Friday, January 11, 2013

Parenting Conflicts

When you have a two-month old, patchy internet and phone access and a 6 hour break from the older one, its time for intense parenting-philosophy reading and wondering what to apply and what not! Currently am reading "Bringing up Bebe" by Pamela Druckerman. Did a lot of research on "Attachment Parenting", "Baby led Weaning" and of course been faithfully reading "What to Expect". Aftermany nights of thinking and re-thinking, I realized that Parenting is not just unique to the child and parent, it extends within the microcosm to where you are (for example, currently with my parents in Chennai, vs. a nuclear set up in Bombay) and what you believe in (for example in getting Button to master English speaking first vs. Twinkle being spoken to mostly in Tamil). Of course it changes as the kids grow and you do too, and depends on mommy's moods which depends on multiple factors from the maid's work to her husband's travel to the song she's listening to or the dress she's wearing!

Based on Button, some parenting do's and don'ts in my report card.

1. I do not want to wait endlessly to potty-train Twinkle. It really messed with my mind and happiness when it came to Button. Can live without it this time.

2. I want to introduce Twinkle to more junk food. Actually, the verdict is out on this one. Button's food habits are so regular that even if I offer him chocolate after he has eaten or take him out to the most yummy bakery in town, he will not touch a morsel. Is that good? I think so. But take him to a friend's house for an impromptu dinner. Our man will still ask for dal-chaawal, dahi and subzi and refuse to touch pizza or pasta or even french fries. Introducing any western/junk/deep-fried/strange-looking food to Button is a nightmare. I want Twinkle to be more open to trying. Of course the flip-side of getting addicted is also possible.

3. I'd like Twinkle to speak more Tamil. Button understands Tamil perfectly, but his Tamil accent would rival Prince William's (if he chose to speak Tamil, that is!). He still can't pronounce the famous "zha" sound. So he says Tam-iL, instead of Tam-izh, for example.

4. I'd like to continue with Twinkle the lack of obsession with TV, or TV characters. In addition, I am going to try to keep her away from Barbie for as long as I can.

5. Button has some stranger anxiety (like several 4 year olds). He sometimes smiles instead of giving his name when asked, or finds it tough to walk up and talk to a kid that he likes on sight. Its partly because I never encouraged pushed him to speak to strangers, including neighbors in the lift and fellow-parents at school. I let him be. With Twinkle, I want her to be more social. But I also want her to not be too trusting.

6. Button's curiosity is endearing. As are his mostly good manners (and of course, am NOT objective!) I'd like for Twinkle to learn to say "Sorry" and "Thank you" too. Irrespective of social stature. (It warms my heart to hear Button thank my helper when she serves him food, for every dish).

7. Button's independence is not very good. Relatively AND absolutely. I have to tie his shoe laces (even velcro ones), wash his bum, open a bottle for him, and the door, switch channels (if he ever watches TV) AND push his swing. And he's all of 4. I'd like Twinkle to certainly be more independent.

8. Button is a darling when it comes to younger children. He cannot bully to save his life and is ALWAYS gentle. In fact, he's quite the hero and stands up to bullies. Sometimes cries, but nonetheless believes in his stance, and sticks to it. I'd love for Twinkle to emulate him. I have to give credit here to Button's progenitor. My husband is inspiring when it comes to sticking to what he thinks is right. He will not bully, or take shortcuts, or be cowed down. He will not yell that he's right or preach his standpoint either. Just the right degree of being firm. And luckily Button shows signs of inheriting.

9. Unfortunately for  Button, he's inherited his mamma's low tolerance and gets frustrated easily too. And sometimes just doesn't see merit in sticking on to his task. Wonder how to inculcate Twinkle into being more patient, without learning it first!

10. Finally (and this is just to bring the number of points to 10, instead of stopping at 9) Button's great love for books, music and physical activity. All good ones. All to be emulated.

The question is now that circumstances have changed... am not mommy to just 1 child, I live elsewhere, Twinkle has her own stubborn personality AND my husband's LOI is lower (of course not intentionally), how do I work on these? And do I learn from French parents, AND Venezuelan tribals, AND Dr.Spock, AND my granddad? Parenting conflicts begin again. Sigh. Wish me luck. 


  1. Wait...are you talking about my kids or yours? Its amazing - button sounds exactly like my Advaith (all of 7).
    The younger kids are so much more bindaas meera, don't worry about her...I guess we become bindaas parents too the second time around.

  2. Lovely post :) I guess the more you read the more you worry about things that you feel you are not doing... I believe every child had a unique personality and that needs to be nurtured to shine. All the bets :)

  3. Good read! I enjoyed your story very much. Button is very cute and is also a sweetheart too. :) Anyway, I know that You and Twinkle can do it. Just be a little patient and don't be too hard on her and also on yourself. Give lots of love! :)

  4. A great read... I too read up all I could on different aspects of parenting and do so even now. What I realized finally, just like you, that it is very subjective. While the broad concept may sound good, its how we adapt it to our own babies that makes it unique to our style of parenting.

  5. Aparna - Good to know I am not the only one!Yes, the second time around is a lot happier :)

    JBarnett - Thanks buddy! Parenting is a big responsibility too, letting the personality shine.

    Janet - Thank you! If you see my comments section, pls leave your blog link. Unable to reach yours!

    Jane - The problem is sometimes reading up too much and getting mired in conflicting PoVs. But am getting there, in shedding what I think is excess and developing my own framework.

  6. So many of these parenting dos are on my list too.. but then at times I feel how much ever you plan... a percentage is totally on the child.. a very important portion to that being.