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Parenting Parents…


By Pooja Marwah

So, I have a question…

Most of the people reading this are parents, have parents.

Some live in a large joint setup and some are nuclear.

A few have returned home after years of living solo and then there are some that are caught midway between the stoned paths and the bottles!

But to each his own right?

Coming back to my question – Why do we exercise ownership over each other?

We give birth to children because we want a family with the man/woman we love. We want to create a part of us that we can look at every day and remember our childhood days. Oh and, of course, the family name, heirs, etc., that get added along the way. But, the most important reason to have a child is only because as parents we want a baby to have and to hold.

In all this rigmarole of want and name, somewhere down the line, we forget that our children are their own person too. They have dreams and desires which we as parents inculcate. They have aims and ambitions which we as parents grill into them. So, why is it when we are the ones giving them their wings that we stand with clippers too?

There are so many books on raising children, so many self help guides directing us on the right way to feed them or bathe them or deal with their teenage tantrums. If I were to reverse this role and write a self help on parenting parents, what do you think the children would like to say?

Age does not constitute wisdom, perspective does. I’ve come from a home wherein the elder women used to wear a ‘ghunghat’ in front of the men, to now seeing the same elders in tracks and a top, chilling, having a glass of wine with the same men!

Age does not define your limits, insecurity does. The only thing that is necessary is to have an open mind, almost childlike that is ready to try anything it is shown. I remember hearing as a young mother – ‘don’t let her cycle without the training wheels. She will fall.’ Fall she did… not once, not twice but a lot of times. But she also learnt an important life lesson. No matter how many times you fall… you always get up and try again. Never give up.

Age does not imply whatever you say is correct. A child could also have their own way of looking at things and forming an opinion. And respect is both ways. I have personally been told – ‘Why ask for my choice Ma, when you’re going to feed me what you want to make anyway?’

For all the negativity that the virus has brought around…I seriously am grateful for the little changes it has made in my own outlook.

No relationship in this world can be owned, not even a mother child one. As a parent, one of the most important things I have learnt is to be self-reliant. It is to accept the changing technology and generation and bask in the newness it brings. It is to let the children feel as though they are free to soar as high and far as they want, with the security of knowing that their folks are okay. It is to let them live the life they want, not a figment of the one I couldn’t have.

Parenting is a beautiful journey…. though crazily frustrating too at times… But, I’ve learnt from my pair that the only way to ensure an uninterrupted supply of contentment from the mini versions of me is not to teach them but to show them that their flight of fancy is theirs to enjoy.

(Pooja Poddar Marwah is an award winning author and Blogger. She writes on contemporary living and offers incisive reflections on the world around us. Her blog, Random Conversations is a go to guide to deal with the myriad struggles we face each day.)