Parenting is one of the most challenging tasks in the whole world, it is so difficult that nowadays young couples often do not plan having their own children. There are a myriad of factors for this including but not limited to their belief that children will affect their relationship, that kids are expensive to raise, that there are health complications with becoming a parent and they will lose their freedom. However, parenting can be a surprising joy and something deeply fulfilling for people moving into adulthood and extending their sphere of responsibility and care beyond themselves. Watching your newborn baby radiate joy and happiness is something you cannot put a price on. Regardless of how difficult parenting can be, there are some basic things parents can consider to get the ready for parenthood and minimise the stress.
Raising healthy, joyful children is a challenging task for parents but there are some ideas which can be used so as to overcome such challenges. Although, parenting is challenging and can be disturbing it is likewise rewarding.
Parenting is a widely researched area in social sciences. Irrespective of your parenting method or what your parenting concerns are all about, from helping your child avoid falling into depression, keeping him or her from the shackles of fear caused by bullies to dealing with behavioural problems which can lead him or her to reprimand, all of these can be solved if you take time to understand and listen deeply to your child and their unique perspective and needs. These are some things I have learnt from different parents and even from my own children.
The lessons I learnt from my son on why I should forget my old idea about what boys are supposed to like and what they should not be like. Us adults have inherited many ideas from our parents and these have been the building blocks of our lives. Imagine, if our parents never told us what we are meant to be like and the things we shouldn’t like, imagine they allowed us to make our own choices and learn from our failures; life would have indeed been more enjoyable and more peaceful.
For example, I once entered a store with my son to get clothing and other goods that we needed in the house. My little boy made me follow him into the girl’s section of the store which I was hesitant to do so at first but later succumbed to the pressure. I was beaming with surprise when he pointed to “Frozen” princesses Anna and Elsa’s shoes. Indeed, it was an awkward moment for me since I didn’t expect a boy to have an interest in such feminine shoes. At first, I thought it was one of the little pranks he liked to play but I soon got to know through his excitement and joy in his eyes that he wasn’t playing a prank. Those shoes do not portray masculinity so I was certain he was not mistaking the shoes for boy’s shoes. Without any further hesitation I handed him his new pair of shoes but before we could leave the section, a shopping attendant who had been watching us from afar and seemed to believe we mistook the section for the boy’s section rushed to us to point us to the boy’s section. she said, “The boys section is over there.” The way she shouted was alarming, as if we did something wrong.
I looked down at my 4-year-old son hoping he hadn’t heard because I don’t want my kid to be under judgement and scrutiny even before he comes of age. Most adults believe that boys aren’t supposed to like what girls like or that boys can’t wear what girls likes to wear. My little boy had just made a choice on the type of shoe he wanted and the shop attendant was already passing a sentence on him. My little son did not seem to care, he was busy engrossed in his purchase and hadn’t noticed or heard whatever the attendant was saying. I know my son will constantly be under the scrutiny of the world for his love for girl shoes and this is wrong, he deserves better; we adults’ especially parents need to change our ideas and orientation about what our kids should like or dislike, if your daughter wants to wear a masculine shoe, let her wear it; let us allow these kids to experience the world the way they want. Our kids need to see things differently; they do not need to always make use of our tiny microscope perspective when it comes to preferences. Maybe more creative and colourful tastes lead to less psychopathic behaviour? I don’t know but I want my kids to accept their own preferences and not be ashamed of who they are. As a parent my orientation changed that day in the shop and now I have more acceptance about how to deal with the desires of my kid.
We also need to keep our kids from negative comments like the one the shop attendant mistakenly made by pointing and directing us to the boy’s section of the store, all it takes is one negative comment and the self-image of my son can change forever, as parents we need to always be on guard to safe guide the self-image of our kids, once this image is altered we will find it difficult to save their future.
My son is already on the social fringes, and I will help him every step of the way. He has shown me that parenting without traditional gender tags will allow him and other children to be who they choose to be and not who we adults want them to be. And I believe freedom is when we are free to do what we want to do and not what they want us to do. Parents needs to give this freedom to the children because they really deserve it.