Be Parents, Not Superheroes...(good read)

Keeping their children happy but disciplined is one of the toughest challenges that today's parents are bound to face. When we have kids, we are always wondering 'how do it right'. But in that endeavor, we often slip into a 'Superhero' mode instead of being a normal human being who can make mistakes. This unrealistic ambition of doing everything 'right' for the child makes parents too anxious and too lost. And soon we start controlling our children and the situations they are in, as much as we can. Unfortunately, in spite of our best intentions, this kind of approach does not do much good to us or our children.

If you sometimes feel this way (and believe me, you are bound to do so if you are a parent), it is time to reflect on yourself and your parenting style. Here are some common parenting traps that many people fall into, deluding themselves to believe that they are 'Superheroes' and not just the father or mother of their children. Let's take a close look at them and what kind of changes you can bring in yourself and in your parenting style to help them lead a happier and more productive life.

Why so serious?

The responsibility of nurturing your kids from infancy to adulthood often weighs down parents and you feel a lot of pressure because you want to do the 'right' things. You don't want to make any mistake. Relax, good parenting will come to you like all other things you have learnt and perfected over time. Don't be too harsh on yourself and focus on creating a healthy and friendly bond with your children. Forget that you are burdened with a big responsibility. Rather, live every moment of it and experience the joy of being a parent, bringing up your children.

Be present in the moment and live the glorious moments of parenthood.

Don't do things for your children mechanically. This is often seen among the new-age parents. They wake up with a to-do list of what all they have to do for their kids today. In their desire to complete that all-important to-do list, they are never present in the moment as they are always too busy. For example, when dropping their kids to school, the modern-day moms are often worried about what to cook for them, what to make for their latest SUPW projects, when to pick up new clothes, etc.

But if you are so deep in thought, organizing scores of things in your mind, do you have the time to pay attention to your kids? As a parent, you are losing precious time and moments if you are always busy with the to-do list. Instead, be with the children, enjoy the moment, and talk to them. That way, both you and your kids will have a great time.

Let your kids make their own mistakes.

This is more relevant for parents who have growing kids (those who are stepping into teenage or are tweenies). Vey often, being a parent makes us believe that we know what is right for our children. In other words, we forget that children have a right to make their own mistakes and learn from them. Sometimes, we feel that if we teach our kids all of our life lessons, we'll save them the pain and fall we had suffered. But it doesn't work like that. If learning from others' mistakes is the best way to learn, we would not be making mistakes any more, not after thousands of years of human existence.

An occasional anecdote here and there is good enough, but don't waste the precious time you get with your children by hammering in your teachings. Instead, focus on creating an environment of learning. Encourage them to read books and then ask their opinion. For instance, rather than reiterating that "sharing is good", let them experience it by spending time with other children and sharing their toys with them.

The point is: It is good to share your experience with your children and what you think, in a given situation. But after that, let them decide what they want to do. This will not only give them confidence to decide for themselves, but will also make them feel more responsible for their actions, thus shaping them into better adults.

Stop doing your child's homework

Well, this one is quite a fad among the 'so-called' learned, modern-day parents. It is surprisingly funny and sad to see moms competing with each other on who can do their kids' homework or science projects better. But are you doing it just because you want your kids to get good grades? Or are you trying to fulfill your own childhood dream of getting the teacher's (and others') praise? If you honestly answer this question and the reply is 'yes', you need to take a step back and let your children study on their own. Whatever be the real reason for doing your kids' projects and homework, it won't help them learn things as they should. So, learn to take a step back and let the children be in-charge.

Don't be helicopter parents

Loads of times, parents feel a constant need to hover over their children - they feel too anxious to protect the kids from any problem. But this behavior is highly counter-productive. Let your children be independent and self-reliant. If you constantly worry over them and do everything for your kids, it is likely to slow down their learning and affect their self-esteem.

There are several simple chores like cleaning the house, folding the clothes, doing the dishes, etc., where kids can easily help and should be encouraged. This will enable them to learn new things, act more responsibly, and feel important at being wanted.

No comparison, please! Just nurture their uniqueness.
Parents often fall into this trap, mostly with the intention to make the child feel competitive and do better. But more often than not, it badly affects your kid's sense of self-worth. Never compare a child with others, especially siblings/cousins/friends' or neighbors' kids.

Do remember that every child is a unique individual and not an extension of your own self. They are uniquely talented and special in their own ways. Celebrate the individuality of every child and do not burden him/her with comparisons or your own dreams and aspirations. Take some time out to observe, understand, and talk about your child's interests and dreams. Blind comparison will only create an inferiority complex and in some cases, even depression. Instill the confidence in your kids that it is perfectly okay to be different from others. Focus on helping them understand the life choices they can make and then let them make their own decisions, instead of going behind the herd.

Don't impose rules; lend them your ears.

Someone rightly said that parents should get off their high horse now and then. They were just born earlier, have larger bodies, and due to more years on the planet, know some survival techniques.

Avoid being dictatorial with your children on rules and regulations. Yes, it's important to lay down some guidelines and ground rules to help the kids understand how to live a fulfilling and productive life. But don't stifle them with your concepts of life. In fact, invite their suggestions and listen to what they have to say when you discuss a specific situation. You may be surprised at what you hear and learn a few things yourself.

Let them retain their innocence; there's no hurry to grow up.

Once an adult, always an adult. Value the innocence of your kids and don't force them to grow up too soon. Ask yourself, what's the rush? Is it the ambition trap or peer pressure? Is it because all your colleagues are trying to make their kids super brilliant through extra tuitions and grooming lessons? Let your children enjoy their childhood years. The time will never come back once it's gone.

In fact, you should spend some time with yourself and reflect how you are playing the role of a parent. Try and ascertain whether it is good for you and your child. If the answer is 'no' at times, don't go on cursing yourself for being a bad parent. Be aware, accept, and adapt yourself to your children's needs. And remember, your kids do not need a superhero (there are too many around, already). They are only looking for their parents in you and that's all you need to be. more  

This is a wonderful article. The things mentioned here are the actual things we end up doing as parents.very informative article thanks a lot more  
Probably, Arvind Kejriwal needs to read your article to comment better. more  
Ms. Jain... I strongly believe that your an excellent parent and teacher too. Hats off to you for your findings and research..... more  
Excellent and thought provoking.We parents at times in our anxiety to be super role models for our children put avoidable pressure on ourselves as well as on children.We overindulge in doing either each and every thing for children and hence becoming obstacles in their natural development or we leave everything on children making them vulnerable.
I am reminded of adopting different Leadership styles while dealing with our reportees which can be interpolated for parenting styles also. more  
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