I had plans to write about other things this week but something pertinent has happened in the workplace. This is of course regarding this interview that has resulted in us being compounded. I am drawing parallels to this with how I’m raising my son. And with that, I am reflecting how my parents raised me up.
It was a different generation of course where they imposed their rules and you listen. No questions asked. Whether you follow their advice is another issue. Silence did not mean consensus. All I wanted to do was get out of the house and do my own thing the moment I could. They are not horrible parents. I was just being a teenager and I felt I was not being listened to.
There are moments I wanted to impose the same methods with my son. It just seems simpler to punish him when he misbehaves and that will be the end of that. No discussion whatsoever. Just scream and do the “I’m your mother” card. My mother tried. So compliance is achieved but acceptance wasn’t. Why? He doesn’t understand why he has to do what he has to do.
Parenting is not an easy task. There was no Internet when I was growing up. We were not exposed to as many things. The other day he said he liked a girl. Instead of laughing at him or giving him the “no girlfriend until you’re 21” rule, I talked to him about it. I asked about her name and why he liked her. I did not ridicule him. I wanted him to know he can talk to me.
Of late, we have also been talking about religion. I am raising him to be as Christ-like as possible and to follow the faith. It is my heart of hearts that he decides to be a Christian and I have told him I would be very happy if he decides to take that step of acceptance himself. Yes, he has to take that step. It cannot be forced. When it’s forced, there’s no ownership. We all need to be “born again” at our own accord. We’ve had conversations about different faiths and he has friends from all walks of life.
I have also heard of a father who asks his son to give a presentation and three reasons WHY he needs some thing when he has these requests for material things. The father will then evaluate whether the case is justified before he agrees. His son learns presenting, critical thinking and negotiation skills at the same time. I have tried this and it seems to work. My son has stopped asking me for less things! The path of least resistance for some.
My son will one day be a man. I am hoping that our relationship will grow and mature. I cannot treat him like a young child anymore. There will need to be conversations and dialogue and I’m sure we will disagree on certain things. There will be days when I have to punish him but he will know completely why. The rules will be the same today and tomorrow. It won’t be twisted for my benefit. And if I had another child, there will be no favoritism with a different set of rules. And you know what, when I am wrong, I have and will apologize to him. How can he learn to forgive, admit mistakes and apologize if I don’t set an example first?