There is one topic I have been avoiding to write since two years. I have been mentioning about it in many posts, mentally drafted the post almost 500 times but somehow never have been able to publish it on the blog.
This hesitance has resulted in a long series of articles ending up as drafts (either on my blog or in my mind) because this base issue hasn’t been talked about. But, things are about to change for good. I am finally, ready to write about everything I have been holding back.
The topic in question is Stubbornness. The roots of this problem are long, strong and deep enough to make me lose my sleep, my peace of mind and lately sanity in alarming proportions.
Enough beating around the bush. Let’s come straight to the point. As a single parent, right from the day of Pari’s birth (that was coincidentally the turning point in my life when I had learnt that from that day on, I will be the sole responsible soul for my child’s upbringing) while I knew the life of being a single parent is going to be tough. But, never in my wildest dreams had I imagined such obstacles in my path.
Though there are a number of challenges that I face being a single parent, for the sake of clarity, I am going to focus only on the emotional and psychological aspects of the issues I have been facing.
To begin with, it is an exhaustive drill. I have no choice but to play the parent 24x7x365. There are no vacations or weekly offs of being a parent which has slowly but surely been taking a toll on my existence. Though I have a number of people in my life who are often seen as possible caretakers for my child, but somehow, I have never been able to enjoy the luxury of having time off because either Pari refuses to stay away from me or the people I trusted, gave me enough reasons to not leave my child with them for longer than an hour at most.
I am avoiding from indulging in the blame game because that would only add to the bitterness and will yield no good. This is exactly where Pari’s stubbornness comes into the picture.
To begin with, Pari’s favorite word is “Nahin” or ‘No’. She uses it as a shield and a sword at the same time. My every question has to swim across like a paper boat in a sea of ‘No(s)’ for everything. I am often pushed to battle it out with Pari to have things as small as her homework done.
I clearly remember writing this letter to Pari where I tried to explain to her the importance of saying ‘No’ and meaning it. But, before she could grow up enough to read that letter, life seems to have chosen to fight back my words. The ingrained stubbornness in her is a gift from both her parents. Her father and her maternal grandmother (my mom) are epitomes of stubbornness and their refined quality has expressed as a dominant trait in Pari right from birth.
Pari’s stubbornness is so disturbing that if she makes up her mind for something, nothing in the world can make her change it. No amount of explaining, cajoling, bribing, scolding, shouting (yes, I am guilty of that) or even pampering works. The result being, more often than not, Pari makes wrong choices and ends up in trouble.
Pari’s stubbornness has caused her to fall seriously ill on a number of occasions, but still, she has shown no inclination in trying to pay heed to what I (or her grandparents) keep trying to explain to her in various forms and stories. No form of discipline has worked on her till date. Even at school, I have been told by her teachers that Pari chooses to do what she wishes to. Though she is a disciplined child who obeys what her teachers and the staff at school instructs her to, when it comes to doing work on her own, she has a mind of her own.
Let’s take a simple incident into consideration for better understanding. Three days ago, during a class activity, when Pari performed well, her teacher gave her a chocolate as a reward. While all the other students happily took the chocolate, Pari said thank you and returned it back to her teacher. Later I learnt that the sweet given wasn’t the one Pari likes, so she chose to give it back to her teacher. Though Pari had told me about it, when I had the opportunity to speak to her teacher, I noticed that she hadn’t taken this incident too well.
On days Pari is in no mood to study, she refuses to budge even when her teacher in school tries to make her write or recite. What her teachers find surprising is the fact that on being asked, she says it up front that she is in no mood to study.
Blame it on my being an old school parent, but I believe, inculcating discipline in life and an understanding of what is important in life should begin right from a young age. My 4-year-old is, in my opinion, old enough to be talked to and be explained that study is as important as play and so is food. But, things are only getting difficult by the minute.
To be very honest, I am many times left dumbfounded with her logic and the way her stubbornness encourages her to take risks and end up in trouble. Being denied for a particular thing often triggers her to retaliate with all her might. She throws a fit of anger, cries and at times screams to have things done her way. I cannot blame it all on Pari alone.
In my tryst to balance discipline with being indulgent my parents have played a key role in spoiling Pari to bits. Whatever I tell Pari that she can’t have (because of any broken promise or tasks are undone or any other reason) is given by my parents to her. So Pari seems to have found an easy way out of having things done her way. (I’ll perhaps do a more detailed post on this issue because it is a multi-faceted problem.)
This has led to a war like situation in my life. On one front I am seen fighting with my parents, trying hard to make them see sense in my subtle refusals to Pari’s endless demands while on the other, I am caught up being the BAD mom who seemingly disapproves of everything Pari has to say.
While I try my best to discipline Pari, my attempts often fall on deaf ears. I spend all of my days either with her when she is at home or preparing to make the thing work well, while she is at school. The stress that this madness has been pumping in my mind is slowly building up enough pressure to keep me agitated and disturbed on more occasions than I would like.
Having said that, I am nowhere close to giving up. Not because I am a warrior at heart but because I really don’t have that option. Being a single parent, my child is my 100% responsibility and I can in no way see her walk down a path of self-destruction. I am aware, I sound crazy, but occasions when Pari has fallen very sick as an outcome of her stubbornness or my parents giving into her wishes defying logic, I seem to have totally lost it.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of the many rants that I can promise are going follow on this blog. So please be prepared for the same.
Song on my mind: Pyar humey kis mod pe le aaya ~ Satte Pe Satta