Let me start by saying that I am guilty of being the exact opposite of what I am writing about, (at least for the first few years) and that’s what makes me the best person to talk about this.
First and foremost, I want to confess that I was a hyper-active parent, hovering over every single activity my kids were doing. If they were playing with building blocks, I would intervene and help them build great structures; or give ideas to enhance their art and craft activity…all in the name of being an active, hands-on parent.
Yes, I am guilty as charged and phew…what a relief, now that the load is off my chest. Okay, so let me try explaining why lazy parenting is best for your kids and your family as well…
This one time, my sister came to visit me and we were having a cup of tea in my balcony when we noticed a couple with two kids, who were out for a stroll. The older kid was about three or three and a half years old and the younger one didn’t look more than one and half years old. The couple sat down on a raised platform and got busy with their phones and general chatting while the kids ran around. While the younger one was stumbling and tripping down every now and then, the older one was running around recklessly with full speed ready to take a fall any minute.
Now watching this my sister and I suffered a thousand minor heart-attacks; and you would think the mother or father would have run to their kids to pick them up or generally followed them around just to ensure they didn’t fall; But No, Not even once did they budge from their places and not a sign of distress or worry….nah not a trace.
So, once I recovered from my heart condition, my mind started analyzing. First of course, I criticized the parents with statements like, “How could they be so insensitive and careless”. “What if the child gets hurt?” “What kind of heart-less parents are they?” and so on….But then my mind started working over-time and I saw another perspective quite clearly; May be these kids are going to grow up to be self-reliant and resilient. They would take a fall now, but eventually learn how to avoid falling down very early in their lives. This does seem a bit extreme but it’s a true incident that I quoted and it is just an example to drive home my point.
When your kid is attempting to paint with water colours and wants some water to rinse the brush, don’t drop everything and run to fetch it; instead ask them politely to get up and wash it in the sink. Slowly let them learn to fend for themselves. Start as early as two or three years.
Don’t be afraid to upset your kids. Believe me you are doing them a favour by not becoming their second in command.
I read somewhere recently where our feisty actor Kajol was quoted saying “If my kids had it their way, I would be their bai”. She is not too far from the truth, let me tell you.
Don’t start defending your kids saying,” My kids are not like that”, because kids are kids and you are conditioning them to use you. You can’t blame them later for being insensitive, because you never gave them a chance to understand that.
Don’t become their chauffeurs and drive them from one class to the next; No good is going to come out of enrolling them in ten different activities like robotics, swimming, keyboard, dance, chess, French, cricket and math tuition, thinking that you are doing a great service to them. In fact, you and your kid end up fatigued with absolutely no time to actually bond or have fun. What good is that?
Instead pick just one or two activities that they are truly interested in and leave ample scope for un-structured play time. Let them play with friends on a daily basis, spend time together as a family more often like packing a picnic, cooking together, camping trips, weekend beach outings, playing family games etc. Those are more enriching than any other class they attend.
Instead of a being a hands-on parent try being a hand-off parent….Our parents were hand-off parents, weren’t they? Didn’t we have a magical childhood? Do you remember telling your mom that you were bored? I wouldn’t…because if I did, I know a chore is coming my way!!!
With limited resources, didn’t we invent new games every day? A worn out canvas shoe would become a boat, a worn-out basket would turn into a basketball hoop….you just need imagination. But where are we giving room for imagination now? They have more toys than utensils in the kitchen and yet they are bored…Go figure….
Be a responsible parent; give them nutritious food, surround them with wonderful books and stimulating materials but stop being their personal assistant.
A lazy (read laid-back) parent is a more relaxed parent and a more relaxed parent is a happy parent; And a happy parent automatically translates to happy kids and happy families!