Yet another interesting conversation this week!
Was at dinner with a good friend and we were of course discussing about my daughter (what else!). I was telling her that I’m keen she grows up to have an open mind, be honest and vocal about her views – not opinionated but she shouldn’t shy away from speaking her mind. Guess that’s my deep seated need that she doesn’t turn out to be like ‘me,’ – always careful about what I say and to whom – all the mumbo-jumbo about ‘scared of being judged’ etc.
My friend isn’t married nor does she have children – but she does have many friends with children. She dotes on them and is always buying them gifts – its her way of being a part of their growing up years.
She heard me and said, ‘you know the biggest difficulty with modern parents is that they want to be friends instead of parents!’
Really? I asked her to explain.
She said, ‘ I’ve seen so many of my friends, in their effort to be ‘unlike their own parents,’ want their children to grow up being independent in their thoughts and actions. Unfortunately when certain situation arise, they’ll force their children to listen to their views because they’re children and don’t know their mind. That’s when the challenge begins. Children are quick to understand and appreciate their parents being their friends with whom they can share and discuss important things. But when these same ‘parents-as-friends’ start behaving exclusively like ‘parents,’ they rebel!’
Hmmm. She had a point. Even with my 9 month old, occasionally I’ve told her, ‘I’m your mother sweetie, you’re not mine – so stop trying to do things I’m asking you not to!’
Now how do you deal with that?! Where do you draw the line?
Another close friend actually explains everything to her child – for every ‘why’, she finds a good explanation. Sometimes she explains things so creatively that even as an adult you’ll want to believe her. She’s my epitome of the kind of mother I’m hoping I can be.
Having said that I’ve also been privy to occasions when she’s unable to make her child understand that sometimes mother and father can go out without her (forget the need to go out!), all ‘whys’ don’t have an answer or perhaps an appropriate answer for her age. During those times, my friend either loses the battle of ‘whys’ or she cancels going out with husband or friends (even though she’s been in desperate need for a break or to balance her marriage with parenthood).
Considering children these days are so smart and receptive, why do I feel that perhaps this might not be the right way to deal with them? Goodness, why is parenthood so difficult?
Hmmm, guess I just need to brace myself to accept that there are no right or wrong answers. Situations will dictate that I be a ‘parent’ or a ‘friend’. Just like in the game of life we change and adapt, parenthood too needs that I simply go with the flow – if something that worked in an earlier situation doesn’t anymore in a new situation, I just need to be flexible and change my stance. But I better be quick on my feet – I’m sure my child too will be smart enough to pick up every nuance in my behaviour!
Good lord, what performance pressure!!!