Fly like a kite, with a little string in my hand

By Neha Mirashi in Daily Musings
Updated 12:11 IST Aug 03, 2019

Views » 676 | 4 min read

The word "possessive" takes on a very strong and real meaning when your child starts interacting, and actually liking other people. And if this happens in the " i need to start disciplining my child" phase, you have had it. It is a mental roller coaster. You want to be the "good cop", always. You also know you cannot afford to be the good cop, because there is no "bad cop" around, other than you, not for many miles.

I am still trying to figure out what disciplining means.
I am trying hard to look into my past to see how, or even if, my sister and i were disciplined. For some reason, the word discipline brings forth a negative image. A picture of a cane and military style stand-in-attention, in a straight line, with ram rod straight backs. No laughing, no smiling, no giggling.

When Aria makes a mess on the floor with water and mud, am i supposed to discipline her or let the joy on her face overrule?
When Aria insists on eating on her own in the most messy way possible, am i supposed to discipline her or appreciate her streak of independence?
When on a few occasions, she refuses to go to sleep, am i supposed to put her to bed amid all the protests, or go ahead with her enthusiasm for not wanting the day to end, to be awake just a little while longer?
When she knowingly throws an object on the floor, am i supposed to sternly say "no", or let her marvel at how gravity works and help her understand the law of consequences - how an object once thrown does not return on its own?
When she refuses vehemently to go with / to some stranger, or even a loved one, am i supposed to discipline her and tell her, her feelings do not matter, or let her be her own person, and tell her it is ok to have different levels of comfort with different people?
When she lets out a resounding "NO" when an adult tries to grab her, lift her, tease her, or pull her cheeks - am i supposed to tell her to not say "no", or teach her at this early an age, that a no means a no, and only she is the master of her own body?
On rare occasions when Aria refuses to eat every thing i offer, am i supposed to get upset, and tell her its this or nothing, or am i supposed to think back on the many times I have not eaten either because i was not well or i just didn't feel like?
When she wants to throw a tantrum because something has been taken away from her, all for a valid reason, am i supposed to ignore her, or sit down and let her cry / yell it out because she is a toddler who is yet to learn what emotions means, let alone try and control them?
When she wants to hug me and be stuck to me, no matter what, am i supposed to listen to friendly advice and talk to her and ask her to leave me and go do her own thing or go to somebody else, or am i allowed to let her wear her heart on her sleeves before she learns to be an adult and masters the art of masking her true feelings?

I see her grow daily, and i wish there was some way i could halt time and not have her grow up. I see her make mistakes daily, i see her fall down and get up and smile goofy. I see her intelligence developing and i see her struggling with her emotions. And i wonder where does discipline fit in all this?
I really do not think we can ever discipline our children, not at least in the strictest sense of the word. We can only guide them, we can only tell them how to differentiate the right from the wrong. They need to learn from their mistakes and they need to be given the freedom to make those mistakes. That is how my sister and i were raised. Independent, aware of consequences, but also confident on the back of an unconditional, ever present support system.

This is especially difficult to remember in the daily race of life, when you just wish they would hurry up and eat, hurry up and sleep, hurry up and get through park time, and play time, hurry up and nap. And in all this we forget that we are acting as catalysts to the very thing we are trying to stop - their hurrying anything up. Just being tiny and cute, and totally dependent on us!

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