Celebrating your child’s uniqueness

By Geetanjali Padoshi

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Rama and Manya were two chirpy 5 year old friends. Rama loved talking about colors and flowers while Manya was always talking about shapes. They enrolled into the same art class. Slowly, Manya’s reluctance to go to the art class came to the fore. Her mother was baffled as to why a happy chirpy Manya became taciturn around her art class. She decided to have a chat with her art teacher.

The conversation revealed that while Rama flourished in drawing and enjoyed the class to the hilt, Manya spent her time arranging the class items into different formations based on shapes and sizes. Even the few drawings that she was enthused to draw involved some shapes. This made her mother realise that Manya was not interested in art. Instead, she decided to spend her time with Manya building different things using Lego and other such blocks. The chirpy Manya was back along with a happy mother.

Dhairya, an 11 year old boy, was always interested in writing mystery stories. His father encouraged his habit and led him to win many awards at various platforms. He was thankful that his parents agreed to and respected his choices. This did not lead to stifling of his interests as in the case of his close friend Ajay who attended cricket coaching as per his parents wishes instead of football that he loved.

Amla hated to discuss her school happenings with her mother. She despised being compared to her classmates that the mother inadvertently did without realizing its impacts. The fact that the mother compared Amla with others with the intention to motivate her to achieve more was lost in translation. All that Amla could hear was how her mother felt that Amla was no good as compared to her friends.

Do these above examples have any message for us as parents? I think they do.

As a parent, we all wish our kids to conquer and be successful in all walks of life be it academic or non- academic. There is nothing wrong in harboring such wishes lest we forget that our kids are individuals with their own choice and preferences. Yes it’s true that in the initial days of their developmental stages they enjoy all that they do. Yet, as they grow up they realise their areas of interest. They may not be able to convey the same in clear words. It is upto to us parents to read the signs and carry out our parental responsibilities.

What are these supposed to be ?

  • First and foremost we as parents need to realise that our kids are individuals. They may or may not have affinity for things that we hold dear.
  • It is our duty to provide them possibilities to explore all but giving them the freedom to choose what interests them most.
  • We should not fall into the proverbial parent trap of expecting them to follow our careers.
  • They are not a means to fulfil our unfinished dreams but to pursue their own course and take us along the journey.
  • Every child is unique in its own way. While some may have artistic bent others may be orators. Some might like singing and want to pursue it as a profession. Many might want to get into community service. We need to support them in their every endeavor. We have to give them the mental strength to move forward rather than holding them back.
  • Most parents inadvertently compare their kids with others. It’s the biggest harm that they can inflict on the child. Comparison between friends or siblings is detrimental to the child’s growth and self-esteem.
  • We must remember just like no two flowers are the same and yet mesmerize us with their beauty and fragrance, so also no two friends or siblings are the same but have the potential to shine their own way.

A little change in our outlook can work wonders for our child. When children realise that their parents approve of their choices and support them, they can be unstoppable.

Anushka scored 95% marks in her 10th boards. Everyone expected her to take up science and pursue medicine. However, she always yearned to become a journalist. Her happiness knew no bounds when her parents accepted and supported her choice of career. They allowed her to choose HUMANITIES stream and today she is on her way to realizing her dream.

Ashok was a 9 year child talented in sports. He attended many sports coaching classes. He was not sure of his favourite sport and wanted little time to find it. His parents showed their patience and allowed him to continue his varied classes. Ashok slowly realized that he wanted to continue swimming and told his parents about it. He was happy that his parents allowed him to decide on his own.

Sakshi wanted to become a doctor since her 5th grade. She knew clearing NEET was not easy. But she was prepared for the hard work. She couldn’t clear it in the first two attempts and wanted to try once again. Her parents were in a dilemma as she had already lost two years. At the same time they put faith in her dreams and supported her decision. Today Sakshi is pursuing her medicine degree in her desired college.

To conclude, all children are unique with their distinct personalities. It is our duty as parents to identify their uniqueness and propel them to greater heights with their distinctness by offering our faith and support.

Celebrating your child’s uniqueness should be a norm rather than an exception. Do you agree?

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