Survival tips for the harassed parent
From the moment someone in a lab coat said ‘Congratulations, you’re pregnant!’. I was a mother. I didn’t have to feel, see or be able to touch my baby; just the thought that I was responsible for bringing this human being into the world changed my frame of mind forever. Since these moments, we have never looked back, we have gone on to have four beautiful children but parenthood is not always a hallmark card, it’s not all cutesy and cuddly giving was all heart-warming feelings at the end of the day.
Truth be told, it’s a hard slog. It’s not the number of children you have, you can one or twenty, it is the fact that you are solely responsible for safely moulding this human being into an admirable citizen of society which makes it a tremulous task. These cuddly babies grow up to be insolent children who talk back, misbehave and have you climbing the walls at the end of the day in utter frustration. Sometimes a conversation with my daughter about school can have me going through a multitude of emotions in a few minutes. In what other situation or which person would leave us in such a state. No one other than our children. Unfortunately there isn’t a magic wand or a pill to take to make everything miraculously easy and stress free. This is life and as life dictates the things we cherish the most we have to work hard for. But we are clever enough to ensure that we remain smiling as we walk through the landmine filled territory of parenting. In reality, our parenting era is a short period in our lives, our children are born, and they grow and soon are adults. Therefore it is important that even though it is hard in the early years of parenting we hold our heads up high and weather the ensuing battles.
Here are some ways in which you can bring out the joy in parenting:
1. If you want your kids to behave and have good values be a good role model yourself. This is the easiest way to do it, you can spend hours on end verbally drilling your little one about how they should behave, which will be in one ear and out the other. But as children do best, they watch and copy what you do.
2. If your spouse and you are having relationship troubles don’t air your grievances out in front of the children. Do not attempt to complain about your spouse to your children. It is after all their father or mother. These little dis-harmonies disrupt your child’s perception of family life and establishes deep seated problems that will have drastic effects in their later adult life.
3. Respect your children; if you are wrong say you’re wrong. It doesn’t always have to be a military dictatorship in your house where what you say goes. Give your children some autonomy they will respect you for it and in turn you will give them bundles of confidence for later life.
4. Always treat each of your children equally. Understand that they are unique in their own right and with some you might have to parent differently than others. But in each case, make sure that you love them unconditionally and you will always be there to support them as parents. Love is a powerful tool and knowing that they are loved will give children that added push to better themselves.
5. Remember that in the scheme of life, you only get to parent these little ones for a short time before they leave and start families of their own. So do not stress too much about the fact that your three year old has scribbled over your white washed walls or the T.V has once again been taken apart by your ever inquisitive son. These little disasters are not the end of the world, but if we get caught up in them too much, our parenting chance will have come to an end and we would have missed all the good bits.
Being a parent is a gift that life has given you. The beauty of it is that you can either complain about the choice of present and spend years wallowing about your situation or you can enjoy your children. You can enjoy the grubby little kisses, the fierce hugs and the little ‘I love mum’ that they write on your kitchen table. It’s a beautiful thing, parenthood, a dramatic masterpiece, with yourself the constant victorious hero.