Yesterday was my younger son’s PTM (Parent Teacher Meeting). I had to plan my swim session accordingly to be on time at the school and, voila I made it before time!
Attending his PTM are always a cake walk. I get to hear all good things like a very obedient child, very soft-spoken, very well mannered, very disciplined and many more. In one academic session I was also complimented on my luck to have a child like him (as if I offered some special prayer to have him)
Last week I had my elder son’s PTM, and it is me who has to be at the war-front. I scurried through his diary and was surprised not to find a single remark. Wondering what happened as in all the previous academic sessions our diary was full by mid-term and then it was phone calls that demanded me to be in the school at any working day. This was one of the primary reason to leave full-time work. I could not manage half day leave every alternate day.
I got up much before time on the D day with a significant churning in the tummy. Took a shower, dressed well, prayed a little, armoured myself to accept whatever comes, took a deep breath, practised fake smile and nod, and I was ready to be at the front. I was not scared of bomb shelling. I was ready, entirely.
As I waited in the classroom for my turn, I was breathing heavily, twitching my fingers and trying not to make any eye contact with any other parent.
Then came my turn.
“he is a lovely child.”
“studies are also good.”
“very good at sports.”
“high on energy.”
“a delightful child.”
Oh my! What did I hear? I couldn’t believe what I heard. I was looking at the teacher with eyes and mouth wide open. I kept looking at her. All of a sudden there were violin tunes around me, the Bollywood lover in me awakened, and I was already running in the mustard fields. Like a melodramatic actress I was on the verge of crying, but instantly as the teacher broke my Simran feeling, I realized I am a mother who is listening to these compliments for the first time in the entire academic history. I couldn’t thank her enough and moved out of the class triumphantly. Mostly in the earlier PTMs I never dare to meet any other subject teacher. But this time, I held my head high as I have faced all bomb shelling, and I am the bravest soldier. I have nothing to fear. I visited a few other subject teachers only to hear those sugar-coated words yet again and again. I felt I am standing at the gold podium of Olympics and the entire world is looking at me. I felt like waving my hand fervently and claim what I have just heard.
I then headed to my favourite Theobroma and got our favourite chocolate cake.
As soon as I reached home, I threw away the mark-sheet but hugged Sid instead, we then cut the cake and shared the happy stories told by the teacher.
After I was done with my violins and mustard fields, to the Olympic podium to waving to the crowd, I kept wondering what happened. How come such a change? He is a teenager now and is way too bugging, nagging and difficult to handle at times. We often get into unwanted arguments, unreasonable demands and what not but how did this change happen.
I think it was more of self-realization than taking the credit of good parenting.
But I was very clear on one thing right from the day one when I used to get complaints about him that I will never argue, reason or defend him in front of the teacher. I always listened to the teacher like a lamb and never took him along for the PTM or in-between-the-week-any-day-complaint-hearing.
Sharing my views as I see in this transformation, see if you can relate to a few:
- Never bombard on the child after you hear any complaint from the school (believe me, I have heard so many times)
- Let the child speak as well and give a proper argument towards the complaint
- No one knows your child better than you do and you’ll be able to judge the authenticity of the claim and if your child is at fault or not.
- Ask your child to say sorry to the teacher or the child who has been troubled by his/her behaviour. Ensure the etiquette of saying sorry
- Give constant encouragement and positive strokes to your child
- If you are an influential person entirely avoid taking your child along for the PTM. Do not visit the principal, because the child observes the influence of power over education. You have already made your child eligible to behave in whichever way he /she wants as the child now knows that even the head of the school stands up before his/her parents.
- Never make fun or disrespect the teacher in front of the child
- Narrate your school stories. I have many from my convent and how scared we were of our principal.
- Make the child feel responsible for his/her behaviour. Don’t just let them get away from whatever they’ve done.
- If it is a punishment then it should be followed strictly. For, eg, there is a complaint from the school on a weekday, I punish the child refraining from the screen time, but as the weekend approaches I forget about the complaint, and I am already having pizza, roaming in malls and having a gala time. The child takes it as “I can get away with any complaint after a little hiccup.”
- Never let the child get excused under the pretext of “baccha hai” “children do make mistakes” understand the gravity and then react.
- Never fail to show your concern towards your child and keep telling him/her that mistakes or complaints don’t make who you are. Always give a big tight hug.
Parenting is a very tough task especially in today’s scenario we are continually learning as well. But we can balance our reaction and let the children bloom in their conducive environment then we will be able to raise loving, compassionate, responsible and well-mannered human beings.
Good luck to all!