"Mummy, will you stop being my teacher!"
Let's not forget that little kids have quite a few teachers around them, who tell them what they should be doing and what they shouldn't on a daily basis.
The other day we were sitting at the dining table. It was a usual Saturday evening. My daughter was sitting with a pile of her home play (homework) books and was playing with her pencils as she was in no mood to finish it. I was noticing her for the last twenty minutes and couldn't stop myself to ask her to finish it quickly.
"Come on Navvu, finish it quickly and then you can go down to play, " I told her. "No, "she retorted. "I want to read my new Magic Pot. After that, I will go to play and do my homework when I come back," she quipped.
"That's not what you should be doing, baba. First, do your homework and then go to play. After that you can read your Magic Pot," I said, giving her that emotional glance that all of others use from time to time.
Mummy, don't behave like my teacher...
She got a little upset and when I tried to convince her she looked at me innocently and said, "Mummy, why are you being like my teacher? You're not my teacher. I don't want you to behave like one."
I listened to her patiently and said, "Okay, if that is what you want, then go read your Magic Pot and then we can go to play." She hugged me and went to the other room to get her magazine.
This was not the first time my daughter used the word teacher for me. There were a couple of instances in the past when she had said exactly the same thing.
I sipped my tea and looked at her as she flipped the pages of her magazine. I didn't like the fact that she thought that I am being like her teacher. What is it that I did to make her feel like that? But, as I pondered, plenty of scenes started playing in my head.
"Don't go to the park now. You should go to the park in the evening." ,"Don't sit with crossed legs.", "Don't wear this T-shirt.", "Finish your milk or I will not let you watch your favourite movie.".
There, they were all in front of me and I realised that I have been asking her to do things she didn't like all this while. Am sure you do the same and other mums, too, because all we want is that our child does what we want and not what they want to do at that particular time. We like to micro manage them. From what they should be eating to what they should be wearing and what time they should be playing, we do it all for them. Not once do we ask what they want.
Should parents act like teachers?
We as parents often times forget that while we are surely the first teachers and guides for our kids, we need not be their teachers all the time and constantly ask them to do something they don't want to do.
Let's not forget that little kids have quite a few teachers around them, who tell them what they should be doing and what they shouldn't on a daily basis. The last thing they would want is that their "go-to" person also teaches them all the time.
Here are a few words that we Indian mothers use quite often on a daily basis. Perhaps, we can change the way we use them for the sake of our kids:
1. Don't do that, do this: Tell me frankly, how many of you mums do not use this sentence every day? Am sure you use it and so do I. But next time instead of saying yeh mat karo, try asking the child first "what do you want to do?".
2. Listen to what I say: All of us mums are guilty of using this sentence every now and then and while doing so we often forget what is that the child actually wants to do.It would be better to ask the child what he wants and then take a call.
3. You're not being a good child: This is a sentence we mums use when something does not happen according to our plan. So if the child watches TV first and then does her homework, we'd not be happy. But we never give a thought to the fact that at the end of it all, the objective is to get the homework done. Right?
4. Listen to me or I will tell Papa: I have seen many of my friends using this sentence so much that the child ends up feeling that the father is the head master of their house and their teacher mummy would complain to him about them when he's back home. This is actually not a good practice and many-a-time the child stops sharing things with the father as they are scared they would get a scolding for him if they open up to him.
So that day I did what my daughter wanted and mind you, she did stick to her words. After she was done playing with her friends, she came back home, washed her hands and sat on the study table to do her homework. I gently smiled and was amazed at how responsible my five-year-old was being. She looked at me and said," I know mumma, I have to finish my homework."
I thought perhaps this is how she wants me to be with her. She does not want me to be her teacher, but someone who is around her to help her and solve her problems. Not someone who tells her what's right and wrong all the time. Don't you agree?
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