Forge, not Force

477

As parents, there are many decisions we need to take in our everyday life to ensure the well-being of our child. I am a very strong supporter of “Mother Knows Best” but we mothers are also human beings and sometimes can take the wrong decisions. Disciplining your child is important, but there are some things which we should never force our child to do. Your child’s thoughts on some aspects are more important than yours, and thus, respecting them is must. Some of the things I feel we should not force our kids to do are:

Finish What is There in Their Plate

Eating healthy and not wasting food is something we all know and have been taught since we were small. But at the same time, it is not fair for you to fill the child’s plate with an unreasonable quantity of food. This many times can lead to food aversion. Let the child decide the amount he needs to eat; if they are hungry, they will ask for food. A child should be given small amounts of food at regular intervals, and the food should be made interesting for them. This will inculcate the habit of eating healthy and finishing the food. Force feeding the child and making the meal torture for them is something we all need to stop.

Choose Their Friends

Never force your child to become friends with someone you think will be a good company. Just like you like to become friends with people who have the same thought process and with whom you share common interests, children also like to interact with people they share a wavelength with. When you tell your child to be friends with someone for a reason, they do not learn the concept of being friends with like-minded people.

Dictate Feelings

Respect the feelings of your child and encourage them to share them with you. Teaching them how to handle a problem will help them more rather than telling them about their problem. If a child is scared of water, tell them it is normal, and it is not a big deal. Do things with them which will take the fear away rather than forcing them and throwing them in water. When they speak what they feel, and the problem is tackled well, the child will have more confidence in you and will be able to overcome all hurdles.

Force Habits

This might be a personal view, but I strongly feel that we should not force our children to do things they are not ready for. Do not force them to be potty trained when they are not ready, or sleep in their own bed when they are happier to co-sleep. Let the kids decide when they are ready to make these changes in their lifestyle and once they have decided, it will be easier for everyone. Sometimes breaking these habits might be tough, but all children take these decisions at their own pace.

Show Physical Affection

We must respect our kids and their feelings, and we should never force them to show physical love to someone they do not want to. When we force kids, we tell them that the violation of personal space is fine and this will increase their vulnerability to sexual abuse. Not showing physical love is not a sign of bad behaviour but a way to teach them respect for their own body.

Inculcate Hobbies

We should not decide the hobbies our child should take up. We as parents should expose them to the options they have and then let them decide. Forcing them to play tennis when they like to play basketball will just create a dislike. Similarly, forcing a child to read will take away the pleasure of reading and can lead to aversion. Try and give options to them and make things interesting for them. So that they develop a natural liking and focus on excelling in them.

God has entrusted you with the responsibility of this little human being you have created. And thus, as a parent, you do have the right to decide for them. But in this process do not forget though they are ‘little’, they are human beings too. Show them respect and do not force your decisions on them. I read something very beautiful once, “Before you push your child too hard, remember that when an egg is broken by outside force, life ends, but when an egg is broken by inside force, life begins. Great changes always come from inside”. Let your little buds bloom at their pace and the way they want to.