This phrase never fails to elicit a strange fear. It’s a booster of self-doubt that starts acting the minute these words strike the eardrum. Though I’ve been at the receiving end of it almost all my life. Remembering the first time I uttered it to my child, I can feel a chill run down my spine.
Though, at that time, my 5-year-old, unaware of what I really meant, was excited for another heart-to-heart with her mom.
Before I move ahead, I’d like to highlight the reason for my nervousness in talking to my child. To get a better grasp, you need to read the earlier posts in this series, starting here.
While I have been struggling hard to find a miraculous solution to the conflicts plaguing my relation with my child, no sane advice seemed to pacify me for longer than 48 hours. I could somehow feel, whatever I was doing was merely a symptomatic treatment and I wasn’t touching upon the root cause.
My desperation to sort the troubles once for all prompted me to muster enough courage and ask the one person who was suffering, just like me. My daughter.
This was when, one fine afternoon, interrupting her play, I muttered; “Pari, we need to talk.”
Until that exact moment, I had no clue about how to put my anxiety or rather curiosity into words, in a way that would encourage my child to pour her heart. In my brief experience in parenting, I have learned two important lessons:
- Our children observe us better than we observe them.
- What our children say is just what they feel and is never to be taken personally. (This is something I forget way too often).
Anyway, I digress.
Recalling that fateful afternoon of September last year, I can still feel my hands go cold and my mouth drying up. Quite like I had felt that day.
While my daughter was still fidgeting with her doll’s hair, I started the talk. With my eyes glued to her face (while she was focused on braiding her doll’s hair) I gently asked her what was going on in her mind. I was careful to not let my newly acquired courage to talk about my fears and anxieties slip past my grip like the sand before I had the answers I was seeking.
This was why I chose to be rather cautious about my queries being aimed at the discord we had been sharing. The few seconds that followed my talking, before she started speaking were more dreadful than the silences I have ever encountered in the many job interviews I have been a part of till date. Probably because, in all my dealings with my child, an impending fear, that, my life depends on the outcome looms large over my head.
I am aware that it is far from the reality, but my mind refuses to understand this simple logic and I still at times, act rather stupidly whenever the said fear bites me.
The following hour changed me.
Both as a person and as a parent. Mainly so, cause though I in my heart knew all along, what my child felt, I had been secretly hoping, what she says turns out to be different.
And surprisingly, the confessions my 5-year-old made, left my insides stirred yet calmed down.
This was what I learned:
- I had been under-estimating the potential of my child to see through things and be able to grasp my hidden intent (on most occasions). She left me corrected on that front.
- A child, who can speak, no matter how young, always has the vocabulary to express their inner emotions, if given a chance. It is a mistake to not let our children talk freely on the pretext that they are too young to comprehend their emotions. When they can feel it, they can also express it (in a manner that a parent can easily understand).
- Every discord, every problem can be solved if approached with the right intent, open mind and the heart to forgive. As the adult in this situation, I was well-aware of this one, but somehow, I couldn’t address the issue earlier because I was scared. I dreaded to be told by my child what I was shying away from saying to myself. But surprisingly, hearing it all from my child’s perspective, left me feeling more determined than ever before to address the issues that had been causing all the pain to me and my bond with my child.
- We both ended the talk feeling lighter and hopeful that tomorrow will bring happier times. I am glad to report that albeit slowly, but things have surely taken a positive turn from that day on.
- I promised myself to talk to my child more often, just the way we did that fateful September afternoon. Not because I do not have anyone else to talk to, but because when she speaks, I can feel a part of me speak the truth, I have been stopping my conscience from uttering to me. It was an altogether different feeling, something I had never felt before but one, that I wish to feel over and over again.
“When you give yourself permission to communicate what matters to you in every situation you will have peace despite rejection or disapproval. Putting a voice to your soul helps you to let go of the negative energy of fear and regret.” ~ Shannon L. Alder
Nearly 5 months since, a lot of things have changed in my relationship with Pari. There have been many moments where we fought, disagreed, cried, made-up, laughed till our stomach’s hurt and even teased each other for crying the way we did on that September afternoon. But never again did I feel unheard. Never again did I doubt that my child was not on the same page as me and never again have I felt helpless about the many differences that make us, the mother-daughter duo, poles apart.
The song on my mind: Tere mere sapne ab ek rang hain ~ Guide