And so the years went by, sleepovers, play-dates, school plays (not main roles, mind you), TV, computer games and entitled behaviour became the norm. Today, 10 years after I started crossing over to the liberal-parenting side, my older daughter is 22 and has experienced life on her own in London – she is back to living at home as an adult and I am an even more liberal parent, who watches everything, but does not (or should I say cannot) say much.
And my entitled little baby, who is now in college, does not stand being told what to do. She is much more stubborn and wilful than Dhriti ever was and I am an even more liberal parent with her. As she pursues a liberal arts degree learning new and exciting things, I have less and less of a part to play in her life, but I am slowly learning to come to terms with it.
My girls will hopefully turn out OK despite my swing in parenting from strict to liberal- Dhriti is a tad indolent but is a confident and savvy young person; Akshita is a tad entitled and may not listen to me at all, but is committed and self-disciplined about her work and will do well, I am sure.
Today, I am free of my duty in the trenches- no more chauffeuring, no more peering over their shoulders- I only mildly spy and stalk- in an innocuous sort of way. My parenting has also grown and evolved as I have grown and (hopefully) evolved. There is no ‘right formula’ for parenting- it is a highly emotional job and often involves extremes, but ultimately, we only wish our children well and want what’s best for them. So whether you are a Chinese parent or a Western parent or someone see-sawing between these two extremes, you are only hoping your formula will work and you would like to arm them with the skills and confidence they need to survive in tomorrow’s world.