Yesterday I was sitting at a busy food court in a mall, with every possible space occupied and packed as far as I could see.
I considered myself lucky enough to have found a space for myself and my girls.
As we sat down, thinking what we could have that would not involve waiting in too-long queues, the younger one opened her bag and took out her handy notepad and paper. Soon, she was lost to us, and was absorbed in her own world, writing, looking around and capturing on paper what she saw.
The older one, like me, already had a book to take care of any such free time that came upon her, and she was soon inside her book too.
As I was looking in my bag to take out my book (yes, I always have at least one or two books with me wherever I go, who knows when the need arises!!!), I heard a soft voice next to me, addressing me quietly.
I turned to see the voice coming from the lady sitting at the next table. She asked me if the girls were mine, and I said yes.
Then, she immediately jumped to the next question - "Do you never scold them? Or shout at them?"
Okay, so just as weird as it sounded writing it out here, the same expression came on my face, and I looked at her with a smile and said 'No, I don't really need to scold them, I don't do that."
She was surprised.
She pointed to a girl, aged about four, who was absolutely out of control, running and bumping into people, climbing on tables, and on others' tables too, trying to touch their food, pulling at others' clothes, all in all, doing all those 'naughty' things in public places that put parents in a fix!
She looked back at me and said that was her daughter, and till date, not a day had passed by when she had not scolded, shouted, or hit her, and later spent the entire day in guilt. "I just don't know what to do! I am usually a soft-spoken and quiet person, but she has no discipline! Only hitting her can quiet her down for some time. And she watches 5 to 6 hours of screen a day, and if she does not get it, she screams so much that we end up giving her something to watch. How are you managing your daughters? You didn't say anything, they simply started reading and doing their own thing, and your younger one is almost the same age as mine! How did you do that?"
She was hassled beyond her limits, and the answer that I was about to give her was at a risk of sounding too cliched or simple, but was true no doubt.
"Scolding or hitting is not always the way to create discipline, most of the time, love and appreciation can do that too."
She wanted to know what I meant.
So I told her...
From most of the time I remember, I have made a conscious effort to show my girls how much I love them, how I appreciate their gestures, how proud I am of their good behaviour, I make sure to tell them 100000 times a day that I love them, share free hugs that come without any condition (no bribing or saying things like I love you, but you have to do so and so), and on a regular basis, just keep reminding them how blessed I feel to have them in my life.
But...... when things go wrong, when they behave in a certain way or do things that are not acceptable, they immediately see that huge change in my behaviour.... when I close up, I stop responding and they understand from my body language that I am definitely not happy. And I never tell them that I don't love them, I tell them I am disappointed, that they have made me feel bad.
It works, at least, it has always worked till now...even as my elder one is ready to hit her teens soon!!
I think I can call this a sort of emotional tug, where they know that some behaviours can make me get into a shell, which means they don't have that friend in me for that time... and they hate that....
It's not that difficult actually, and she seemed quite ready to try this out herself..
"What about the reading and doing activities and writing by herself? She is quite young, and you didn't even ask her to do it, how does she do it on her own?"
If any of you have been on my book blog you will know that the answer is super simple :)
I have been reading ever since I remember (thanks to my ma and my nana (my dadun!) and the habit has passed on to both the girls, almost as naturally as living and breathing has come to them.... So it is that, each time we leave the house, me and the girls always have something to read with us, whether it is a trip to the mall or to the restaurant, or even on vacations, small or big..
Our children are incredibly smart, they don't need to be told everything, often, they pick up even the most subtle of hints and behaviour...so it is actually our behaviour that reflects in them.. We shout and scold, they become hyper and aggressive, we spread unconditional love and support, soon it will come easy to them too...
And yes, as long as we really want to be friends with them, they can treat us as their bestest friend and confidante for life!
That's all the gyaan I had to give, and the smile the stranger lady gave me and the way she thanked me was just too sweet and overwhelming! :)
If you are reading this dear lady (sorry I didn't even ask your name), then thank you for making me think of all this again....
- Debolina Raja
And like I always believe in and say:
'Heal the world we live in
Save it for our children' - MJ
- Debolina Raja