Am I a Good Parent?
Parenting is the easiest thing in the world to have an opinion about, but the hardest thing in the world to do.Matt Walsh
Most of us, even the most confident ones, are wrought by this anxiety and fear and time and again haunted by this question – Am I a Good Parent?
It doesn’t need much for us to question our ability and effectiveness as a good parent. Last week, I caught my 8-year-old son playing a game on his laptop during his online class. My son has very often been called the ‘model child, the ‘perfect student’ by his teachers. The fact that a child like him, who had always paid attention in class (albeit so that he had to study less at home and get more time at play), was playing games during his online classes made me feel like a bad parent.
With his teachers and regular class, this same child had never displayed such behavior. At home, when I was supposed to guide him, he was playing games! Was it because I did not know how to handle him? Was it because I was too lenient or too strict? Was it because I controlled his screen time, or was it because I let him occasionally play these games? I started questioning and doubting every decision that I had made. I started asking myself – Was I a Good Parent?
I thought deeply over it. I discussed it with my husband and some of my friends with similar aged children. What I realized after these discussions and a lot of soul searching was uplifting and freeing.
The first thing that I realized was that I was not alone. All parents I spoke to go through these feelings some time or the other, and some of them were people I considered to be really wonderful parents.
The second thing I realized was that I should understand the ‘why’ of what happened before attributing blame to my parenting skills. Therefore, instead of scolding my son, I sat down and talked to him to understand why he was playing games instead of paying attention during his class. His reason was simple. He was bored because he already knew what was being taught. It was not because I controlled his screen time. It was not because I was strict or lenient with him. He merely did not find the lesson engaging enough. Since then, I have advised him to read ahead or revise what has been taught in such situations, and it has been going fine (fingers crossed).
The third thing I realized is that there is no such thing as a ‘perfect parent.’ One rule does not apply to all children. I might be doing one thing that works great with my son, but it might backfire completely if you try the same thing with yours. We, as parents, need to be more confident in ourselves. We need to stop comparing ourselves and our children with others. We need to listen to the advice offered by others but make our own decisions. Our decisions will most likely be the best for our children because we know them better than any third person.
The fourth and most important thing is that we need to keep the bar reasonable for ourselves. This is especially true for mothers.
The super-mom who does everything perfectly and whose house is super-clean and children always happy exists only in fantasy!
We cannot do everything. We have only two hands and only 24 hours. We have our own lives and our own work. With all of this, we can manage only so much, and it is okay sometimes to forget the school assignment that was due today. If your child cannot remember it once, he/she will remember it the second time. It is not your duty to keep track of each and everything that your child does. Give them responsibility and hold them accountable for it. It will make your job as a parent easier and also help the child grow up to be more responsible and confident.
Children might not always listen to you, but they always observe you and watch every interaction you have with them and with others. Love them, support them, understand them and most importantly be the person you want them to be.
Next time you are in doubt, always remember – We all are good parents because we all want the best for our children and continuously strive towards that!
The more people have studied different methods of bringing up children the more they have come to the conclusion that what good mothers and fathers instinctively feel like doing for their babies is the best after all.Benjamin Spock