Teaching kids to make the right choices in life is one of the toughest jobs we have to do as parents. And every parent wants to do it right. Yes, because you don’t want to intentionally screw your child. No parent does. Life will take care of that in one way or the other anyway.
But you know what puzzles me?
How do we teach all the right things to kids when we, the parents, might not necessarily be doing the right things ourselves?
So, do we lie? Do we not practice what we preach? What is it?
I know I’m not perfect. Far from it actually. As a kid, I remember pouring my glass of milk out of my window. Yes, just to avoid drinking it. And I’m practically the same person, only older. So, how am I going to teach M the right things, something like drinking milk is good for her?
I’ll probably have to lie. Because I clearly cannot practice what I preach. So, again, do parents lie to teach their kids the right things?
If you ask me, I think yes we lie a lot. Sometimes subconsciously and sometimes very very consciously. White lies most of it but still. Don’t believe me? Well, let’s talk more and then you decide.
Some observations from a not so perfect parent. #MommyTalks #Parenting Click To Tweet
Just the other day I was telling M that she should eat more fruits as they are good for her. The fact is she just doesn’t like to have fruits at all. She has rejected every possible fruit I have given her. Mangoes to Kiwis, you name it and it’s on her rejection list. The only fruit I have managed to get her to eat are Bananas. Well, so far. Thank God for that. But while I was coaxing her, urging her and lecturing her on the benefits of having fruits, I realised how fake I was. Yes, the truth is I hardly eat any fruits myself. The only fruit which you’ll probably see me having happily and willingly is a pineapple. So, see what I mean, when I say it’s tricky being a parent? We have to get our kids to do things which we might not necessarily do ourselves.
The same thing with vegetables. M doesn’t like having greens or for that matter any other vegetable. Truth is I don’t like vegetables either. But at least, in this case, I eat them as I’m too lazy to cook fish for myself every single day. However, I still have to teach her to eat vegetables as they are good for her while I might never follow through on that willingly myself.
Then there is my all-time favourite pastime of her oral hygiene. I keep forcing her to brush her teeth twice daily. Truth be told, once is enough for me unless of course brushing my teeth more than once gets her to brush hers. So, when I’m urging her to brush twice daily, I’m also thinking would I have done it without being coxed so much myself.
There are days when she comes home and tells me how so and so child pushed her. The immediate reaction in my head is to ask her if she pushed back. But do I voice that? No. Instead, I tell her that she should have sought her caretaker at the daycare and perhaps even told the kid to not push her. What would I have done as a kid? I would probably have pushed back but can I teach that to my child? I don’t think so. Not openly, of course. See what I mean? I guess parenting is about controlling our impulses or what comes naturally to us and then doing or saying what is ‘right’.
Then there is the whole shebang with feeding her. I want to teach M to eat without casting rhymes on the television or playing the same on my phone. But do you know something, I cannot have my dinner without watching some series or the other myself? It’s my way of relaxing so why am I not being honest with her? Is this a parent thing?
I try to teach her to respect all elders but do I respect all elders myself? Of course, not. I think respect is earned through actions and words not automatically inherited. But at least for beginners, I cannot tell that to her right away.
The other day when M didn’t get her favourite seat on the bus home, she kept crying nonstop so much so that the poor woman on it got up to let her sit. I, of course, didn’t let M sit there even after that and in fact made her apologise to that lady. But do you know a secret? Sometimes I too get really annoyed when I don’t get my desired seat on the bus for various reasons. Yes, just like a child only I can’t make a fuss about it like M.
So, you see how much of trickery this thing called parenting is at least in those initial couple of years. As she grows up, I will perhaps be able to discuss the nuances of life and of behaviour in general. I can discuss the exceptions and let her decide. But for now, I think it’s all hogwash to ensure she gets the right base to start with.
What do you think? Have you ever done something similar?