Once again read somewhere this line and again I cringed, “My daughters are like my sons.” Let the daughters be like daughters. It depends on how you raise them! If you give them the independence, education, and freedom of career choice like sons, they will do what the sons have been doing so far traditionally; taking care of the parents and being strong to take on the world. This statement somehow makes me feel that such parents are trying to say that the daughters are as good as or equal to sons. But aren’t they born equal naturally?
There is nothing more joyous than a mom watching her child grow everyday. Since the time he/she is conceived, everyday the mother feels her child growing and with that the eternal journey of motherhood begins. The bump, the kicks, the movements connects more to her child and the love grows each day.
When I see, read and hear parents worrying to the extent of getting paranoid about their kids’ safety, I am reminded of how so many times I have, as a mother, kept my composure and stayed strong leaving everything to the hands of destiny and the Almighty. I know many might find this unbelievable given the circumstances.
My son started with his education in Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh. He was 2 years old when he started with a playschool there. The playschool was a nice one and my son spent good 3 hours there with very loving teachers and friends. He got to play and learn a few things too. My son used to go by a van and it took 15-20 minutes from our home to the playschool in the van. Being a hilly place, the way to his school had many steep and curvy roads. One particular road had a very steep U curve, which if not maneuvered properly by the driver could lead to fatal accident.
One morning after we woke up, we got to know that a fatal accident had occurred on that U curve road. A bus full of tourists from Gujarat had fallen in the cliff from that road and all tourists succumbed to that deathly fall. My little son went to his playschool from the very same route that day and all the other days to come. I couldn’t stop his playschool because of this accident, could I?
As parents both me and my husband always used to worry, we still worry, but we also know that we cannot stop living or let our kids to stop living normally. I have sent my kids for picnics and outings since the time they were in playgroup. I would remain worried till the time they reached home safely. I am still restless till the time my kids are back from school or my older child is back from his friend’s home or tuition or outing.
I know the world is not a safe place for kids. So, what do we do? Don’t we all wish that our kids would never be out of our sight, but is it really possible, is it really normal? I may be a little less paranoid than many, may be a tad too practical, but I cannot let my fear make my kids paranoid or stop them from enjoying a normal life. I cannot confine them to home.
Already the kids now know about murder, rape, molestation from a very young age. They are taught to trust no one right from the time they can barely speak. They already lose their innocence thanks to the way they are raised.
We have to stay strong, we have no other option.
One of the most important milestones in a child’s life is the beginning of school life. A child who has been with the parents since birth, protected, guarded is to be prepared to get exposed to a different life altogether. A life which has teachers, friends, and a lot of other new stuff.
I see many new moms getting nervous about how their kids will adjust or whether they are taking the right decision by sending the child to a school early and so on. Whether to send the child to a playgroup is totally a parent’s choice but at any stage of school life certain things need to be kept in mind.
Sharing a few pointers from my own experience of sending my two children to school at various stages.
- Playgroup. This is the beginning of a setup where the child is on his own without the parents for 2-3 hours. A lot of times there is a discussion whether the child who is so young needs to be sent to a playgroup or not. I would simply say a playgroup is only for 2-3 hours where the children interact with their little peers, play, learn a little, and have lots of fun.
- Setting a routine. When the kids are babies sometimes there is no routine. They stay awake till late and wake up late. But once the parents decide to enroll the kid in the school they should start following a routine for the child few months in advance so that the child can cope up well later.
- Sleep time. A toddler needs 10-12 hours of sleep for rest and better growth. Ensure that the child sleeps on time in the night so that he can wake up fresh in the morning. Often moms complain that the child is cranky in the morning. This is because his sleep is not insufficient.
- Meals. One of the biggest struggle of parenting for many moms is food! Mothers are worried about the quantity of food, the nutrients, and the time taken by the child to finish the meals. Always ensure that the child has breakfast before going to school. My children have this habit of having breakfast right from the time they were in playgroup. Wake up the child a little earlier so that you don’t have to rush the child to eat or may be send the child empty stomach. A good breakfast is essential for the kids to stay fresh, active and healthy.
