As a first generation immigrant, I have always had my share of insecurities when it comes to parenting. I grew up in a completely different world where everyone spoke the same language, they looked the same, celebrated same festivals and enjoyed same food. My parents had a lot of guidance and support from my grandparents. But, it is not the same for my child in a foreign land which is made up of immigrants who come from all different parts of the world.
While my mom is least interested in coming and staying with me because she cannot drive and is not independent, she did gave me a handful of advice that has been extremely helpful to me so far. From time to time I also learn a lot from my aunt who moved three different countries while raising her three kids and having a successful career. I have come across so many moms, just like me who always appreciates a bit of guidance regarding parenting. Sometimes I get to learn from them also.
Although, I’m no expert on motherhood, these valuable advice from few wise ladies in my life has helped me and it might interest you as well –
1. Memorize H. A. L. T –
You might have already heard about H.A. L. T a million times now. Kids mainly throw tantrums when they are Hungry, Agitated, Lonely or Tired. Agitated is upset or nervous. It is important to analyze the reason before reacting to the situation.
When I feel any of these signs coming from my daughter, I take a step back and think what might have caused this irrational behavior. Once I know the reason, it instantly calms me down and helps me react in a way that does not make me feel guilty later.
2. Let them learn what they want to –
Always assisting them for every little thing is not going to make them independent and explore the world on their own. Helping them or guiding them for everything is only going to make them more and more dependent on you. So, step back and watch them figure out and explore those little things. Of course, it goes without saying that you need to step in at a certain point and guide them in the correct way.
With my daughter, I was upset when she resisted to Indian mythological stories as a kid. She didn’t seem to show much interest, but I found out that these stories often involve some sort of violence and little girls specifically tend to get scared. So, fast forward few years and I introduced few stories again and saw that she was brave this time and more accepting of it with the age. Patience is your friend! At the right age and right time they will learn whatever you want them to learn.
3. Foster the art of appreciation and kindness early on –
A little kindness, respect, and self-discipline go a long way. It helps them stay positive and makes them appreciate and open to the differences in people and their culture. Everything seems beautiful to a kind and positive heart.
4. Let your kids fail sometimes –
Failure is extremely EXTREMELY important for a wholesome life. There is no fun in winning every single time if you have never realized how failure feels. Failure is also one of the best teachers in life, it teaches them self-sufficiency and being realistic early on. Do not let them win at that board game, they may cry for the first time and the second time but you will definitely notice the change for the third time.
5. Wear your own oxygen mask first –
Take care of yourself first before anyone. There is no right or wrong way of parenting, everyone has their own style of doing things. It’s okay to mess up sometimes, they will love you regardless. If you deprive yourself of rest, food, and fun for the sake of kids, you are doing a big harm to your physical and emotional self. I remember spending a few days at my grandma’s house (mom’s mom) so that my parents can go for a weekend gateway. That may sound a little too much but catching up on that newly released chick-flick with your bestie followed by a light sangria every once in a while definitely helps.
And, don’t forget to play! Don’t forget to live your childhood all over again with your little ones. Put on those Bollywood beats and shake a leg or two with your kid while not only teaching them some moves but also working out those calories. Take up a sport or an activity, they will remember it forever. Some of the things me and my daughter absolutely enjoy doing together is going for evening bike rides, making DIY gifts for friends and family and making crazy dubsmash videos (kid friendly only).
What are some of your favorite parenting advice that you have received from your mom or from your friends? I would absolutely love to hear!
“don’t forget to play” image captured at a beautiful Airbnb Glass House on the hills we rented in Austin.