Emotions and Parenting – How to strike a balance?

29th Apr 2016   By Neha Sharma  [40 views]


This one is for insecure papas…

After a sea of write-ups about a child and a mother, this one is about a child and a father.

Child rearing is one of the most interesting and challenging tasks in the world. The other day I was wondering about the dialogues kids say to turn things in their favour. The thought was worth sharing so thought of penning it down.  What does a 4-5 year old child mean when he says, ‘Mama, you’re the best’ or ‘Papa, I like mama more’ or ‘Mama, if you don’t get me this toy I’ll ask papa to get me this and I am sure he’ll get me this because he loves me more than you do’?

Before coming to the main point would like to say yes! Sometimes it becomes heartbreaking for us to listen to a statement like ‘I love mama more than papa’ or ‘I love papa more than mama.’ But should such statements uttered by such small kids really break our hearts?

Well, the answer is No. Most of the times, when nursery goers say such a thing it’s motivated by the immediate occurrences which could be as petty as your denial to get him an ice-cream or a toy or your asking him to stop playing and start studying or any other thing like that.

Whereas many of us consider such talks of kids kiddish, there are some who actually feel bad about it. I know this couple wherein the dad feels disheartened when his son says, ‘Mama is better than you, dad.’ This dad actually feels his son doesn’t love him and that his son requires him only to get him toys or to simply play with him.

Why shouldn’t this dad and all of us make a fuss out of such emotional dialogues of kids?

  1. Because kids at this stage might have mastered the art of speaking their minds but it’s still time before they can clearly express themselves emotionally through words. Though they can very well express their emotions by crying, laughing, hugging, getting excited, throwing things and sometimes by hitting something or someone. But at this stage, their words might or might not be a true reflector of their feelings because sometimes kids don’t even know what a word or a phrase actually means.
  2. Because kids talk straight. They don’t understand the emotional implications of their words on people’s heart. They talk to communicate and not to build or improve relations.
  3. Because they have recently observed that they can use their saying ‘I love you’ or ‘You ain’t getting me a toy, fine, I don’t love you’ as a currency. They know that these dialogues might just get them things of their choice.
  4. Because they are going to change their statements faster than the sky changes hues. If they love mama more in the morning, they’ll love papa more in the evening.
  5. Because for kids a passing thought is as important as a permanent thought. They cannot differentiate between the two and speak whatever comes to their minds at a given moment as their immediate reaction.

But one thing that we all must understand as parents is that our relationship with or kids evolves in phases. Infants and toddlers feel most secure with their mothers and want to be with their mothers the most. It is because the mother feeds them, bathes them, puts them to sleep and does every little thing for which the kids are dependent on her.

However, as and when they grow and start becoming independent, other family members start coming into the picture. That doesn’t mean they love their mothers any lesser but now they have the space and independence required to explore new things, feelings and relationships. A kid develops an independent relation with all the family members like he’ll have unique bonds with his father, grandfather, grandmother or other family members. Out of all the bonds, the one he shares with his mother will always be the most special. But at the same time, that isn’t and shouldn’t be a reason of insecurity for a father or others in the family.

Everything kids do is a part of their learning process. We must try not to interfere in it by moulding the natural course of action in our favour merely to get those sweet answers of our choice from their mouths. Rather we should just supervise them while they learn the cause and effect of their speech. However, at the same time we must also teach kids that they are not going to get a chocolate every time they say ‘I love you more than others.’ Because if they do, they will learn flattery and not prudence.




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