When I was first asked to contribute a blogpost to ParentEdge, my first reaction was, ‘no problem.’ As a parent of teenagers, of a girl and a boy, who have lived in several countries and studied under several school systems, my attitude towards parenting at this point in my life is on the lines of ‘been there, done that,’ – to borrow a phrase from my kids’ vocabulary.
But deciding what to write about was hard – which aspect of my parenting life could be of interest to anyone out there? Parenting is so multi-dimensional, isn’t it? So for now, I decided to talk about parenting styles – are you laid-back or are a focused parent? I have come to the conclusion that in terms of parenting, I am laid-back. The opposite is the focused parent – with usually one child, and one or both parents (how does the earning parent do it? Go out and make a living, and also pay such intense attention to the child??) dedicated to the child’s upbringing, taking the child to several extra-curricular activities, knowing the child’s every single mark from kindergarten onwards, the child’s every teacher……
Don’t get me wrong, I am all praise (and in definite awe) of such parents, and most child prodigies are born of such parents – the kids reap the fruits of such dedication. But that is just not me; and after struggling with feelings of guilt for some years, I have made peace with myself.
I do the best I can for my kids, but within limits, since I feel that a good life skill to impart is the ability to fend for oneself, and not have the parent smooth the road out for them all the time. And maybe it is selfish of me, but I enjoy my career and sometimes do put my needs ahead of theirs, especially now that they are teenagers and do not need me around that much.
I think it is good for them to know that their parents enjoy their careers and that they are not always the sun around which their parents’ lives revolve. Is this attitude lazy? I don’t know – I am happy and my kids seem to be well adjusted, even if they may never set the world on fire. What are your views? What kind of parent are you? And how do you think your children have benefited/missed out through your style of parenting?