While you, as a parent, are striving to perfect your parenting skills, we bring to you some perfect moments that you may have experienced along the way.
By Arundhati Swamy
Parenting! A trending topic, indeed. But, how has it earned this enviable status? It’s probably because of the hassles of raising children in the frenzied modern-day living environment prompted by changing family norms, more women at work, the unnerving influence of media and technology, and much more.
Parenting surely is a serious business (pun intended!), what with umpteen books, articles, workshops, seminars, websites, magazines, videos, courses and so on. Each designed to guide and assist parents…there’s enough and more on how to be a good, effective and nurturing parent.
But, hey, stop right there! Are we not all good parents? Or, are we not good enough? Need I be a perfect parent? Or, a more skilful one, or a super parent, or…the list is endless. Not to mention various parenting theories, practices, or the mind-boggling styles of parenting – mindful, intentional, tiger, positive, attachment, unconditional, spiritual, slow, narcissistic, toxic, helicopter…whew! Overwhelming, isn’t it? I know what you’re thinking. “Can’t I just be A Parent, without the tags please?" They take away the joy of being a parent, make us worry about everything we say and do with our kids, make us feel guilty and confused, and send us into an analysis overdrive.
So, how do we make parenting a joyful experience, despite the transformations provoked by modern-day living?
Here’s a different deal. Trash the labels and reframe your focus. How about being ‘The best parent you can be’? Well, that’s a thought, isn’t it? But first, let’s get the serious stuff done with and out of the way. For starters, it’s only fair that we acknowledge the great deal of respectful scientific research that underlies all the authentic information on parenting. That will be our safe ‘go-to’ place when the unpredictable annoyances of parenting throw up strange surprises or deal an unfair bolt from the blue.
The real deal (hold your breath!) is an almost magical path to experiencing the joys of parenting. All it takes is a shift. So, how about rearranging our vision from 'Perfect Parents' to 'Perfect Parenting Moments'? Zap! A word of caution, though! Not to parent perfectly, but to grab those perfect moments that are brimming with the best of happy emotions, chief among them being pride, hope, courage, peace, confidence, awe, and joy.
Life is imperfect, but can there be perfect moments? Sure, especially if they have these signature qualities – the unexpected and an element of surprise, the split-second spontaneity, an emotional high and a divine sense of fulfilment.
So, how does one define perfect parenting moments? Do they really exist? You bet they do…in the most unexpected situations, and in the most hard-to-notice, puzzling of times. Until you stop, feel and cherish the experience.
Sounds like too much of an effort? Yes, it does takes practice to look beyond what we are so used to – larger-than-life images, the dramatic and the sensational. We miss being in the moment when the subtle, simple, pure, magical little things happen every day. You can make it happen with a simple game called 'Catch'!
These are but a few examples of perfect moments. Your family has its unique brand of perfect moments that hold special meaning and significance for you. Claim them! Celebrate them! Bring back the joy of parenting.
“There are no perfect parents, and there are no perfect children, but there are plenty of perfect moments along the way.” – Dave Willis (davewillis.org)
Arundhati Swamy is a counsellor and the Head of Parent Engagement Programs at ParentCircle.
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