Thursday, August 17, 2006

Uh jo chhote han na vaade

“………….but I want to do what I want to do”. The loud voice of ‘once’ sweet son, came from the family room as I asked him to turn the TV off and ‘practice’ that he learns after school and on weekends. I was not only shocked but almost in tears as this was not my same son who religiously followed the evening routine and took everything seriously that he learnt in extra curricular activities, along with his learning at school. Above all that he has been ‘Mama’s helper’ in tutoring his younger sister, passing on all the good stuff that he learnt to his sisters. Like his first-grade teacher still says about him "They don't come in better package than this one". I had no complaints and said prayer of gratitude for these children every morning and before going to bed. But what happened this last week? I don’t know except that I know he is going to celebrate his 12th birthday in few weeks and he is growing.

I think that is what they call adolescence. If I remember it right it is the time in life when a child is entering youth and waives good-bye to childhood. It is the time when parents’ authority begins to blur in child’s life. As young adult he tires to figure things out himself, he begins to search within for answers to his own questions. That is the mark of growing up; but how do I deal with this ‘change’?

As I was taken back with his answer, I took a deep breath to compose myself and called him to kitchen where I was cutting vegetables for the dinner. I handed him gently a beautiful pen that he gave me on mother’s day and my personal note pad. Bringing a broad smile on my face & hiding my real emotions, I said “ok, fine with me, just write on this paper what exactly you want to do; so I know your priorities. If they are good enough for a 12 yr old young man, I will respect them.” Well that took him away to study room for 15 minutes and I tried to sooth myself in the aroma of tarka of Aaloo-gobhi. As he brought the paper back to me, he had this big smile on his face. I was so relieved as what he wrote was even better schedule that we had before; assigning proper timings and days to his ‘practices’; TV time and free play time. I thanked Waheguru ji once again. That night we had discussion how learning Gurmukhi-reading, kirtan, karate is important to a Sikh along with perusing worldly education. We have always wanted our children to learn all this for the joy of it; and just hope that they begin to love it as they move up in their training.

I spent quite a bit time thinking and realizing that he is entering adolescent years. Now the question is how does a parent deal with it? The answer is not as simple as we would like it to be but also not as difficult as I thought. Now I know that the main answer is that old word “communication.” But what does this boring word really mean when it comes to your teenager? It means encouraging your son or daughter to not just talk to you about facts of his/her life but to tell you things that are important to him or her. You can accomplish that by being non-judgmental but good listener.

Experts agree that if your adolescent can trust you with feelings, attitudes, and values, parent/child problems are workable. So, put yourself in your child’s shoes; try to remember what it was like to be that child’s age. Yes, teens try to manipulate mom and dads. But they are imploring for guidance even when they are unable or unwilling to express it. After listening you will have your chance to be heard. Don’t lecture but discuss. Be open to your teen’s opinions that indicate the struggle to mature. And, in the end be true to yourself by being firm with your decisions. Your adolescent may pout and complain but down deep will respect and honor you. Wouldn’t you if you traded places?


Anonymous punjaban said...

man so much patience ... that i don't have ... I don't know what I'm gonna do when I'm at that stage.

well i guess I have a long way to go before that :p

6:33 AM  
Blogger Singhni said...

Punjaban, patience is only thing that a parent can count on during such times...and beleive me Waheguru blesses a mother with as much patience as is needed for the children she is blessed with. It comes almost miraculously.

8:37 AM  
Blogger SikhsRus said...

Great advice. Thanks for sharing the experience. I can definitely use some of this on my kids.

10:40 AM  
Blogger Singhni said...

Thank you Manjit Virji. Children are our teachers only if we decide to learn from them. The most important lessons of life I learnt from my own children.

11:19 AM  
Blogger Harkiran Kaur said...

dangg...You are so wise! I wish I can mother my kids just like you! :=)

2:19 PM  
Blogger samar said...

Sat Sri Akaal!

Amazing.. .i am coming to ur blog for the first time,and must confess that am an instant fan.

I like the way you made him write 'it' down on the notepad(really wise).

Also will like to complement u on your writing skills,i could almost smell the tarka right here from delhi.

2:06 AM  
Blogger Singhni said...

Thanks Samar for your kind compliments :D
"i could almost smell the tarka right here from delhi....." You made me smile & I wonder how a Patialvi ended up in Delhi? Must be attending some Uni?

7:49 AM  
Blogger samar said...

na na ji,i earn my aloo-parantha in delhi;) ... just finished uni,sweat as a software labourer(read programmer).

11:01 PM  

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