Since becoming a parent I read countless books on parenting but what I learned through actual experience is worth a thousand books. But I have to say that I learned most when Saif (my son) started school at the age of 4.
To be honest the first week of his school was a difficult one for him but I feel even more so for me. I would say that it took about three weeks for him to be well settled in school and for me to let go.
Now when I think about it I realize that I was so upset when he first started school because I couldn’t control what happens there. I was worried about how he will eat, I was worried about how he will go to the loo, I was worried about whether or not he will get along with other children since he is an only child and so on. I was overprotective. Saif did have a difficult time at first because he was so dependent on me for everything. I had unconsciously taught him to be this way.
It took some time but with each passing day he became more and more independent. Now he eats by himself, knows how to make friends and even handle playground confrontations :) and I learned to let go and not worry about every little thing. Now I am enjoying the fun side of parenting. My most favourite thing to do with him is watching Disney movies. As a child I watched all of the Disney films and I still don’t miss a single one. Saif enjoys them a lot, his favourite one is Cars .
I have stopped taking this parenting role so seriously and am learning to enjoy it. It is hard to believe how much worried I was during his first days at school. All that stress on my part was so unnecessary but I guess I needed to go through that to learn to relax and trust life.
Saif has turned five now and is already reading and writing. Last week I received a note from his teacher saying that he did exceptional work during the week and that she is very proud of him. I feel proud too because he done it all by himself, all I had to do was to let him be and take things at his own pace. Now he actually enjoys school.
Parenting 101 (Some Guidelines)
"He" refers to both boy & girl children.
Let him experience the consequences of his own actions
All children have a natural ability to be spontaneous and enjoy every moment but most of us parents through example teach them to think inside the box. Also we have a tendency to be overprotective. If you want your child to understand that his future will be whatever he wants it to be then encourage that by letting him deal directly with the world as much as it is safely possible. Let him experience the consequences of his own actions. Of course you don’t want him to discover first hand a very dangerous consequence of what he wants to do. It is important that you decide in advance how far you will let him go in making his won decisions. This is especially true for those difficult teen years. Don’t leave it to decide each time a situation presents itself. To prevent inconsistencies be clear about where you will draw the line.
Be a wise friend, not a moral authority
Be there for him to let him know your opinions without implying that your opinions are binding on him in anyway. Let him think of you as a wiser more experienced person but not as a moral authority who stands in the way of living his own life. Be a source of knowledge and information concerning the consequences of his acts without being judgmental. Let him learn the nature of the world he is a part of, the world that is of his own making. Guide him to realize that the attitudes of people bigger or smarter then him does not set the limit to what he can or cannot do in the world.
Appreciate his individuality
If you see him as an individual who is allowed to experience life and learn from his experience there will be a genuine friendship between the two of you. He will then talk to you about his dreams, plans and even problems because then he won’t have the guilt that some parents inflict when they disagree with their children’s opinions and actions. He would see you as a guide that he can trust rather then a moral authority that he fears.
The best security you can have
Parents who are reluctant to let their children make their own decisions don’t realize that their children do make their own decisions. You can’t possibly watch your child all the time and control his actions. So the best security you can have is to allow your child to learn as early as possible that his actions have consequences to him AND develop a friendship to make it possible for him to come to you when he needs help.
A child who knows that his actions have consequences and who also know that that he has a wise friend that he can trust, will be more likely to consult his friend BEFORE he decides to do something dangerous.
Love & understanding
Love and understanding are extremely important in a parent child relationship the best way you can show your love to your child is by believing in him, respecting his individuality and appreciating him for what he is and NOT what you want him to be.
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