Just the other weekend, I was sitting in the park watching my girl pretending to be a ‘Ninja Warrior’ on one of those monkey bars, and wondering where time flew by. Nostalgia hit even more powerfully watching all those little kids running around, when I heard a daddy saying, “Wait for me baby, Papa is coming.”

“Run faster Papa, you’ll catch on,” the little munchkin replied, her voice so full of confidence, so sure that daddy dearest would really make it. Poor daddy was huffing and puffing but catch up, he finally did! Don’t ask me as to who was beaming more as they hugged each other.

This little incident set me on my own parallel track. Parenting is probably the most important job that we’ll ever hold. Parenting and a corporate job have too many similarities, I realise as I think about it. Just like any other job, we should be conscientious to pick up the necessary skills. Considering that we ain’t even trained for it makes it even more imperative.

And as we go up the ladder, we need to be upgrading that skill set because with time our job profiles and expectations change. A baby, who’s dependent on us for her every need becomes a pre-schooler and before you know you are dealing with tweens. It’s those years when on some days you have your little baby as you know her, who needs to be hugged and cuddled and then there are days when she expects to be treated like an adult. One has to be smart enough to sense which day it is and be ready with the appropriate response. Try smothering the child against her wish and you’ll understand what I’m talking about. 

Soon enough, the hormones start ganging up against you and all that arsenal that we thought would see us through just gets swept by those mood swings. So, although our child is growing up faster than Jack’s bean stalk, how much are we evolving as parents? Every year we should subject ourselves to an honest self-appraisal. Of course, parenting is one job no one can take away from us but what about job satisfaction?

Generation gap is going to hit us sooner or later but if we move with the times, the blow is definitely softer. Spend time with your kid right from the time she is born, and no, not ‘quality’ time that’s all the rage now. The trust that develops with the child in the early years, lays down the foundation of a healthier relationship in the years to come. Be around as your child hops from nursery rhymes to ‘Imagine dragons’ and from Peppa Pig to Avengers. Be genuinely interested in knowing what she likes or hates.

Have those one on ones to keep the communication channels open. Lead by example. Show her sensitivity, give her space and allow her to find herself. Be around so she knows you are within calling distance. Be the wind beneath her wings and rest assured of your upbringing that wherever her flight takes her, like the homing birds, she’ll find her way home. Do remember though, to open your arms wide enough so she can rush over for that special hug. 

-Dr. Shivani Salil

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