We spent time at a near-by beach last Sunday. It was a sunny day with blue skies and white clouds floating away. The kinds where the floating clouds make you dizzy when you look at them for too long.
S and I watched N playing close to the water, digging wet sand, testing how cold the water is with his feet, making friends. He approached a girl, she could be half his age, offered his toys to her; she joined him. They both sat down on the wet sand, quietly playing, chatting in between, smiling. It was a beautiful moment…. the essence of childhood!
Till a year ago I wouldn’t have believed N could sit quietly like this for this long or be gentle and share! I wondered why he was the way he was. Could I have done something different or behaved in a different way when I was pregnant (Trust me, being educated and knowing biology and chemistry doesn’t help at moments like this!)? Could my doing-something-that-I-did when I was carrying him around in my tummy cause him to be so active, naughty, inquisitive, talkative, testing boundaries always? Was the way I was bringing him up the reason for the way he behaved at times??
I struggled to take control of my son – how he talked, ate, sat, behaved. Everything! I felt embarrassed if he did anything that was not “right” as per my definition of “acceptable social behavior”. I used to be upset and felt out of control after any such incidents. It frustrated me to understand why my son couldn’t behave in a particular way and why couldn’t he sit still like that kid on the other table in the restaurant!! My husband tried to reason with me and told me to move on after any “incidents” not to hold them against N or to bother myself too much. He said this is all a part of growing up and learning. I couldn’t understand then. I used to stay upset for a long time.
It took me 4 years to understand and accept this often-used statement “Every child is different”. I did not understand its true meaning till a few months back.
I am not one of those parents who are blinded by adoration for their children. I know N has both good and not-so-good. But now I know as far as I am teaching him to differentiate between the two it will be just fine.
As long as I help him develop a conscience and empathy; and encourage him to use them, he will turn out just fine.
I know there will be days when I wish I could shout out saying “This is not my kid!”. But I also know that it will be just that 1 day; there will also be days when I will be super proud of him and be happy to have him in my life.
I read this in one of the many child psychology books that I have been reading to help myself understand the li’l one better – “When our kids are born and as they are growing we teach them about numbers, letters, addition, division, geography, history etc. They are not expected to know all this at birth. They learn it over the next few years and throughout their life. So then why do we expect them to know how to behave, talk, sit and eat by themselves at a super sonic speed. Social skills also need to be learned and taught over a few years as well as anytime through their adolescence! Why do we expect a kid to “know” it all by themselves and in one go?”
I now know that kids will do stuff that they “should/could/would” and also stuff that they shouldn’t. It is not about why they do it. But to raise good kids it is important how the parents react and what do they do when their kid does something that they shouldn’t!!
I love N more than ever now after I have made peace with this inner struggle and learned to deal with it in a better manner. I shall continue the learning/teaching process and focus on the what-now rather than the why.