विचार, आठवणी, अनुभव, भावना, हितगुज , मतं….आणि बरंच काही! eveything that life is about….
The Theory of Equality
Not in any way related to any theories in economics or social science. It is the equality between a child and his parents. We, as parents, irrespective of our love for our child, have a subconscious feeling of superiority over the child. It might be because we have given them birth, they are dependent on us for a lot of things or we are the ones who are going to plan and shape their future. This feeling is not deliberate, but it naturally exists within all of us to some extent.
Are we treating our child equally when we are scolding him or her for doing or not doing certain things? No, We always have a superiority of voice over the child which we normally use to let them know what we expect, what we want them to do or not to do. It is agreed that we behave this way to teach them discipline and good manners that are going to help the child become a good human being in future. But, we should also keep in mind that our child is equal to us in terms of being a human being. He has every right to do whatever he wants to do in his own house, in his own world based on his knowledge and understanding of the things. If we don’t use our authoritative voice and instead talk to them as if we are treating them equally, things often seem to work.
For example, “What have you done? I want you to clean up everything in next 5 minutes.” This might sound little authoritative. Children in the age group of 2 to 5 like getting treated equally and if the kid is real stubborn in nature, he might just ignore the above order and walk out of the room. Instead “You seem to be having a great time playing in this mess. But, do you like your house to be untidy and dirty like this? Can you please clean this up after you are done? If you want, I can help you.” often works. Kids like mine, generally don’t react instantly but he would normally come to me after 5 minutes and say “aai, I am done playing. Can I clean up the toys? I don’t like dirty house” . This theory of equality surely can help us build a right attitude towards looking at and treating our kids and can easily get the things done that we expect from them.
Kids love to get the equal treatment as that of the parents or the other grown-ups. With Gandhar, I have had this experience a lot of times. He likes to drink his milk in the coffee mug because he has seen his mom and dad drinking their coffee from the coffee mug. When we serve the snacks to our guests, he always likes to be served the same snacks the same way, in similar plates and bowls. We often see that most of the kids like to pretend. Doctor, fire-fighter, teacher, are some of their favorite characters. They pretend because they like to behave as grown-ups, someone who is independent and does not have to follow others’ instructions. They like to treat themselves equally with adults. I once had very interesting experience with Gandhar that I can relate to all this.
Me and my husband like to have our evening tea together once he is back from the office. Gandhar usually plays with his toys or eats his evening snacks when we have our tea. One day, he started pretending like his dad. He took his laptop in hands (toy-laptop actually) and came to me.
“I’m going to office”
“Oh, is it? Okay..bye bye…drive safely..” I said, smiling
He went towards the main door but stopped.
“What happened? Go, you will be late for the office”
“Aai, you didn’t give me breakfast.”
“Oh yes, sorry, here’s your breakfast. Finish it and then go to office. Okay?”
“Otey Saraja” (I was really enjoying because he had now stepped into his dad’s role)
He pretended to eat his breakfast just like Utpal. Then he took his laptop and went towards the main-door again. This time, he said ‘bye’ and pretended to go out of the door. Then came back in the living room, walked all over the room and came back again.
“I have come back from the office.”
“Oh, you must be tired. How much work did you do today?”
“2” (??? )
(He was only 30 months then, and he always used to answer ‘2’ for the questions staring with ‘how much’ or ‘how many’)
I ran towards him to hug him after listening to his cute answer, but noticed slight disappointment on his face.
“Aai, you didn’t make tea for me? Can we sit on the sofa and have tea?”
He was pretending to be Utpal and so he was expecting me to treat him just like Utpal. I didn’t give him breakfast and didn’t pretend to drink tea with him sitting on the sofa, which made him upset because he thought that he was not getting the equal treatment.
When kids are stubborn and we want them to act/behave in a particular manner, our actions or behavior showing that we are treating them equally, often works. For example,
If you want your child to stop fighting with other child, just let him know that you consider him/her to be a grown up and the decision-maker. E.g.
“Are you fighting? I know you are a matured, sensible boy. I know that you always think if you are doing a good thing or a bad thing before doing it, just like your mom and dad. Right? So this time also you have to decide if you are doing the right thing by fighting. We all know that you are a big boy now, so you decide.”
This way, kids often get diverted from their main activity (fighting, in this case). They feel a burden of the responsibility to take any decision like the grown-ups. They understand that if they continue to do the wrong thing, nobody will consider them as being grown-up. All these feelings result in the expected behavior from them. (This might not be true in 100 % cases. All kids are different, the level of understanding is different. Or, this might help in certain situations but might not work in other circumstances. I am just sharing my learning and experiences during this journey)
We can use this technique (rather, some of us might be using it already) to handle some of the common problems, like sharing their stuff with others, dressing up on their own, taking interest in the new activities, making them more independent in their routine activities, etc. The key is – showing trust in our children, letting them know that they are being treated like the grown-ups and help them take the correct decision on their own.