Growing Expectations As A Parent

Its not easy being a parent. We forever feel like we are treading on thin ice, constantly questioning our words, actions and sometimes the lack of them. Are we putting way too much pressure on ourselves as parents? Are we falling into the trap of peer pressure? Are we expecting too much from our children too soon?

“Don’t pull your sister’s hair!” “Put your toys away!” “Don’t get up until your plate is clean!” These are just a few frequently used phrases in my every day repertoire. The things I tell my 4 year old daughter and 2 year old son to do and not to do are endless. Clearly there comes a point in time when these words become meaningless and start to fall on deaf ears. It didn’t take us too long to get there. I realized that I had been so fixated on ensuring things were done the right way (right as by my standards) that I was often depriving my kids of just being kids.

I every so often hear of all the activities that many young children are involved in on a regular basis and wonder if I am doing some disservice by not signing my kids up for the plethora of classes out there. Between school and extra-curricular activities, children these days have a pretty packed day. On an off day, there is a constant reminder from some invisible force to make sure that the day is productive with either a scheduled playdate, trip to the museum or even to the local farmers market. I remember as a child occasionally bumming around in my pajamas, eating Nutella and watching Tom and Jerry all day. It was fun. And the memory of it still brings a smile on my face. In a society where structure is key and everything from play time to craft time, TV time to reading time, sugar intake to protein intake is so meticulously enforced, maybe we are putting needless strain on ourselves and our children.

Don’t get me wrong here, I don’t believe much good can come out of chaos. Routine and discipline in all our lives is necessary. But let’s ask ourselves this – how often do we go from parenting to over-parenting without even realizing it? Constantly on our child’s case making sure the day goes as planned without any hiccups. Saving them from mistakes that one at that age usually makes or hovering around to catch them before they fall.

I wonder about our parents’ and grandparents’ experiences. Did they think so much when raising us? Did they try to make sure that every day was well spent keeping the little minds and hands active and occupied? Were they as ‘hands-on’ as we feel we need to be inorder to be good parents? Despite whatever the differences may be, we’ve turned out quite alright, haven’t we?

After spending four years in the thick and thin of parenthood, I am still figuring it out and as you can see I have many unanswered questions. I know I have a long road of learning ahead with new parenting challenges in store. But I’m ready to meet them head on because after all, these are the lives of our children and what we sow is what we reap.

“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” – James Baldwin

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7 thoughts on “Growing Expectations As A Parent

  1. So spot on. When I’m more laid back, we are both in a better mood, but I feel guilty, like, I’m not doing it right because he can’t tie his own shoes yet and why weren’t we working on that instead of watching Phineas and Ferb? But then when I’m controlling, I feel awful, and I can see it break his little heart–he was just trying to have fun. Not saying that I didn’t put him in time out for spitting chocolate pudding on his bed, but maybe wasn’t necessary when he built a fort without asking for help. Great post 🙂

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  2. Hi Tharini
    I am enjoying reading your reflections. They are great and seem to to have come from your heart. Well parenting has never been easy be it for 2 and 4 or 24. It comes with challenges and leaves you thinking if what I am doing is right or not. Am I doing enough? Or what more can I do?

    I see that parents get so bogged down being a parent that they forget the child needs to enjoy as well. As a teacher I see that children do not get enough of play these days . Parents think taking kids to swimming or soccer or cricket is play but its not real play in true sense. Its structured play and children need unstructured play for life skills such as building confidence, problem solving, decision making, taking risks and being resilient. What I have seen and learnt is that a child playing in sandpit, clay or dirt, climbing a tree or engaging in imaginative play is learning so much more than what a child learns from these endless number of classes that they attend. Early childhood should be spent only and only playing . Not in front of TV or ipads I hope. As a kid we didn’t have any of these fancy things. My parents never took me to any of these fancy places. We made our own play and enjoyed it. There were hardly any do’s and dont’s we sorted our own problems and moved on with life. Probably that’s the reason we are patient, resilient and have self control that the children are lacking these days. Childhood only comes once and children must get to enjoy as much as possible. You are doing a pretty good job raising your children and don’t worry too much just relax back and enjoy. If one pulls the others hair I am sure she will retaliate and fix him right if not the first time maybe second time. But yes just let them play. It is this play that’s going to help them in the long term in becoming competent and confident learners. Parents are so busy these days that they always feel guilty that they are not doing enough and try to make up for it in different ways. Wheres as simple pleasures of life like baking/cooking with your child or making a tent with a cardboard box or a sheet is so much more meaningful. (hope I am making sense)

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  3. Thank you so much! Agree that dramatic and unstructured play is so key in building a more aware and confident child.
    We did kind of figure our way through things by ourselves back then, didn’t we? It was all about meeting up outside with the neighborhood kids to play a game of hopscotch or cricket or whatever it may have been without anyone hovering over us.

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  4. There were times when I did more mistakes than my son and easily got away because I am an adult…
    Now my son is big (6 years) enough to point these out..Now he say how come it is ok if you speak rudely and I can’t..how come you can make angry face at me and I can’t….and the list goes on…
    Now at my home, it is me who is learning to behave so that my son can just follow and doesn’t have to be instructed :)-

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