My first kid was born in 2002 when I was just 26 years old. I was yet to settle down in my life economically. Emotionally, I was well settled having the peace of mind that most couples are likely to enjoy in their 40s or even 50s. My approach towards parenting was akin to an entrepreneurial venture, where I believed more on myself rather than the norm.
My wife believed that with a kid in family, things will be different and our approach has to be the one that is pre-decided and manipulated. I don’t know if manipulation was a right word to use. But I am quite clear today, all parents have to act-out our behaviors and actions that help transform the kid to be more responsible and disciplined.
Am I not disciplined? Am I not responsible? I love my wife and respect my parents. I am outspoken but then the intent is never to cheat or hurt anyone. If all of this true, I believed that I had all the good traits that my kid would learn and adopt in her life.
But then why will Mahatma Gandhi write a letter to his son who was a rapist? My wife who is today an established Counselor and she says that kids when faced with a choice may not necessarily adopt what is good. The value as per her not always influenced by the role model. A kid may prefer to adopt values that are not desirable or acceptable as a society or a family.
When I hear this from her today, 12 years after, my elder daughter is already on a path that she has decided is right for her. If I am not biased then I look upon her being very explosive, adamant to get what she wants and addicted towards TV, Internet and games on mobile phones. Today, when she refused to have egg curry for dinner, I made her read the advantages of Protein on internet. She said, “Yes, I understand.” A few moments later my happiness was short lived. She did not eat the egg from the curry she was served. I was disappointed and did not argue further. However, I did not stop expressing my unhappiness. But I avoided the argument.
Later, my wife was making me read an article from a clinical psychologist titled “Empowering parents”. What I read was exactly what we experienced. Quite surprising that what I believed was a special problem with my kid. Its abbreviated as ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder).