Connect More. Correct Less

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When I embarked on the journey of parenthood, little did I know about parenting, honestly!! Forget about; tiger or dolphin parenting, authoritative or permissive, all I was equipped with was the legacy of love that my parents had given me while growing up. Terms like tantrum, meltdowns, grounded were all alien to me for the longest time yet, I wouldn’t want to say that I was spoilt at any given point in time. I barely reminisce about an incident or a time where I was faced with a coercive form of parenting, and yet, at a very young age, I ascertained the difference between right & wrong. I knew what I could ask of my parents that they would coincide with and what would be reciprocated as a disagreement. Under no circumstances did I fear them, but there was perpetually this sense of respect, love, immeasurable security, & a conviction that made growing up effortless. It was easy to accept, easy to let go & easy to understand. Sometimes, things are not as muddled as we humans formulate or perceive it to be. Coming back to my journey as a mother, I unreservedly resonate with the saying, “when a child is born, a mother is also born.”Because even the mother, just like the child, is a first-hand protagonist, she has yet to comprehend this new bond, which mandates time, energy, effort and nurturing, solitary from her side, at least initially. It takes a lot out of the mother to grow into one and come to a place of peaceful mindset and understanding. I used to read into books for anecdotes, sought friends & family for advice & looked up the internet for all sorts of answers to this confusing new phase of life; the more I read, the more baffled & vanquished I felt. Ultimately, I became conscious of the fact that the solutions were coming through me. I felt sorted when I started to follow my heart’s instinct for my child. Instantly I started believing that a mother’s instincts for her child are far greater than anything else in the world. Like every new mom, my journey, regardless of being magical & ecstatic came with jiffies of agony and frustration of not being able to do the things the way I used to. Not look and feel the way I used to, and to add to it was the pressure of being a flawless mom, which of course, I created.

Correction; is necessary because we can’t be neglectful parents who do nothing when our kids act out unreasonably. But when we jump straight to fixing behavior without first connecting with our children, we make things worse. Correction is actually counter-productive when we apply it without connection. This can halt a child’s brain from activating to a higher-level of development. Connection, on the other hand, gives a reason to follow the rules willingly. It creates a sense of safety and openness. A sense of belonging, which is a basic desire for us humans. When our children lack a strong sense of belonging and don’t receive constructive attention, they behave in attention-seeking ways. To them, even bad attention is better than no attention. Children who feel safe and strongly connected to their parents learn to trust us to be on their side.

Every day I was faced with fresh challenges and used to get subjugated, finding solutions to them. Still, it wasn’t so daunting in the beginning because you just have to take care of the baby having enough ounces of milk, wet nappies, and their sleep patterns. Somehow things even though hard “is” in your expertise, it is exhausting physically, but the real trial is when the child starts to understand emotions, reacts, observes& wants to do things their own way. When my sweet little baby matured into an independent toddler with his ideologies and his own little but “big” personality, I got anxious about how he would turn out to be an adult every day. In the process of bringing him up impeccably, trying to make him well behaved, well-read & a cultured child, I was becoming a controlling & obsessive mother. Typically not enjoying the moments that I knew wouldn’t last me in perpetuity. I was continually trying to fix his behavior & couldn’t let him off-course. And then a day came; when I was done with lecturing, nagging, scolding, and nothing thrived, I decided to stop walking on the path of correction & changed my mother quotient. I did my usual R & D & learned more about gentle parenting, which completely started to resonate with my inner being and took me back to my roots. It made me fathom that my punitive parenting methods were actually contributing to my son’s tantrums. Slowly, instead of correcting, I started focusing more on connecting with my child. The more effort I put into connecting with him, the less correcting I had to do. My connection with him helped him become more amenable and regulated. The stronger our connection grew, the easier was the flow of communication. My child is three years old now, and I am thankful that I have learned my way before it got too late. As parents, we often spend time; correcting, prompting, disciplining, criticizing, and yelling at our children that we forget about positive interactions that are vital to keeping any relationship healthy. A connection that can only come with good communication that acts as a catalyst to a healthy environment where the child can grow up to be their best self. It took me a while to come to this understanding. A place where I was finally happy and satisfied. Where I understood that the best thing to do was to be the most mindful parent and shower my child with all the love I had to offer. I made constant efforts to connect with him proactively, which naturally made him happier, safe, and secure, and was no more compelled to act out in a negative way. In the process, I found myself really enjoying the time I spent with my child; I felt a great sense of triumph when I dealt with a negative situation positively. As a parent, each one of us dreams of having our child in a certain way; be flexible, co-operative, follow instructions& well- behaved. But we often forget to question ourselves about what it takes to initiate this kind of positive attributes that we so desperately want to instill in our children. Do we forsake our children when they want us to be there to help them deal with emotions? Do we give them a consequence instead of compassion? Do we shower them with harsh criticism instead of words of understanding? Just remembered a quote that stayed with me through the tough days of mothering; “join them in their world when they are little, you’ll be welcomed in their world when they get big.” So, let’s limit correcting our children & let’s put our energy into connecting instead. Slowly but surely, we will learn that they can be their best selves when we give them free emotional space, understanding, time, and lots and lots of attention & love that they so richly deserve.

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