Let’s raise children who won’t have to recover from their childhoods.” – Pam Leo
Buddy Parenting is the new term in the world of parenting that is making huge waves. Everyone is claiming to be followers to this supposedly “new” technique of parenting.
But what is it?
Buddy Parenting is all about one thing – being friends with your kid.
More importantly, it is about parenting that makes your kid see you as her very best friend.
It is about nurturing an environment at home, where the kids are treated as equals and the parents are open to learning new things and together, making memories and ‘khushi ke pal‘ that will stay with the kids for all their lives, warming their hearts at tough moments and making them empowered individuals because of the foundation cemented by a happy and secure childhood.
In short, Buddy Parenting is letting kids be kids, and helping them in the journey from childhood to adulthood while putting in every effort to make the journey happy and joyful!
We live in a world where we tend to believe in everything that comes with jazzy jargon and glossy media coverage, but is this the right practice, I often ask myself. In times when #SelfieWithDaughter and #BetiBachao are our primary social campaigns to help the girl child, I, as a mother of a girl, often ask myself the following question:
And mind you, Buddy Parenting is not a NEW parenting technique. And I will prove this to you in this post.
This post is about not one, not two, but three generations that embraced Buddy Parenting – resulting in fearless individuals in all three generations, who are confident without being cocky, and are as passionate as they are level headed. Quite a combination, right? Well, I have their childhood stories to back it up. Here we go!
Daughter 1 and Mother 1 are walking in the local market when daughter stops at a road side book store and starts to select books, all the while eyeing a particular section of racy and steamy covers. The books were Mills & Boons, and though Daughter 1 has read quite a few of these by now, she has always preferred the cover of massive and daunting Botany Books as covers for the tiny Mills & Boons. So here she is, picking out books on social issues and general fiction, which she equally enjoys – but because her mom is here, she can’t summon the courage to go near the romantic books.
All this while, Mother 1 is chucking to herself. She’s seen the books hidden in the daughter’s course book several times, and watching the daughter trying to ignore the new ones now, is just too funny. She bends down and picks up a Mills & Boons with a cowboy on the cover, looking at a girl with blog hair and red pout that looks too glossy to be true.
“Here, buy this.” She says, handing it to daughter 1.
“What?” Daughter 1 says. “This? What is this Maa?”
“This, honey, is the sequel to the “Botany” book you were reading last week.” Mother 1 says, a smile playing on her serene face.
“What?” Daughter 1 blurts, turning a little red in the cheeks. Mom knows? No way!
“Don’t look so surprised.” Mother 1 says. “I know that the same Botany book cannot be read twice every week. I know.”
Daughter 1 now giggles, and takes the book from her mom, and hugs her tight. “I am happy that you read so much!” Mother 1 says. “And your love for literature is something I am proud of. You must read everything without having to hide it – because this is how you realize your taste and your favorite genre. What you read, what you wear and what you do should be your decision – and only yours. You have nothing to hide from me or your dad. Remember this.”
Daughter 1, hanging on to the book, feels incredibly proud to be a daughter of a woman who is nothing like the mothers of this era. She hugs her mother tight and reads the novel without the cover of the heavy Botany book that night.
|Mother 1 was way ahead of her times, and it must have been tough with all the social pressure, but she stuck to her parenting technique and took pleasure in being friends with her daughter. All this in the 1960s! Talk about Inspiration!
Daughter 1, who is a mother now : But why do they need me to come to your school tomorrow? What happened?
Daughter 2: Um, some silly misunderstanding. *her face is red and she’s refusing to meet the mother’s eye*
Daughter 1, who is a mother now: What kind of misunderstanding?
Daughter 2: Um, they think I stole a book from the school library.
Daughter 1, who is a mother now: And did you?
Daughter 2: Mom! I did not, okay? I was only reading the book and I might have accidentally put it in my bag. I even gave it back myself, because I felt guilty. They are totally overreacting.
Daughter 1, who is a mother now: Hm. So you did not get to “accidentally” bring the book back home? *She is chuckling at her daughter’s blush, and is remembering her days”
Daughter 2: No. *looks sad* I want that book. That’s the only one missing from my set of Nancy Drew collection and – God! I’m sorry mom!
