What do you imagine when you think of being a parent? I picture heaps of laundry, battles fought for a simple diaper change, toys strewn all over, and a noisy and dirty house. But flip that coin if you must, and you’ll find the best and most nurturing aspect of parenthood — teaching your children how to behave, encouraging them to hone their skills, being there for them, and celebrating their little joys. How satisfying is that?
While the former might be unavoidable, the latter requires effort and patience. For new parents, this does not always happen organically.
So we look to people who have been in this game for years.
Educator, author and philanthropist Sudha Murthy often talks extensively about finding the best ways to navigate parenthood. So this Mother’s Day, here are some lessons we learned on parenting from her:
Everyone dreams different
1. “Don’t put your dreams in your child’s mind, because every child is born with his or her own aspirations.”
This is a common mistake many parents make. A child comes with their own aspirations and hopes for the future, and as a parent, the best you can do is help them find their own niche, rather than complete an unfinished chapter in your own life.
Think beyond money
2. “Teach children that money doesn’t make a person extraordinary.”
After attending his friend’s birthday party in a five-star hotel, Sudha Murthy’s son came back home and asked his parents to throw him a similar party. So she took the time to explain the high cost of such an event, and how it could be better put to use to help someone less fortunate instead.
‘Delaying’ is the key
3. “When a child asks for something, don’t give it immediately. Find out if it’s really needed or not.”
She reiterates that parents must understand the importance of what their children are asking and act accordingly. “Don’t bring the feeling that this is ‘so silly’ for you to get. They must understand the value of what they are asking for, and what they are going to get out of it,” she explained in a video by Brut India.
Talk, talk, talk
4. “Spend time with the child in a constructive conversation. Examine and talk to them about everything.”
If you want to understand what’s going on in your child’s mind — talk to them. Understand their daily struggles and joys, interests and aspirations, and views of the world by engaging them in conversation, and listening.
Books over gadgets
5. “Teach them the advantages of reading instead of spending time on gadgets. And discuss those.”
Sudha Murthy says she often faces questions from parents about how to keep children away from gadgets. The author suggests that reading is the only solution. Inculcate the habit from a very young age by reading to them and buying them books as gifts.
Give respect, take respect
6. “Teach them to respect everyone, no matter their position or profession. Be it a driver or gardener.”
While talking to a YouTube channel called Momspresso, Sudha Marthy explained that she uses their family driver to explain how she encourages her children to teach everyone with respect, no matter what their position is.
Think before you act
7. “What parents do, influences children.”
For the first few years of their lives, you are all your children see and know. So how you behave will directly and immensely affect them. Kids are keen observers and look up to their parents to make sense of the world. So make sure what you teach them with your behaviour is right.
Comparison is the thief of joy
8. “Don’t compare your children with others.”
Every kid has their own strengths and weaknesses. So comparing your child with someone else’s, without considering their own individuality, can hamper their self-confidence.
“Exclusive | Sudha Murty On How To Be A Better Parent?” Published by
Kidsstoppress.com on Jan 14 2019.
“Gem Of A Parenting Tip From Sudha Murty” Published by Brut India on August 29 2020.
“Important Parenting Tips By Sudha Murthy | Parenting Video Tips” Published by Momspresso on January 17 2017.
Edited by Divya Sethu