“Your daughter is a bright, humorous, lively, energetic, confident and social child. She interacts well with her classmates and displays leadership qualities. She is able to work on her own initiative. However, she can be much too chatty if not carefully watched.” This was the parting shot in Xena’s end of term report last year, word for word. That last statement distressed me and I wished her teacher could just shoot straight. I think she meant to say that Xena can be unruly but was being polite about it. She’s my daughter after all, and I understand her ability to bring out the C in chaos too well!
Parenting. We turn up for this job unprepared. There’s no masterclass, neither is there a manual. The moment that scrawny and squished pale looking newborn is placed in your arms, you are in the deep end. No life jacket or floaters. You are smack in the thick of things, 18 feet deep with no prior swimming classes. Not even the advice from your experienced parents or your own experience growing up can fully prepare you to be a parent. You just have to figure it out as you ride the waves.
Which brings me to this month’s series. If you are reading this and you are a parent (even the absentee ones and those with kids scattered all over are welcome to share hehe) , what do you struggle with the most? And those aspiring to be parents someday, what fears do you harbor? For me, as a parent to a very adventurous, quick witted and perceptive toddler and a 1.4-year-old who is catching on quite fast, I worry about getting the balance between loving my child and enforcing discipline right. Being the disciplinarian in our house, I often feel that I am too harsh on the kids and fear that as they grow older, they might not trust me enough to let me in on their lives for fear of reprisal. The mister fears that my tough stance will kill their self-esteem.
Also, I wish to be able to identify any talents my kids may possess early enough so that I can nurture them. Problem with Xena, the four-year-old, she wants to participate in everything. From ballet, to jewelry arts, to tennis, football, swimming, music with teacher Tony and monkeynastixs- so I can’t quite figure out what exactly is her niche! While it’s ok for her to take up all the extra curriculum activities, they place quite a strain on the wallet and I also don’t want her to be a jack of all trades. If only she could just pick one and run with it to stardom.
Love and discipline. Raising stars. Dealing with special needs kids. How do parents do it?
This month, I have the honor of featuring parents who are bringing up phenomenal kids. Every Monday we will read about the joys and struggles of parenting and how to strike a balance between love and discipline from different parents’ perspectives. We will also feature some parents who are raising stars in various fields and get their insights into what it takes. I sure would love to know that!
See you here on Monday for Alfred Gachaga’s story-Father of two phenomenal golfers aged 17 and 12, the older one having ranked third best in the US Kids international golf tournament held in North Carolina, America last year.
Also, look out for narratives on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter every Tuesday and Thursday from various parents on how their upbringing has influenced their parenting style.
We are entrusted with the task of shaping the lives of real people, with all their potential to do good or harm. But are we doing our best?
Dressed in the Dorris & Morris collection from www.alladin.co.ke