Posted by Mrinalini Ponappa Banerjea who is a facilitator at Parenting Matters and mother of a 12 year old boy and a 6 year old girl.
My daughter who is all of 6 yrs old went through a big change in her life in the last week of March. Her closest friend in class, with whom she had spent most of her school hours in the past three years, left school for good.
We noticed her getting edgy at home over issues that she would normally have not reacted to. One particular day, I had been unusually busy and preoccupied, as a result of which I had ended up thoughtlessly correcting her all day for all sorts of things.
That night when I was tucking her into bed, she said to me," Mama, I want to say something to you but don't say anything, just listen to me."
"You know, when I do many things wrong don't point it all to me at one time. You can say one in the morning and maybe another at night. If you say all wrong things together I feel bad. See I am already feeling bad about the first one and when the next one comes along it makes me feel more bad and I get confused."
I was amazed by her wisdom and her clarity in expressing her thoughts. I said to her," I understand how you might have felt. You are so wise. This is the same with big people too" (she calls adults, big people). You know, sweetie, you make me want to be a better person. I love you."
She hugged me back and was quiet for a while. Then she turned to me with tears in her eyes and said "Mama, I am feeling sad."
"Are you feeling touched or moved?" I gently asked her.
"What's that?"she asked.
For the next minute, I struggled to explain it to her, but she could not pin point why she was feeling sad.
After a bit I heard her crying in gulps. I just held her, thinking that she must just be overwrought with all the changes she was going through.
She turned to me and said, "Mama, it makes me sad that you said I am wise and that it makes you want to be a better person. I don't want you to change for me. You don't have to change for anyone. You are good as you are."
I was astounded- She felt bad that she had said something that made me want to change – she just wanted me be to be the person I am. And we as parents do not think twice about trying to change our children every minute of the day.
How many of us parents can claim to give our children the unconditional love we receive from them?
Though I could not say a thing to my wise little one, something did change that night...