone who wants to use. It has served me well!
More than anything else, I want my children to be nice people, the kind who add joy and kindness to the world, the kind who make the world a better place to live in. For me, their success will be in the joy they bring to people around them. And the simplest way I have found to inculcate that, is to develop in them a sense of empathy. I see around me plenty of people (not talking about just kids), who are helpful, but that comes with a sense of being entitled, a feeling that they are better than those they help. I try to tell my children that each and everyone on this earth, feels, just like they do, no matter what the colour of their skin, or what language they speak, or what food they eat. And for now, at their age, the only thing I want them to learn is, to not hurt (emotionally) others or be mean to them in any way.
And I wish this was an easy thing. Once the children start socialising, going to school or pre-school, they will meet all kinds of other children, and then often it becomes a fine line between telling them to stand up for themselves and yet be kind to others.With The BB, I can see that all the efforts for the past 8 years are starting to bear fruit, and that makes me feel elated. My way is very simple, I don't just tell them to stop doing something that feels wrong. But I tell them why, and explain it to them from the other person's point of view. If they feel like hitting someone, I ask them, how would they feel if they were the other person. If its about snatching a toy from someone, that is what I ask them to think about again,"How would it feel to have a toy snatched from you?".
The BB, all of eight and half, now, not only, refrains from mean behaviour, but tells me why he does it as well. And I can see, how he has internalised it, and understands the effect of his behaviour on others. As an example, his lovely class teacher who usually dresses up in the most beautiful feminine and floral clothes, came dressed up in a plaid shirt and pair of jeans one day to school. The BB told me, "Everyone was laughing looking at her, but I did not, because Mrs.XYZ, would feel hurt." I hugged the boy so tight, I might have bruised a couple of his ribs.This is the same boy who refused to squirt other kids with a water gun, when the came to play Holi with us, because they were younger than him, and he did not think it was right to hurt them. The Smallie, all of three an half, hugs children who are crying in his swimming lessons or his kindy, is kind to them and tries to include them in his own play, and I can see the empathy budding in him. My children are not perfect, and nor am I a perfect parent. There are plenty of screaming situations, but this is one point in their development that is very close to my heart, and I am very happy to see my efforts and principles, along with huge blessings from God, bearing fruit. Did I mention the PM is not allowed to kill the big spiders inhabiting our garden?
It did not happen in a day, but has been based on rearing them on a principle of understanding that everyone has the same feelings as them. Hitting would hurt the body and meanness would crush the spirit of others, just as much as it would their own. Just a simple understanding of that, removes all likelihood of turning out to be a person with scant respect and care for others. I think charitable acts of love and kindness in our daily life, speaks volume more than official acts of donation and charity. Love comes from the heart, not from money. When the heart is in the right place, money is but a small object. If you want a child to grow up to be kind and loving, teach them, that their acts don't have consequences,not just for them, but for others as well, and to adopt the simple principle,
Do unto others, when you want others to do to you.
Make your sunshine, shine as bright as the sun for the whole world, as well!
And if I can just add, if we as adults, could just look at the affect of our actions and words, from the other end as well, we would all be kinder nicer people, living in a world filled with love and empathy.