The sign of great parenting is not the child’ behaviour,
The sign of truly great parenting in the parent’s behaviour.
– Andy Smithson
My father has a very special love for animals. Every house we have lived in, he would manage to feed some or the other animal. At our last house it was a cat, in the latest one it ‘s birds. Sparrows, pigeons, parrots…many can be seen chirping around all through the day but mostly, it is the little cute devils, sparrows. Some days back I noticed one of them building a nest – straw by straw, tirelessly. (though was it one or a couple building it, I would not know; they all look the same to me). I saw the nest being completed, then eggs were laid, the mother sitting around and then heard a chirping of a different decibel. Small and sharp. The chicks were out and then one day, what I saw was a beautiful, lovely sight.
The mother bird was teaching the chicks to fly. The little fellows kept falling but the training was relentless. And at the end of it the chicks metamorphosed into individual sparrows.
The mother sparrow is still around. The kid sparrows are around too. But I don’t see the mother get them food. Though she used to when they were in the nest.
And this is one of the things that I love about the animal kingdom. Be it birds or any four legged beast, their parenting style makes so much sense. They give life to their young ones, nurture them but don’t fend for the young ones once they are big enough to do so. They don’t mark any territory for their sons and daughters. They don’t defend them when the kids have grown into individuals. Mostly importantly they let their young ones fall. They watch them fall but don’t move an inch to pick them up. They allow their kids to chart our their own life journeys.
And this is exactly what is wrong with human parenting. A lot of parents do not know when to let go. The love is so much that the attachment levels far exceed healthy relationship requirements and the attention levels are near obsessive. A trend much more prevalent in the current generation of parents for obvious reasons.
Unlike the generation of our parents, the current generation had much lowered levels of sexual health. Making a baby has in itself become a task. A child is conceived after much efforts, trails and tribulations. In many cases involving medications and at times even surgery. The child is so precious that it becomes the centre of the couple’s existence, their inter-personal relationship changes, sometimes the marriage even goes for a toss but the child still remains the centre. And this is the point where parents start damaging their own offspring.
Parents do not own up to this and possibly they don’t even realise that when they are over protective about their child, over concerned and eventually over possessive, they are damaging their child beyond repair. The child never learns life skills, is unable to cope up beyond the boundaries of the parental support, is forever dependent especially emotionally, has zero decision making skills and never develops survival instincts in relationships.
There is this story I really want to narrate here:
Once when a worm was hatching out of its cocoon, a man happened to witness this. He sees the worm struggle mammothly against the shell. While there were other worms too struggling to come out, he takes a kind fancy to this particular worm. To ease its struggle, the man breaks a part of its shell. What happened next is the biggest lesson in parenting.
The other worms struggled to get out but they eventually did and flew away as beautiful butterflies. But the worm he helped, by breaking the shell, never flew.
Why you ask? The strength that would have developed in its wings while struggling out of the shell did not. It stayed a piece of slimy moth, crawling for existence all its life.
Dear obsessive parent, this is what you do to that piece of your soul.
Do you know every time you have said that your child took a particular decision because her friend from the next block must have influenced her or your child thinks a certain way because her colleague is a bad influence on her, you have done nothing but shattered her faith in herself. You have made her ask:
Why doesn’t mom think that I can take decisions, too? Am I that bad? Am I always wrong?
Please do your child a favour. Be an animal. Practice responsible parenting. Let them seek their journeys. Let them fall. Watch them get up. Let them make mistakes. Watch them become wise. Don’t break them, help them make themselves.
Offer your wisdom. Please don’t offer your hand.