Ever since I gave birth to my lovely baby girl over 9 months ago, I have been reveling in the blessings of life that motherhood brings. It has been a privilege to attend to her needs, love, comfort and soothe her, and to always be there for her. To be fair, I admit I have indulged (or rather over-indulged) in mindless hoarding of baby items – clothing, toys, accessories et al. However, very soon, realization dawned and I discovered myself in the same pitfalls of parenting that most other peers of my day and age suffer from. While it may be easy to justify every action from a personal standpoint, the fact is that our children are growing up in a world of excesses.
As a parent, I often question myself on the upbringing I am giving my daughter. However, given the chance, I would perhaps make the same mistakes over and over again. Not to mention, that as a responsible parent, I’m also consciously working on eliminating the excesses from her life so as to gift her a head-start that she can be proud of someday. Here’s the list of errors:
1.Too many things
More often than not, these days, a child has “too many” of everything. Be it clothes or toys or anything that she would need (or maybe not need). Pardon me, here I am not delving upon the affluence of the parents. I live in Singapore, where affordability usually is not an issue. More so, even in India, where I come from, most of my friends and relatives are well endowed. My daughter herself has too many things. Many of her clothes are “never repeated”, a lot of her toys are “seldom played with” and a few of her accessories / booties / caps are “never worn”. My fear is she will probably not value things as she will always have more things than she needs.
2. Buying in anticipation of need
This is a tricky one. I would say sometimes it is inevitable to buy something before it is required. This saves us the trouble or hassle of frenzied last minute rushing to buy the much-needed item. But most other times, we aspire for our children to have the desired thing, so we go ahead and buy it, only to painfully regret the futility of the exercise.
3.Meticulous micro-planning and organizing
We’ve been trained to think that planning and organizing is effective, and time and cost efficient. While there is a decent amount of truth in that belief, it does kill spontaneous and impulsive ideas. When children grow and evolve, they may or may not fall in line with their parents’ plans or growth path. During those times, it is very difficult for parents to let go of their own school of thought and start afresh.
4.Providing an over-protective environment
Safety comes first. There is no harm in ensuring that our child learns and plays in a protective environment. But often, we go over the top and the lines blur. We become paranoid about our child’s safety and as a result, deprive our juniors of risk-taking, adventure and learning the hard way.
5.The most common of all devils – Comparison
Much can be discussed and debated on this note. But usually, the cons outweigh the pros. A child’s self-esteem is very crucial to his or her healthy growth. Comparing a child’s developmental milestones or physical attributes to another, more so a sibling, can often lead to a loss of confidence and diminished sense of self. Even mothers are adversely affected by comparison, in that they take a negative comparison personally and discredit their own style of upbringing.
6.Over-exposure to new-age media like the notebooks, think-pads and smart phones
Like most other pitfalls, this one deals with the excesses. Some exposure is inevitable, considering the indispensable place these gadgets hold in our own lives. But not being able to enforce rules for the children to follow regarding the usage of these electronic addictives, can lead to massive tantrums and tearful outbursts.
7.Being plain insensitive or ignorant
Every input counts. Right from the time a baby is conceived, every thought or feeling the mother goes through affects the baby. Loud arguments, bouts of anger and mood swings, feelings of helplessness and distraught have a deep ranging negative impact on the baby’s personality. On the other hand, nourishing and positive thoughts, kind and loving words and good deeds and action can help a baby form a strong foundation in life.
To sum it up, by recognizing these pitfalls and avoiding them whenever and wherever possible, we will be doing our children a huge favour. We need not essentially compare our own upbringing and become too old-fashioned, but we do have a thing or two to learn from the way our parents brought us up.
To be happy with the things I have, and to have a bit less in order to yearn for things I need. To wait for things in life, rather than having them thrust upon me beforehand. To live each day as it comes and to experience the thrill of spontaneity. To learn by taking risks and falling in order to rise again. To be happy with who I am, because I am a unique and beautiful creation of God. To lead a simple life, go outdoors and smell the roses. To be aware that every feeling, word and action of mine impacts others around me. These are a few of my favourite things.