If you’re like me, you have already read a hundred different articles about right parenting and how to raise your child right. They talk about nurturing, instilling empathy, promoting kindness and so on. But honestly who doesn’t nurture their children. I have seen abusive parents stories on Mindhunters but I personally do not know any parent who doesn’t “nurture” their child.
I always take pride in having a well behaved child. We call him the “zero maintenance” child! And so it came as a shock when we recently encountered a situation where he misused a feature in his online music lessons. Though what he did was definitely wrong, we also realized it’s still his innocence that led him to this mistake.
In this digital age, we can’t really blame our kids for being hooked to technology. What can we do? The Corona hit us and we were forced to keep him home and attend classes online. So we are basically forcing them to be addicted to technology. My son has a huge interest in music so although we try as much as possible to keep him away from explicit language used in chartbuster songs, he’s bound to hear it from somewhere. And since kids are humans just like us, they are intrigued and want to do anything that we forbid them to.
So, the case in point is, my son wanted to explore the feel of writing a few explicit words that grown ups and cool musicians keep using. He wanted to spell it himself and feel big and cool. What shows his innocence is that instead of using a google doc or email, he typed these words into the chat window of his online call with his music teacher. The teacher later saw the chat history and informed us.We thought someone had hacked into his account! But bless his heart, he confronted us and told us the truth and admitted to doing it. We were definitely appalled at this behavior and reprimanded him and grounded him for 2 weeks. But we also praised him for the bravery he has shown by telling us the truth.
Later at night when my husband and I were talking,we were honestly feeling relieved that he didn’t type these inappropriate words in school or even worse, a google doc like I suggested above, and we would never know.
How can we monitor 24/7 all that they are exposed to while attending the online classes alone for almost 7 hours everyday! Then there’s Ipad and XBox. So, believe it or not, we are the ones spoiling our children.
This incident was a wake up call for me. I have honestly really been proud of my parenting, but this situation made me rethink.
What if there’s something actually missing? My husband and I believe in raising him realistically. We can’t keep ear muffs on him always! He hears his school van driver cursing, he listens to Post Malone and Justin Beiber. Although he hears the radio-edited versions, he’s an almost ten year old who knows to rhyme and figure it out in a moment what explicit word could actually fit in there.
I also realized now my son is growing up and entering the pre-teen phase and I need to up my game here. So over the last few weeks I have been talking to him about treating everyone around especially girls with respect. I’m a self proclaimed feminist so I have always kept him away from patriarchy and taught him consent in a manner that’s appropriate for him. I also looked back on my parenting mistakes and admitted to him that teasing him for having a girl as his best friend. I should’ve never done that. We need to normalize friendships, dating, sex etc. as much as possible. I don’t remember who it was but I do remember telling one of our friends whose daughter and my son were hanging out a lot and I teased him in front of those parents and said “I think my son has an eye on your daughter”. We all laughed it off, but that was so wrong! If those parents are reading my blog today, I really apologize for that comment!
We tease our children about having a boyfriend/girlfriend when they are small and innocent and then lash out at them when they are actually big enough to date!
I’m glad I could think of this at least now! Kids don’t come with a handbook of instructions. We all learn as it goes, both kids and us as parents.
There are some things I’ve definitely done right too; I keep my son from falling prey to toxic masculinity. If someone tells him “boys don’t cry”, I immediately correct it. Just because he’s a boy, it doesn’t mean he can’t show his emotions! He has every right to express his feelings.
Another one is, my son has ADHD and somehow, a sense of touch calms him and gives him an assurance he is safe without his parents. And so he holds his friend’s hand irrespective of whether it’s a boy or girl. So I explained to him how this might calm him but also might make someone else uncomfortable. This is when I explained “consent” in a subtle manner. I told him to hold his friend’s hand only after asking their permission and how this is necessary for anytime we use something that belongs to others.
I feel good that I learned something and corrected it and also taught my son a few things.
“Raising kids” is a tough learning process for parents as “being kids” is to kids! There’s no right form of parenting. But we can definitely try to do the right thing. If not mastering at least understanding the rights and wrongs.
Right parenting is not only when we correct our children but ourselves too. Talking to them about your insecurities and what you think you’ve done wrong, apologizing to them when necessary are all forms of nurturing! Remember they are always watching you and learn by example.
I can only speak of my experiences but I would love to hear some of your “correcto mundo” or "eureka" and “oops” moments of parenting. I would also encourage my friends with daughters to share their story and their take on right parenting.
I would like to encourage you to tag friends both inside and outside of our blog family.
Let those parenting stories flow :)