Delicate parenting

is something I come across many a time.

I  understand that as parents of toddlers who cannot stand up for themselves when placed in an unfavourable situation, it is the duty of the guardians to support them and teach them to stand up for themselves. However, the important part here is teaching the child to hold his/her own rather than conveying the message that the parent/guardian will fight the child's battles or that every little thing that does not go in the child's favour needs to be taken seriously.

But, these are exactly the things I see some parents do. The child falls down mildly and the mother rushes to pick the child up (even if the child is old enough to pick himself up) and smother him/her with concerns. Or, the child is hurt due to a playmate's playful prank and the mother sure enough flies off the handle. Now, if the child is really hurt, I can understand the anxiety on the mother's part. More often than not, the child is simply testing whether the mild discomfort (in both the examples mentioned) needs ratification. Once ratified, the message conveyed is very clear to the child: things are supposed to go my way, else create an issue out of it and mom/dad will make all Ok.

It really irks me to see a child turn into a complain box each time something goes awry in play or create a ruckus because of a slight nudge or push by a fellow mate. Even more irksome is when the mother rushes, consoles and pacifies the crying child and admonishes the other errant kid who in all probability was engrossed in play and never intended to hurt.

As a parent I very well know that to see your kid being overpowered by his peers or be at an unfavourable position in play is not a pleasant thing. The first instinct is to use your adult judgement and power to intervene and balance out the situation. But, in my opinion, by doing so, you are denying the child the chance to assess the situation for himself. Instead of empowering the child to fight for his due right, you are crippling him by doing his job for him.

I have been in both the situations when R has been at the receiving end and giving end. Both are equally unpleasant situations to be in. In the first one, I try as much as possible to let R deal with the situation by himself and only when situation seems to go out of control, do I intervene. In second of course, I jump in right away and admonish R for hurting another child, even if it was all in play. But kids will be kids and there will be some rough play too. It is very draining to be alert and on your toes all time to see if another kid will be nudged, pushed or pulled by your offspring.

Sometimes, unless the play is trending into dangerous grounds, you have to just ignore and let the kids be.

33 comments:

  1. So true. I've always been on the receiving end (!!) but even then do not butt in unless there seems to be something serious. Have also been guilty of never rushing to pick up my kids when they fall down - many a time its some other aunty or uncle who does the honours :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes it is good to butt in when they are at the receiving end just to show them that the situation asks to defend themselves but when it becomes a routine, they start to rely more on us than themselves. And, trivial issues need to be ignored at all times.
      Oh! I am guilty of not rushing to pick up too :-)

      Delete
  2. Good one. Parents actually or treading on the line between over-doing and under-doing when it comes to kids. It is a very difficult position to be in but then again parenthood comes with the whole package.

    Until later,
    Keirthana :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am still learning that balance. At times I feel I leave R too much to himself and it is unfair...but I think he'll learn...hopefully.

      Delete
  3. Parenting is one quite a tricky ride for sure .. Lots of grey areas there .. And so is growing up :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes, Aarthy..parenting is a very tough job...and it doesn't come with a manual for reference too :-0

      Delete
  4. I have noticed this bit about kids reacting more if we rush in and smother them with attention.. my lil' one does it all the time.. and we've learnt to brush it off..never realized parenting was so darn difficult !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Bhargavi, so nice to see you here after so long! How are you doing and how's the little one? I'm sure she must be keeping you on your toes :-)

      Delete
  5. Yet to reach that stage. I am still contemplating my parenting moves... taking lessons from parents like you... m scared now! brr! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. *gulp* taking lessons from me??...that's a huge pressure...please cross check all that I write here ;-)

      Delete
    2. I am generally reading a lot on the parenting bit, Uma. I am gathering all that I possibly can. Different people have different versions and each seem correct. It helps me widen my perspective. You are one among them. So thanks for all this! :)

      Delete
  6. :) :) Parenting isn't an easy task! Ignoring kids and letting them be isn't easy either :) Kudos to those who manage to strike a balance early!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's difficult to strike that balance and even more difficult to maintain it..every situation is different and so is every parent and child, so losing the balance is more easy than finding it!

      Delete
  7. It is extremely difficult not to intervene especially if your kid is on the receiving end. It's not easy not to do anything but watch how they resolve the issue amongst themselves. Even when my 2 kids are fighting with each other at home and I deem one of them is unfair and try to intervene they gang up against me!! So I leave them well alone.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. True, Vibha..if the situation is serious and your child needs help, do butt in by all means. I am only trying to say that every trivial thing need not be magnified with adult intervention. And, actually, kids do sort it out better amongst themselves.

      Delete
  8. I am so opposite, Uma. Many times I felt, I wish I responded more. When Rushi was 4 yrs old, he fell in a swimming pool and a parent took him out. The swimming pool door is always locked and I don't know how he entered. A lady comes running while I sit in the sofa and ask, did he fall by himself or did any kids push him? It wasn't after a couple of minutes that it struck me what has happened :) But now, he is almost 10, we are tired of his complaints...ugh!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. :-)..true, latha..we might seem a little complacent in comparison...:-)

      Delete
  9. I completely agree with you... I often see parents(generally mothers) jump in to resolve trivial fights among kids... even I feel kids should be given a chance to handle such situations themselves until and unless the situation goes completely out of control..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly what I am trying to say, Radhika! :-)

      Delete
  10. Very rightly said Uma. As long as you can hold yourself back, you should and let the kids sort out things on their own.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you share my views, Jas..:-)

      Delete
  11. So true! Wonderfully written, Uma!

    ReplyDelete
  12. You have penned it so aptly Uma. Teaching a child the difference between aggression & assertion is a tricky job :)

    Check out my post on similar theme:
    http://nibedita-bose.blogspot.in/2013/03/hit-back-or-not.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I read your post and commented too, Nibedita! :-)

      Delete
  13. I agree but while in that situation as a parent now, i feel this doesnt cross our mind and all we want is to ensure our child is safe. I think we as parents are manipulated a lot by our kids and always our love for them takes over everything else.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sure, Biju..if our child is in some danger or is about to be seriously hurt, the reaction will naturally be totally different. I am only alluding to trivial instances that also tend to be blown out of proportion at times by over-indulgent parents.

      Delete
  14. My thoughts are on similar lines Uma and yes, during every visit to the playground I see some parents behaving childishly!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jayashree, I have seen many a friendship between mothers break because their kids fought with/hit each other...

      Delete
  15. Do I even need to comment ? :D

    ReplyDelete
  16. "Delicate" parenting is a very delicate way to put it Uma, I would have thought of many more adjectives ;). Over-indulgent is the one that comes to mind.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha, Aparna..true..overindulgent is probably more like it.

      Delete

Would love to hear from you :-)
Also, please click the subscribe by Email link below the comment form to get follow-up comments to your inbox..