A LETTER TO SELF – SILLY THINGS I DID AND WISH THAT I HADN’T

Dear Pradita,

I hope this finds you in good health.

I have noticed of late that you have been dwelling on your past mistakes as a child, when you see your own child making them. What can I say, genetics works in weird ways! You have been telling yourself that you hope your child does not make the same mistakes that you made. Well, that is what I’m writing to you about.

As your oldest friend and observer, I have witnessed each and every one of your silly mistakes and helped you get past them. Sometimes I may have forced you to commit those mistakes and then stood aside to watch you suffer. It was fun, but I’m sorry. I should have warned you.

A child’s beliefs are based not only on what they see and feel, but also on what they’ve been told. So, some silly story an Uncle cooked up on how clouds are made in a factory in the sky became a part of your belief system, till you grew old enough to figure out that the Uncle was only joking. Take care, therefore, that you do not tell you child such lies. You never know how far genetics may have affected her!

Then there are mistakes you made as a child because you didn’t know any better. Those added up to your belief system too and became your first life-lessons. Don’t get me wrong, dearheart, I’m proud of you… But some things you believed in and some mistakes you made were way beyond my comprehension. Here I present a list of those silly things, and I sincerely hope you have learnt from them and will prevent your child from following in your footsteps –

  1. Chomping on a fistful of chillies, does not prove you’re cool. It proves the opposite. Shame on you for falling for that trick. Full points to the naughty neighbour who goaded you into doing it.

  2. It’s -6 out there. It’s your first snowfall. We get that you’re excited. But, you do not thrust your hand into the snow with measly woollen gloves on. Also, if you did that, don’t bawl like a baby when your fingers burn because of frost-bite.

  3. Drying woollen gloves and socks (from your previous silly mistake) onto a coal-heated deghchi only gives you charred and crumpled wool… not dry gloves and socks.

  4. You do not grow a full garden in your tummy by swallowing a few fruit seeds.

  5. Yeah sure, bunnies look cute, but they can bite…ouch!

  6. Falling into a ditch is a common side-effect of cycling and letting your eyes wander from the road to the cute guy on the other side of the road. On the plus side, its euphoric when the same cute guy comes and helps you out, even if he thinks you’re an idiot to fall into a ditch in the first place.

  7. When you are only minus 5 feet, it’s very much possible for you to drown in the shallow end of the pool.

  8. There’s no point in showing some any skin in the middle of a bitter Delhi winter. Keep those tights and socks on, sista!

  9. Those sanitary napkins weren’t meant to wipe off ink splotches. Your Mommy lied to you. Likewise, those rubbery tubes aren’t transparent balloons…You get the rest, don’t you?

  10. Do not ever rub your eyes over hands that have been doing things with chillies.

  11. Those somersaults on TV are conducted by experts. Do not try them on your own bike and then cry about that twisted ankle.

  12. Cheating is not meant for you. You do not know how to cheat with stealth. You cheat like a sloth, then cry like a baby about being caught.

  13. When your teacher offers you the lead-role in ‘the’ school play, you do not turn it down to look gracious! There goes your possible-ticket-to-Bollywood!

  14. Likewise, in a rickshaw full of school-going kids, you do not offer your seat to a porky kid and then end up balancing yourself on an iron rod for the remainder of the 2-mile journey home. That’s not graciousness, that’s foolishness.

  15. On the day of an examination, do not trust anyone who asks for your pen/pencil ‘just for a minute’. AND REMEMEBER, you do not know how to cheat!

  16. You do not turn into a chicken when you get chicken pox. Stop freaking out!

  17. Mommy does not have eyes on the back of her head… Just very good common sense and a killer sixth sense.

  18. You do not grow old by staying in water too long.

  19. The moon does not have a giant bunny living on it. What’s with you and bunnies anyway?

  20. And finally… you do not get pregnant by watching someone kiss on TV!

Sincerely,

Pradita Kapahi

Blog – The Pradita Chronicles

GOOD PARENTING REQUIRES WISE BALANCING

“Train up a child in the way he should go,
And when he is old he will not depart from it.”

It’s easy to be a child, but requires hard work to be a good parent.

Good parenting doesn’t mean to give in to the wishes of children all the time…to fulfill every desire as soon as it is uttered by them. That’s termed as Permissive Parenting in psychological lingo. Permissive parents do more damage to their children than they can even think of. Children of permissive parents never learn to accept ‘NO’ for an answer. As they grow up, and get to hear ‘No’s from different quarters, they feel rejected, unloved and frustrated. Unable to manage the volley of emotions springing up within them, they either sink into depression and become addicted to smoking, drinking and drugs or strategize to have their desires fulfilled by unscrupulous means.

Good parenting also doesn’t refer to being strict taskmasters and building fences all around children…always keeping them caged within the boundaries of do’s and don’ts. That’s Authoritarian Parenting. Authoritarian parents aim to control their children all the time. And so, they end up robbing their children of the joys of childhood. Children of authoritarian parents seem to be obedient and well-mannered. But in essence, they are individuals with bottled up emotions who lack the freedom of thought and expression. As they grow up, they feel lost in a world that expects them to take decisions and make choices.

An overdose or under-dose of love and discipline can cause irreparable damage to children’s development. Hence, it is ideal to maintain a wise balance between the two. Discipline your children within the warmth of your love so that even as adults your children will look up to your presence and counsel in their lives. Train up your children to choose their paths wisely and as adults they will always be prudent in their choices.