There are a LOT of things I don’t know about raising kids but like most people, I raise them anyway, making mistakes along the way and sometimes, miraculously, just getting a few things right. Therefore, in a twist of sorts, rather than write about what I do and don’t know about raising kids/parenting/mothering, I want to reflect on what you don’t know – as a parent, and as a child.
[Added later: I started writing the points below keeping my son in mind but somehow switched over to thinking about my own parents midway. See if you can tell where the switch happened.]
- I know that privileges are earned but as a parent, I will never know what it means or feels like to have a priced toy taken away as punishment, the TV turned off because the allotted time is over, or be doled out time outs.
- I know that having agency is empowering but as a parent, I will never know what it feels like to not have control over what I eat, what I wear, when and where I sleep, to what school I go, or the playdates my child may sometimes be told to participate in because the parents want to hang out.
- I know that no means no in a different context but as a parent, I will never know what it feels to be told “No” so many times that, that word ends up becoming one of the first words my child speaks.
- I know that often times it feels as though guilt is synonymous with parenting but as a child, I will never know how much guilt my parents may feel about tough decisions they need to make for my benefit and long term social citizenship.
- I know my parents love me, but as a child, I will never truly know the extent to which my parents love me, at least not until I have my own children.
- I know that sometimes my naughtiness takes on an intolerable life of its own, but as a child, I will never know that punishing me makes my parents feel worse than I do experiencing that punishment.
- I know I have it good and that I lead a very good life, but as a child, I will never know how many sacrifices my parents may have made just so I can have that comfortable life.
- I know I will be successful and go on to do enviable things, but, as a child, I will never know if my parents suffered any financial setbacks because they paid for my education or purchased a bigger house so I could have my own space.
- I know my parents say they love all their children equally, but, as a child, I will never know if my parents love my sibling/s just a little bit more or less than they love me.
- I know my parents always look happy and I have been told I light up their lives, but, as a child, I will never know what dreams my parents had to compromise on or give up on so I could have a stable life.
- I know I have a strong head on my shoulders and I value the non-material things in life a lot more than anything else, but, as a child, I will never know just how hard my parents have to work to make sure there is not only food on the table and clothes on my back but enough for the occasional vacation or two, cultural visits, and extra/non curricular activities to make me an all-rounded person.
- I know I love my parents immeasurably, but, as a child, going through the different age stages, I will never know the depth of hurt and pain I may cause them with my rudeness, disrespect, snarky responses, and unkind words, while growing up. …and I know I still have a lot of growing up to do.
I am participating in a week long writing challenge. Writers/Bloggers are given prompts and expected to write on/about that prompt. Today’s (August 2) prompt is: What you don’t know.