- Try to select a school which is closer home or either parent’s workplace when the child is younger. Either parent could reach quickly in case of any emergency.
- Talk to the child daily in a casual way to know how his day was, whether he has some issues.
- If there are any issues, approach the teacher in a polite manner. Don’t accuse or argue unreasonably. After all, the teacher is handling many more children.
- Don’t be overprotective. In the school, kids learn to share, have tiffs, cry, laugh; its all a part of growing up and learning.
School life is a new phase of every parent’s and kid’s life. With all its ups and downs, its one of the most memorable phase of the children’s life..
Raise your children well, irrespective of the gender. Impart same values to both. Teach both the genders equality, compassion, respecting others choice, have integrity, confidence, have courage to pursue their dreams, have the guts to stand with the right and oppose the wrong, respect each and every human irrespective of caste, creed, religion, social status or gender.
Not all boys are perpetrators and not all girls are angels. There are all kinds in both the genders. Both will become responsible citizens in the future.
I cannot ask my son not to cry and ask my daughter to be rude to all the boys. That again is gender disparity. I cannot teach my son to judge a girl on her dress and habits, similarly I cannot teach my daughter to hate all the males.
I am happy and proud that my teenager son respects women and believes in gender equality. I would also be equally happy when my daughter in her teenage doesn’t judge the entire male species. She has seen good examples in her father and brother.
Stop being biased about any one particular gender, raise both well.
I am the mother of a son and a daughter and me and my husband have always tried to raise both equally. I hope we continue to do so even when my daughter is in her teens. There are many mistakes, knowingly and unknowingly, that Indian parents commit when raising their daughters. I would give my perspective from the point of view of Indian parents here. If I had to pinpoint any three mistakes, I would point the following:
- Being overprotective and paranoid. Given the incidents of rape and molestation recently, the parents have become extremely paranoid in terms of their daughters’ safety. While I do understand the reason for their worry, yet sometimes parents become overprotective instead of being simply protective. Many a times the daughters are not allowed to attend school trips, parties, picnics, or even if they are the parents insist on accompanying them! We cannot take away the fun from our daughters’ life. They are entitled to enjoy with their friends, go for picnics and trips, be independent. Of course, they should call or inform their parents about their whereabouts (applicable for sons also). Later on in life, such parents don’t allow their daughters to study or work either any other part of India or abroad. Parents should encourage their daughters to speak up if they face any such situation, be fearless and independent, be alert.
- Second mistake is making the girls ready for “marriage” since childhood. Times are changing, still the Indian parents have the thought process that marriage is the ultimate goal for any girl. Since childhood girls are taught to adjust, not be stubborn or temperamental, be sacrificing, not to be too vocal about their likes or dislikes, be coy and shy..why..because all this will help her to be a good wife and daughter-in-law!! The qualities of being compassionate and understanding should be inculcated in both sons and daughters and not just daughters!! The girls are as human as the boys! Also, daughters should be encouraged to study and be independent. The parents should give the daughters wings to fly, to think about their careers just as they do for their sons! The daughters should be allowed to exercise their choice as to when and whom to get married to, at the right time.
- Giving importance to physical beauty. Time and again I come across this question in various forums as to how remove hair from the body of a 2-month-old girl, how to protect the daughter from tanning and getting dark! Sadly, media also emphasizes the need to be fair, slim, tall and what not only for the girls! A girl is only desirable if she is “beautiful” as per the societal norms. The parents from a young age insist that the daughter eat less, not play in sun, grow her hair, take care of her skin so that later there is no problem when she is of marriageable age!! The parents should encourage their daughters to be healthy, eat well, play sports, be “bindaas”, be vocal about their likes and dislikes. A daughter should be made confident in her own skin. If she is confident, nobody would have the right to judge her on the basis of her physical attributes.
Parenting is never easy. Parents also do commit mistakes but the endeavor of realizing those follies and working on them to be a better parent should be constant