"Will you calm down? Will you calm down?" An angry mother shouted to her son several times with increasing volume.
I was dining at a restaurant with my wife and daughter last Sunday. It was early evening and there was a good crowd at this small cosy diner. My 6-year old likes it there for the comfy ambience and sumptuous food.
Then the commotion started and lasted for a good few minutes. The drama finally died down after the father forcefully removed the child from the restaurant since the mother had lost control of her emotion and the situation. If you are wondering, by "forcefully removed", I meant the child was being carried out of the restaurant on the chair he was sitting on because he refused to get off it.
I tried not to look, but the commotion got the better of me. By sharing this, I'm not being judgemental. On the contrary, I'm sympathetic to both the mother and her son. There must be a better way to deal with this conflict. Could the mother have tried to redirect her son's attention instead? But to do so would require her to be in control of her own emotion, which was not the case.
It's very challenging being a parent, in that everything we do or don't would leave impacts on our child's life. I feel the real issue here is, many of us failed to grow as a parent. We don't invest enough in improving our knowledge and skills in parenting. And most of it, our personal growth. Can you imagine someone who works in a company today relies only on what was learnt years back?
The fact is, some were ill-prepared, ill-equipped to be parents and got a rude shock when confronted with this huge task at hand or some might be naively thinking they can pull this off simply by repeating what their parents did, good or bad, either consciously or otherwise.
Maybe the mother who engaged in the shouting match above was treated in the way when she was a child. So, when at her wit's end, resorted to the methods that she is familiar with - the authors of The Danish Way of Parenting called this our "default setting". Frankly, it's downright foolish to blindly follow all of our parent's methods & parenting styles. Instead, we should think and evaluate carefully, then take only what is proven to be good principally. Furthermore, acquire new knowledge and practices to replace and compliment the areas that are lacking.
Truth is, none of us has all the necessary skills or knowledge to navigate this challenging task at hand. We owe it to ourselves, the next generation to continue to grow and improve. Else, the vicious and unfortunate cycle will continue on and on. So, let's adopt a growth mindset! Happy parenting.
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