Daughter 1, who is a mother now: It’s okay honey, as long as you understand stealing book from the school library is not done, okay? And don’t worry, I’ll come to the school tomorrow.
Daughter 2: So. You’re not angry? I mean, I almost stole something.
Daughter 1, who is a mother now: No, it’s cool. But don’t do it again. I’ll order the book from my library-agent *Daughter 1, who is a mother now is the principal of a govt school which has the biggest and most robust library in the district* and you can complete your set.
Daughter 2: Oh My God Mom, you’re the coolest!
Daughter 1, who is a mother now: I know I am, girl. But remember – it’s okay to love something badly enough to be willing to take a risk, but some things we just do not indulge in. Stealing is one of them. Got it?
Daughter 2: Got it. And I LOVE you mom. I though you were going to be super mad at me for this.
Daughter 1, who is a mother now: And I am. But I am thrilled that you are passionate and even more proud of the fact that you gave it back.
Daughter 2 hugs her mom. She loves her mom because she’s a friend in whom she can confide in, and she vows to try and become a cool mom like her.
|Daughter 2 who is a mother now, believes that as parents we need to have conviction in our ways and have faith in our kids.
Daughter 2 who is a mom of a toddler now: Honey, what do you want for your third birthday? *Bot mother and daughter are chomping on bowls of Kellogg’s Chocos, which are family’s favorite breakfast and the toddler’s favorite snacks at any time of the day*
Daughter 3 who is just about to turn 3: Story Books! Chocos Cake! Mickey Mouse!
Daughter 2 who is a mom of a toddler now: Okay. And what story book do you want?
Daughter 3 who is just about to turn 3: My story! My story! *jumps around happily*
Daughter 2 who is a mom of a toddler now: *Chuckles at her antics* And what is your story?
Daughter 3 who is just about to turn 3: I’ll tell you my story. *begins to tell several made up stories about herself – her flying with the birds, her doing the hot dog dance with Mickey Mouse and friends, her sleeping in a pink flower that is so big even our house can fit in it, and stories of her walking on the blue clouds with mumma and papa. She stops in the middle and ask a question* Mumma, can clouds be pink?
Daughter 2 who is a mom of a toddler now: Yes darling, things can be everything you want them to.
Daughter 3 who is just about to turn 3: Okay. In my story book, I will have pink clouds. And glitter rains. And no curtains on windows, mumma! Only sun! *she hops happily again, clapping her hands with joy*
Daughter 2 who is a mom of a toddler now: Yes! and meanwhile, let’s make some pink clouds with some play dough, shall we?
Both hug each other happily and soon, they make a play dough world that is purely the toddler’s imaginations, unhindered by the boundaries and assisted by a woman who has generations of self belief, power of imagination and love for books in her blood.
|Parents who want to be friends with their kids, need to know that nothing in the world will ever match the time they give their kids, and the love they shower them with. Everything else, like toys, are just temporary Love is permanent.
No points for guessing the Mother 1 is my grand mom.
Daughter 1 is my mom.
Daughter 2 is me and the toddler is my daughter.
Over the generations, we as parents, have tried to nurture creativity and have learned the value of participating with the kids in what they love to do, and teaching them life lessons by making learning fun, and creating bonding moments with our kids that go on to make for a happy and secure childhood.
Isn’t that a blessing to have parents that are your friends?
I know that having parents that value the power of interactive learning over intrusive over parenting, is something that instills a sense of confidence in kids that is healthy and full of love.
This is something I always try to remember:
|This is something we all need to remember. We are raising individuals, not finding solutions to a problem. Kids have their own tastes and their own quirks, and parents should realize that every kid is special.
To be open to learning new things, is a virtue not many have, but of you have parents who are open to new experiences with their kids, the family supports the sentiment of ‘Khuljaye Bachpan’ – which is symbolic of ‘unlocking’ the way childhood should be.
My grand mom was one such parent.
My mom was another.
And now I am trying my best to be a friend to my daughter, to empower her and bring her up as a creative, tolerant, fearless and generous human being, all the while creating Khushi Ke Pal in the family.
“Children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they have never failed to imitate them.” — James Baldwin
Here’s to parents that are our first teachers, our first superheroes, and most importantly – our first friends!
This post is a part of Kellogg’s Chocos ‘Khuljaye Bachpan’ campaign in association with Indiblogger .