Despite being a parent for the past 21 years, I learn something new every day. Every stage of my children’s growth has given me insights and made me unlearn and relearn. It was not a smooth ride. My own experiences and baggage had made me a person who was not naturally nurturing. Being a parent to my firstborn made me realize that; not immediately but thankfully 2 years into parenthood.

Then it was a journey to be a nurturing parent to my children, which was an uphill task for me. I knew I was responsible for their well-being physically, emotionally, and mentally and their future. Being an introvert, I had to learn to talk to my children, more than I was naturally inclined to. Being someone who never touched other people, I had to teach myself to hug and touch my children more than I would have naturally felt. I attended training, and workshops and did additional courses to reach a more nurturing self. All the lessons were tested and tried. Some worked better than others. And yet, every new phase brought something more to be learned.

From all that I have learned, 3 points I can share are:

Parenting has nothing to do with the child. It is the self-regulation of the parent. Get to know ourselves; train to be a more nurturing parent to each child. And each one is different. Overcome old ways of thinking, speaking, and doing and keep aside our egos. Remind ourselves that we are the adults and the ones to understand and change.

Dedicate some time to the child every day, say 30 minutes. Time we look at their face, and listen to them without the distraction of gadgets or television. The conversation should never have a question ‘Why?’ It makes the talker defensive. Ask other questions like ‘what else?’ ‘and then?’. Let the conversation flow. I call this emotional nutrition. 30 minutes of undivided attention keeps them emotionally fit for the rest of the day.

Children believe all that we tell them, even when they are teens. They take it to heart. Be mindful of what we tell them about themselves, us, and the world around us. They do not understand jokes, sarcasm, and lies till they reach teens.

In short, be mindful.

Sajitha Rasheed

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