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Trusting Children to Work it Out

TalkThis blog post has been contributed by Parenting Matters (http://parentingmatters.in/), a Chennai-based organisation which partners with parents to build skillsfor deeper connection in families. It provides platforms for parents to learn together with input from trained facilitators. It conducts programs, workshops and also aims at spreading awareness on parenting through articles for magazines, talks with experts and its blog. This blog has been written by Deepa Aravind, who was one of the participants at a Parenting Matters programme.

This story brings out the fact that when we see the interaction between children, we often do not know all that is going on. We do not know what each one is feeling and why they behave the way they do. So as a parent rather than judge them and try to be the arbitrator, if we just keep trusting them and acknowledging their feelings, they are capable of handling things in a way we would never imagine.

My six year old son and two year old daughter love to play with a mattress we have. They lie down and pull the mattress on top and pretend that it is home. One day they were playing in the room and I was outside. I could hear the little one continuously saying to her brother “Anna I also want to come in”. But he kept saying no. As a mother hearing one child pleading with the other to join in on a game is so difficult, especially when it’s the younger one. I wanted to go and interfere, say the typical things like “Why can’t you allow her to play with you?”  But I stopped myself. Since it was bath time what I did instead was call my daughter for a bath. She had a very sad look on her face. I went and hugged her. My son then said, “I am so angry with her. I told her something and asked her not to tell to thatha (grandfather) but she went and told him.”

Suddenly I realized that he is not being mean for the sake of being mean but because he was angry about something. I was glad I did not judge him. I only said, “You are very upset that she shared your secret with thatha. You really wish she would not do that.”

My daughter was still keen on playing with him in the mattress. She said, “Mummy I also want to go in.” I said, “You really wish Anna would let you play with him. It is time for a bath – would you like to play with cups while you take bath?” I then asked my son if he would want to join us in the bath.


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ParentEdge is a bi-monthly magazine for discerning Indian parents who would like to actively contribute to their children’s education, intellectual enrichment and stimulation. The magazine’s premise is that learning is a continuous process, and needs to happen both in and outside of school; thus parents have an important role to play in shaping their children’s interests and intellect.

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