Parenting Isn’t So Apparent.

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I wonder how different things would be if people were able to gauge their parenting skills with some type of metric. Something similar to a report card which provides grades and feedback. Let’s face it, nobody has child-rearing down pat because most of it is based on experiences along with a sense of feeling-our-way-through. I suppose the same can be said about relationships and life in general.

Bottom line is, we try our best with what we’ve got.

Laila turned 9 last month and I still kinda can’t believe it. She is and will forever be my greatest joy because she enhances the quality of my existence. It’s been a real blessing being able to watch her grow into this lovely lady. As she continues to mature, it’s more important than ever to be open and honest with her.

Laila and I have already engaged in conversations about real issues such as morality, mortality and ethics. It’s amazing that she actually enjoys the intellectual stimulation because she’ll ask me to continue with the probing questions to get her thinking on a deeper level. This actually makes my heart sing.

Anytime she asks me about anything, I do my best to be as truthful as possible. I don’t believe in “dumbing down” for the sake of keeping kids quiet just to avoid waves because they understand so much more than they let on.  For now, I try to keep it G rated by sparing the intricate details for a later time. I don’t want to overwhelm or misinform her but she is perfectly capable of a healthy dose of truth serum. We live in a complex world and it’s in everyones best interest to raise that awareness.

Sheltering or coddling children from the harsh realities of life only prevents them from developing resiliency. Teaching kids to wear rose-coloured glasses only instills fear and a feeling of incompetency. We all get knocked down from time to time because people lose jobs, loved ones die and hearts get broken.

In all cases, life does goes on.

Freedom is another strong undercurrent in my approach to handling my child. Bad things happen when you cut off or stifle someone’s breathing space. I was able to witness the side effects of restrictions and imprisonment that some people I know have had to face. For the person being held hostage, their only concern is to break free from the imposed shackles. At this point, they don’t care about what’s waiting for them on the other side as their only mission is to flee. In many cases, they end up living life in the fast lane because they are on the run.

Looking back, I really had an abnormal amount of freedom. I never felt like I had to fight for that luxury and that’s exactly what it is. I am grateful that I was allowed to use my brain to make my own decisions. I took complete responsibility, dealt with the outcome and moved on. Sure, I fell flat on my face more than a few times but all good.

My parents divorced when I was 10, it was rough at times but good thing they called it quits. My brother and I ended up with mom and dad was always close by. Neither of my parents are strict but my brother could’ve benefited from wholesome guidance. I managed okay because I have a natural independent streak so I always took it upon myself to keep things in-check. I never needed someone constantly nudging me along. In fact, that’s a surefire way to get on my nerves but some people need that “reassurance”.

Different strokes for different folks!

I’ll admit there is absolutely nothing conventional about the way I grew up. For starters, I didn’t have home cooked meals and my first birthday party didn’t happen until I was 16. All things considered I give myself a pat-on-the-back for being a productive member of society without undergoing years of extensive therapy.

The funny part in all of this is that things can go in any direction despite our best efforts. I know people who had a stable upbringing yet still managed to deviate and vice versa. I wish there is a magic formula to successful parenting but there’s no telling how things will turn.

Whatever happens, just don’t forget about the child.