Having talked and interacted with many moms and studied various parenting styles across different cultures, I think I can safely claim to have found the holy grail of mothering. The one foolproof mothering technique that is unparallel. It can never fail you or your child.
You might think that something that is so powerful must be very difficult to achieve. Well! The good news is that it is not! Really, it is the simplest little trick that can escalate you to the epitome of good mothering! Excited? Dying to know the secret elixir of mothering? Here you go ladies…..
The best mothering technique is “MINIMAL MOTHERING.” You heard me right, gals! The best mother is the one that is least involved! I am not advocating total abandonment and disregard for your child. I am suggesting something that I like to call “mothering from a distance.”
Modern parenting has become very suffocating. We are always hovering over our kids physically, emotionally or mentally. We are there to jump in and help our toddler with that last piece of the puzzle she is struggling with. We are always there to buck up our kids with phrases that we think will help in elevating her self esteem like “Good job.” “You are the best.” “Awesome princess you are!” And to boost our toddlers mental capacity we enrol him into Vedic maths classes or make him join a brain camp (yes! Such things exist!). We are doing it with good intention of course. As parents we feel responsible for our child’s development and future. Hence we encourage him with our cheering, we enrol him into various activities to ensure he is getting an all round development and we try to raise a secure individual by making sure we are there for him physically as much as possible.
What harm there is then, you ask? Frankly truth be told, even I have been through this whole parenting attitude because I thought I should do what is in the best of my capacity. And also because everyone else around me was doing it too. So why should my child be left behind?
But if there is no harm doesn’t mean that there is good either. If you ask me I think modern parenting is like running on a treadmill. You are running for sure. But you are not getting anywhere!
Planning and preparing so much for our child’s present and future is based on the belief that we can actually control and modify our child’s future with our actions in the present. I would call that very optimistic. Considering the fact that we actually have no control on how anybody’s life unfolds.
Is there no correlation between a Harvard degree and a top paying job? Yes, probably there is a direct correlation. I don’t mean that. But see the argument inside out. Is there no highly paid person from a B grade local college? There are those too. And quite a few.
What I mean to say is that our fixation about sending our children to the best of school, getting them the best of scores and swarming their resumes with extra circular activities is just building a good resume, not a good child.
Modern parenting fixates a lot on what the child does rather than what the child is.
Teach your child love for knowledge and curiosity. She will go on to apply to Harvard on her own when the time comes.
Teach your child responsibility and duties. She will soar high on the corporate ladder on her own then.
Teach your child the importance of happiness and peace. You shall have a warrior in the worst circumstances automatically.
Because what you are is a parent. Not a coaching institute. Not a tutor. Not a corporate employer.
You have to raise a child, not a resume.
And all that I have listed that a parent needs to teach can be done through simple examples. When your child sees you as a loving, caring, responsible and empathetic person he himself imbibes that. No need for any micromanagement after that. That is exactly what mothering from a distance means. Go on teaching your child by setting an example through yourself, answer his queries if she has any and let nature take its own course after that.
You will have a much happier healthier and smarter child then. Will he get into Harvard? I still cant guarantee that. But I sure can guarantee that he will be a success in whatever he sets his hands on.
(This article was first published in http://www.mycity4kids.com on 1st jun 2017.)