The easiest way to ensure your kid grows to be awesome is to ‘grow with them’
Parenting in today’s world is increasingly becoming a difficult task because in the real sense of the term, kids today know a lot more than their parents at a very young age, about so many different things.
Sometimes, this creates friction between them and the parents many a times end up resorting to either giving too much freedom, which is never good or they restrict their kids with too many do’s and don’ts which again is not fruitful, for their relationship and for the general upbringing and well being of the kids.
This is why the concept of “buddy parenting” is so fascinating in today’s scenario. The concept quotes that, in this case, ‘parents view parenting as interactive and not instructive, since kids today know a lot and the best way to bond with them is to participate and learn about their world and in the process learn new things’.
In other words, buddy parents would be those who make learning fun and sincerely work towards creating bonding moments with their kids.
The moment I read about this, I thought about the relationship, my cousin sister Vidya has with her two sweet little kids, Disha and Alisha. Now of course, as my little nieces, I have always loved their mischief’s and funny little antics, but something about their upbringing caught my attention from early on.
I remember two recent events, with the three of them which gave parenting and bonding a whole new meaning.
The first one is about Vidya and her elder daughter, Disha who is about 11 to 12 years of age. Disha was always exceptionally brilliant and like any other kid, ever curious. Another thing about this little niece of mine is that, not only was she always good with her studies, but also wonderful when it came to any extracurricular activities which were clearly due to the tremendous boost from her parent’s upbringing. They also ensured she took responsibility for her actions, but they were more friends than a mom or a dad to her.
Now Disha loves sports and she is fantastic when it comes to running. Her goal was to win in as many events and competitions as possible. But Vidya always used to tell her, ‘enjoy running if you love that sport, do not bother about anything else. Winning is important, but not more than your focus, which should be to really have fun while running and you will automatically be your best’.
Now as an avid runner myself across events and marathons and as someone who’s core inspiration for running is the legendary “Dean Karnazes” who is the god of ultra-marathon’s, I know that the most difficult aspect about ‘running’ is not the sport, but the mind set and to keep pushing yourself to get up each day with discipline. Now imagine how difficult it would be for kids when grown-ups find lack of motivation though they know how much benefits these activities do for us, mostly owing to our general sedentary work-life.
To ensure her kid does not lose interest in the sport, Vidya herself used to run with her daughter whenever she could and the duo even participated in running events including the prestigious ‘Pinkathons marathon events’ too from time to time.
Now I need to also mention at this point of time that Vidya is a working professional herself and she has trained her little one not just with words, but with actions and as a friend would, by running by her side each time. And the little one too has added lots of value to her mom by showing her how to take cool selfie’s while on the run and update it on facebook, sharing the location with check-in etc when they finish their runs together.
Disha did win, not one but multiple gold medals in her various events and competition’s and it was awesome watching them share their pictures live from their events on facebook with the little one holding the multiple gold medals that were dangling and glittering.
The final event or story that came to my mind is about Vidya and her second daughter, Alisha who is about seven to eight years old and loves to dance, sing, share imaginative and wonderful stories about her school and activities. One day, while I was visiting the kids, Alisha was talking to her mother about some social activity and about the vacation trip they were planning. Her mom was listening to her patiently and responding to her questions too meanwhile. Suddenly the little one asked about ‘what’s special about the place abroad that we will be visiting’ and Vidya shared few really interesting information about the tourist spots, little history about the place etc.
Suddenly the little one jumped up and said, ‘you know mumma, I love to try out some special cuisine there too!’ The conversation was refreshingly exciting. Vidya was occupied with lot of work at that point of time as she was simultaneously responding to some work related calls and taking care of things at home too. She looked at the little one and said, ‘ok, when we go on vacation, we will check out the places too.’ And as far as I was concerned the conversation was over, but the little one’s curious smile clearly said otherwise.
She immediately took the iPad from her mom’s bag, loaded up Google and started typing, “great places to eat in Turkey” and her mom said, ‘you know what, you are anyway quicker with the iPad, show me some nice links, may be something from both of our favorite travel blog or site, let’s say Vir Sanghvi’.
And in minutes the little one had scores of information in multiple windows and both of them were jotting down names of restaurants and that’s when the little one completely blew my mind. She said, ‘mumma, we will also take down the location and nearby landmark areas so we know which transportation will be the best’ and her mom responded, ‘sure, but why don’t you check the location names and their nearby travel distance on Google maps too, so we will know how far is the place’.
And then both, mom and the kid were noting down important points from the tablet on their respective notepads.
I asked my sis, “How come she knows so much?” and my sis responded, “every time I read the kindle or use the iPad, she used to sit by my side and keep looking and I encouraged her to use it from time to time. Soon I realized, she is using the iPad and tablets much quicker than me and she knows about a lot more apps than I do in it. So now I ask her for help in using these devices and apps in it, so in other words, she taught me a lot about this too”.
I don’t think I can think of cooler parents than Vidya and Prasad and to be honest, more super awesome kids than Disha and Alisha when it comes to being apt to describing appropriate examples of ‘buddy parenting’.
Why? Because in both these scenarios, I heard myself saying, ‘Wow, that was so cool’.
Idea being, not being authoritative and thus letting kids be kids.
I think the easiest way to ensure your kid grows to be awesome is to ‘grow with them’.
I hope you enjoyed reading these experiences as much as I did writing about them.
I loved this ad from Kellogg’s which shares a similar unique moment between a mom and her son: Very creative ad that showcases the concept of buddy parenting, loved it!
Have a wonderful life ahead.