We live under the same roof, but we send each other texts filled with love all the time! No, this is not my husband, but my son.
The beginning of my parenting journey was tough. I just accidentally stumbled onto parenting when I was 25, barely an adult myself. But once I started the journey, I realized parenting is like a natural gift and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.
Until my son was born, I paid heed to every advice and opinion I heard. But once he was born, I had already learned the hard way that raising my child is my prerogative. I know best what kind of a child he is, and my parenting will be unique to my child and not like anyone else’s. I think this is the best decision I have ever made because that gave my son the freedom to be himself and not bound by stereotypes.
There is no right or wrong parenting, so whatever advice I got from “seasoned” parents everywhere, I heard them, but only executed what pertained to my child. Each child is unique and so has to be parenting too. There’s no one size fits all!
As my son grew up and his character flourished, I realized he is a sensitive old soul and so he needed to be nurtured delicately.
One thing, I was clear of, I will never have my son be a victim of toxic masculinity.
The Oxford dictionary defines toxic masculinity as a set of attitudes and ways of behaving stereotypically associated with or expected of men, regarded as having a negative impact on men and on society as a whole.
In simpler words, toxic masculinity is raising or conditioning a boy’s or man’s mind to behave in a certain manner that is seen or considered masculine by the society as a whole. For eg. “boys don’t cry”. Anytime someone says that to my son, I tell him that’s not true. He has every right to express his emotions. Be it anger, sadness or happiness, he has to own it all. Suppressing one’s emotions as a child leads to an emotionless and unstable adult later in life. I tell my son to express in every way possible. Being able to cry out a disappointment you face in life, is a huge relief. Similarly, being able to express your love to a loved one is a huge relief for the man and his partner in future.
Some may look down upon my parenting because I cushion my son’s every fall and make life easy for him. That’s a personal choice because I know for a fact that his life as a child with special needs is not easy. My son is eleven years old now and I still pamper him like no one’s watching! And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it! I make sure to not embarrass him in front of his friends and have given him the freedom to assert his privacy whenever he needs it. There have been multiple occasions where he has asked me to be with him and also multiple occasions where he has wanted to deal with something alone. Giving a child the freedom to think and decide for himself is a huge blessing for them.
I’m not saying by any means that only my style of parenting is right. But raising a loved and cared for son is a gift every parent can give their son. Yes, this entry is about raising a son. I will write another one about raising girls too although I don’t have any experience there! These blogs are not to say what is right, but to inculcate and spread the culture of raising informed kids.
My son is eleven and I have already taught him about personal space, menstruation, adolescence, bodily changes et all. On the other hand, our sleep rituals still haven’t changed. We still tell each other how good we did each day despite some hiccups and how thankful we are for each other and how much we love each other. I say, “I love you to the moon and back” and he usually says, “I love you to Wakanda and back”.
I know I profess my love to him a little too much, but one day, after I’m gone and if he is sitting alone after a rough day, he will remember how loved he was, is and always will be...