Sunday, January 29, 2017

The Subtle, Confusing, Bewildering Art of Parenting

Everything is not black and white in parenting - that's the thing.

Of course I could be talking about anything at all in life, and not just about raising kids.

There are broad Do's and Don't do's but there is still such a grey area within the realm of Do's:

Where do we draw the line between letting him have his way and keeping him from losing his way?

Between ruining the the child and spoiling the child?

Between neglecting him and pampering him?

Between protecting him and letting him make mistakes?

Between concealing the tragedies of life from him and letting him face the world?

Where is the damn line?

How far do we provide the training wheels? When do we throw him into the water and say, "Swim!" ?

At what point do we say "Do whatever makes you happy!" and at what point do we say "Stop being a baby and do as you're told!"

How do we decide between "He is too young to know what's best for him" and "He should be allowed to do what he likes"?

Am I showering enough love so that he can open up to me when he needs? Am I ignoring him enough so that he learns to be strong inside without depending too much on me?

The answer is, We don't know. We never know.

As parents, pretending to have every answer right in our hands, we have absolutely no clue.

When they grow up, we begin to see signs (I suppose). If only I had cautioned him in time, we think, regretfully. Or, Thank God I thought of compelling him to do that. Or worse, God, what have I done???

To add to our misery, the old woman you despise says, You don't know anything about being a parent. Get as far away from her as possible.

So what do we do? With a million doubts clouding our minds, we take each day as it comes. We rely on our instinct. We fall back on lessons learned while we were growing up, and most importantly, from how we have seen our child grow.  Sometimes we ask others who might know. Their answer may not be the right one for us, but it may open our eyes to options.

Consciously or unconsciously we look ahead, weigh possible choices and take a step forward. Sometimes we get only a split second to make a decision, sometimes we are given days.

We make mistakes, tons of them, sometimes grave ones, sometimes minor. Then we try to retrace our steps or to find our way back to the highway on which we assumed we had been travelling.

And when mistakes do happen, we bang our heads against the wall. Is that going to affect my child?, we ask ourselves over and over. I have tried to fix it, but have I fixed it properly? Will that do? What is my child going to learn from this? 

The bottom line is, no one knows what is right and wrong. We only have opinions. Oh, yes, that we have truckloads of. Which we try to unload on others, but that is another story.

There is black and white in parenting, but that is a small region. It is important to remember that. The greys are all over the place.

And it's the greys that keep us awake at night.


  1. parenting is not an art.its a natural process where we share our culture and civilization we have inherited.when a person doesn't inherit culture/civilisation in its purest form,parenting too will take a hit in wrong direction. parents personality is defined by what they have inherited and it really affects its simple,if parents have lived right way,then you need not fear that your kid can go wrong.since environment around too plays role in shaping kids apart parents,you can see from far how the kid is engaging with the society after inculcating behavior learnt from parents. its really simple,we should always be there for kids but should watch from far and you should be agile when he/she is doing fatal mistake.

    decades back people never talked about parenting like contemporary educated people coz parenting was natural process for them where civilization/culture they have inherited will guide and transform kids into better beings.contemporary society don't have that culture or practices in a family,so people feel parenting as pursing b-school degree.we have too many articles and blogs about parenting which are unnecessary.

    i have learnt what affection is from my mom and what intellect/wisdom is from my dad.a person is not complete human with these motherhood brings kid closer to mom out of affection and father makes existence of kid more noble and his intellect will make kid to think beyond fatherhood is less emotional. here there is nothing like gender superiority,parents play their role to perfection.

    THERE IS DEFINITE RIGHT AND DEFINITE WRONG IN THIS WORLD.people argue that there is no such right or wrong thing cuz people are consumed by selfish/opportunistic nature.according to human dharma there is definite right and definite will know that only when you lead morally right life from childhood.if you did not live by morals/ethics,one will never know what's right n wrong.AM NOT A SPIRITUAL GURU OR RELIGIOUS PERSON AND I DON'T WORSHIP GODS BUT I BELIEVE IN FLAWLESS MIND OF HUMAN.

    its simple,at the end of day, the culture in your house decides kid behavior. we should consider parenting as natural process,then only kids will grow into wholesome beings.

    i have this habit of writing lengthy comments cuz whenever i do something,i do it wholeheartedly and completely and i don't write often and i don't have a blog.

    1. Thanks for sharing your point of view. I hope you are a parent, too?

    2. hmm am not a parent,i have written from the experience my parents were when i was kid.being kid or being parent is same when you know how life works.but most of my relatives are not opting for kids cuz modern kids are leaving their parents at eldercare,so they thought its better to enjoy life themselves instead of investing on kid who don't show same affection when they grow up.since we can't change environment in modern world or we can't have same culture we practised decades back,its better to not to have kids and it will help population control which is already over-crowded.if i get married and plan to have a kid,he/she will be mirror image of me when it comes to behavior cuz i know how a persona evolves with time.when you don't have enough time to dedicate yourself to kids,then its better to not to have will be painful to both kid and parent. why to have a half-cooked dish knowingly,its going to spoil your day.

  2. It is definitely an art, because what the artist finds artistic may not be perceived the same way by others :D

    1. Parenting is like gardening Some nourish a good one with lots of bloom and others keep trying to reach it

  3. Nice one Jeena yes i always think like this. What i did for my elder son dont work for my younger one as the gap is more and we also got matured now we think diffrently now.Hope we are doing right future will tell the answer

    1. Yeah... there is only so much we can do. Thanks for the comment, Sindhu :)