Every child is unique and we must accept them with the gifts they bring for us and our family. In some cultures people wish for daughters and in some they wait for the birth of a son, but across cultures everyone prays for a healthy and happy baby.
Recently, while I was away on holiday in my homeland, I visited a cousin of mine. After having two sons, he and his wife had prayed and applied various “Chinese tantras” for the birth of a baby daughter. I was invited to their eldest son’s tenth birthday party where he got his favourite football cake and decorations but the parents made a faux pas at the party, according to my very judgmental eyes.
As soon as the boy began to cut the cake, everyone started singing the customary “Happy birthday” song but the parents, instead of taking their son’s name, ended it with their six-month-old daughter’s name. I saw his face fall momentarily but with all the balloons and hugs and cake being stuffed into his mouth the moment was gone, but not without having made its impact.
I have coached enough children as well as parents, who have shared with me many such incidents where they felt their parents had treated them with a lesser hand and their sibling(s) better. One such gentleman was 60-year-old. He told me that when he was very young his parents sent him to live with his grandparents while his other four siblings stayed with his parents. Today he is taking many irrational decisions to prevent his only son from facing any such prejudice or discomfort because he is still living in the anguish and hurt from his past.
As parents you might argue that you love each child equally but is that always the truth? Is it not easier to love the child who is more obedient, more helpful, the one who gets all the academic trophies and makes you feel like a super parent at school meetings? As opposed to the one who questions your every stance, rebels and exhausts you by the time you have had your morning cup of tea.
We are the product of our own experiences and have certain expectations from our children and what they bring to us. Yes, parenting is all about unconditional love and giving and being, but sometimes our own agendas come in the way of truly accepting and enjoying our children. I like to give the example of a spice box — where you have the salt, pepper, chilli, thyme, etc, to spice up dishes in unique ways and enjoy each dish for how it tastes. In the same way it is important to realise that your children will bring a medley of experiences and for you as a parent, it’s about savouring each moment and each child for the unique gifts he or she brings to you and your family.
This is an interactive column on parenting skills and child behaviour. If you have a query, write to firstname.lastname@example.org
— Sunaina Vohra is a certified Youth and Family Life Coach at Athena Life Coaching in Dubai. For more information log on to athenalifecoaching.com or call 056-1399033.