Being a parent wasn’t just about bearing a child. It was about bearing witness to its life
So, recently I have the opportunity to learn something new, parenting. Sure it sounds either weird or dumb but somehow it opened my eyes and showed me how wrong I am all this time. I realized that I’m being a parent for myself, not my son. I hope that I could make things right, or at the very least, make my son a better person. I decided to write somethings that I learned in this course.
For 2 days I learned something new that I hope I can share. Sure, some of it have religious elements but it could be applied by everyone, even some of the participants aren’t Moslem. The speaker is Abah Ihsan, here are some of his social media accounts in case you wanna check his “words” he he. He were famous for his 18-21 program, where parents unplugged all their gadgets (TV, phone, radio, etc) and focus to spending quality time with their children (playing, studying, etc).
I just realized that all this time I’m being a parent for me, not for my son. I failed to realize that it’s in a children’s nature to play, run, jump and go wild. It’s their way to learn, which I failed to realize and recognized as “naughty”, demand attention or anything else. Like the time I take my 2 years 8 month old son to do Friday mass or prayer in mosque, I always ask him to be quiet or don’t move. It’s against their nature. I’m terribly sorry for my son. And yes the reason I upset is because I don’t focus on him, but I do multitasking such as playing gadget while accompanying him, that’s why I kinda angry when he do outrageous things he he. It’s his nature and way to learn.
Some parents failed to realize that children are gift not a burden. That’s why some parents “angry” to their children, to the point some couples wanted to get married but without having children, sure it’s OK but kinda stray from human nature in order to survive and sustain our species he he. Sure most of us ready to be married but not prepared to be parents, so most of us relying on 2 things: trial (& error) and heritage upbringing. So yeah I’m kinda happy to learn something that really useful.
Oh, also I always thought that words are just empty, hollow or pointless. But for children, words are everything. Even the slightest word of mishaps can have a deep impact for them. No wonder most children (especially teenagers) have their self-esteem destroyed in their house. Such words like “why can’t you be like…” or “is it that hard just to…” or even any other can inflict such wounds to out children. Just like what was taught in Islam, be careful of your words, it might came true, it’s some sort of prayer and once it said it cannot be take back. So yeah I will keep in mind that some people are so weak that mere words hurt them (if they are grownup though 😅).
The so-called advice (an abundance or non-stop advices) could also shattered their self-esteem. Please be careful. Just like a glass, once it full, it cannot be filled with more water. Let them have what their saying, let them express their ideas. Remember that even prophet Abraham (Ibrahim in Islamic) asked his son permission and consent when God ask him to sacrifice his son. Let their opinions be heard and make them feels “matter” for their own good.
If our children self-esteem aren’t “fulfilled” in our house, they will seek acknowledgement elsewhere, or worse, to “fulfill” their needs they will bully others or break the rule / norm (to make their self-esteem worthy or above others).
So, if your children is an @$$hole or jerk or stupid (or some people say LGBT and all that jazz), don’t look elsewhere because it’s your fault as parents. You’re failed to become a worthy parent, a guide or guardian for them. Don’t blame your children (they are the product of your “teaching”), your children friends (they spend more time with you from the beginning), History or genes (even an identical twin have different path or fate) or even God. Here are percentages of influences of a person:
- 100% influences at age 0-12 years. This is where parents need to guide them
- 60% influences at age 13-15 years. They become interested in other value such as friends, etc.
- 40% influences at age 16-18 years. Teenagers he he. Rebel phase or experiment phase.
- 10% influences at age above 19 year because they are adults now. They have their own life.
So it parents job to give them “default” value as a guide for the rest of their life. If they “stray” or changed on some way, it’s your fault because the time you have 100% influences didn’t maximized by you. Just hope they stray or change to be a better person (hopefully you are suck but they become better 😁). Some insight is, treat your 0-7 years child as a king (this is where they study and explore), treat your 7-14 year child as soldier (tell then what to do) and treat your 15 & above child as an “equal” to preparing them as an adult.
Also there are homework that I must applied in order that I won’t forget the things I learned on this course. So, I just break it down the homework assigned for every parent attending the course:
- Starting today I will take care of my children from Hell fire, started with providing time for my children everyday. If I have time to face to face I will applied 18-21 program (time out from all gadgets and focus only interaction with our children. Playing, talking and studying) or any other time as replacement (3 hour minimum). Starting when our children 10 years old, give our children private time with them at least once a month, like road-trip, watching movies, traveling.
- Starting today I will give freedom to my children. For their own sake as long as : Didn’t bring harm to themselves; Didn’t hurt or bothering others; Didn’t against religion or all kinds of law
- If I forbid them, I’ll make sure that restriction isn’t the necessity but the abundance or excess of it.
- Starting today I will train myself to be a strict parent but not rude, kind parent but not soft, have an authority to control my children but not dictatorship. I’ll do it with more action less talk. Making strong boundaries and consequences. And punish my children with consequences that already talked and agreed before. I won’t be defeated by : Cry; Whine; Shout; Rage; Threat; Rude words; Physical attack; Any other denials and resistance whatsoever. It’s all because no one is ever freed from boundaries or law, but don’t forget for every boundaries or law there are also freedom to do other things as long as it didn’t against the boundaries or law.
- Starting today I will try not to say negative words about my children before them. I’ll won’t accept if my children self esteem become negative because of my negative words.
- Starting today I’ll make my children love kindness. Make them believe they are a good person, with pay attention when they do good deeds. I won’t be hesitant to : Prayed for my children and intentionally “heard” by them; Express my positive feelings towards them; Tell their kindness to the people they knew and intentionally “heard” by my children
So yeah, this parenting course is quite an eye opener. Hopefully I could be a worthy parent for my children and I could prepare them for all the things to come, also give them enough preparation to lead their own life.