|"PARENTING GREAT KIDS" BY SHIREEN NAQVI|
Like you, every parent has a dream – that their children grow up to be good human beings. This means about the same for almost all parents with a few variations. Common aspirations include success at studies, in professional life and in marriage.
Even though becoming a parent is easy, living up to being one is tough, or seemingly difficult. Being a mother of two wonderful boys, age 25 and 24, people often ask me and my husband how we managed to raise them to be responsible, kind, honest, loving, giving, energetic and enthusiastic, fun, driven and considerate. Thinking about what we did as parents has helped me come up with the LLLLEDD principles we very naturally practiced.
Too often I have seen parents teaching and preaching virtuous values, yet when it comes to making major decisions in life, they resort to actions based on “what people will say.” The “people say” factor is mostly centered on economic and status considerations and have little to do with the virtues being preached. Again, this creates dissonance and puts integrity at stake.
Besides, any achievement, no matter how small, please encourage your children. Show them your pleasure and how happy they have made you – without the feeling that they owe it to you to make you happy. You do not have to buy them a gift for any or all achievements – just that encouragement is good enough. Another caution – do not make your children dependent on encouragement. The source of motivation must come from the action and not from your encouragement. There is a delicate balance between making them dependent on encouragement, and yet to continuously reaffirm their thoughts, intents and actions.
Again, you can affirm their thoughts and actions by doing what they do. Play cricket, football with them. Get your hands dirty in the sand and mud with them. Play in the rain with them. Climb on jungle jims, walls and trees. Teach them everything - from embroidery, stitching, cooking, typing, dancing to using the drill machine, changing car tyres, hosting guests, shopping, paying bills – but do it with them – hands on; regardless of whether they are a girl or boy. Never say, “you are a girl and cannot do this or that.” Don’t confine your child because of your, or so called, societies narrownesses.
Allow them to make mistakes. Our children are punished enough in schools for making mistakes. Actually, life’s best lessons are learnt from the mistakes we make. Sure they cause damage, but it is all about how a parent handles the situation. From laughing it off at one extreme of the continuum, to allowing a child to make a conscious effort to change it – one thing is for sure, your reaction will determine the value of the learning for the child. Some children will repeat mistakes only to get the attention of their parents even if it means their wrought. That is where parenting is a complete failure.
These seven principles on parenting have helped my children acquire an inner security that has given them self confidence, self respect, self love and trust. Because of this, they are able to trust, respect and love others. It helps them overcome fears; have courage AND consideration in what they do.
Above all, never think or even consider that your children owe you anything. What you do for them as parents you do for yourself. It is entirely for your pleasure. Any thought, act or talk of them having to pay you back later in life, whether in respect, monetarily or in care, and you will wash out any good you have done. Such expectations enslave children, and they end up living with guilt. As a mother, I live with these five words, “My children owe my nothing!” Instead, I owe them everything for the joy they have given me.
Professionally, too, I work intensively with young people. I find them absolutely great. The younger they are, the more spiritual they are. Then we grow up and get corrupted. All humans are endowed with limitless nobility, it is up to us parents to help them have faith in themselves and assist them to learn how to access, extract and live those virtues.