Parenting is complicated, to say the least. It’s the lesson we learnt in adolescence; when our parents were selfish, paranoid, control-freaks. It was then, when we swore by our conscience that we will give our children all the ‘space’ and ‘independence’ in the world and God forbid not perpetuate the closed parenting we inherited.
About 30 months ago as I embraced my little newborn daughter, I looked forward to some years of our mutual understanding before the ordeals of her teens. In two years she learned how to smile, crawl, giggle, sit, eat, play, walk, run, destroy, talk, and blabble uncontrollably. All the while, we were more-less on the same page.
A few weeks ago, she decided that she knows how to put her pants on “alone.” I let her try, and after five minutes she pretty much got half way through, and started chanting “hooray!” I was proud and so was she, it was another milestone in her cute little life. This phenomenon went on for another few days, and it got less cute and more annoying. She insisted that I don’t help her and she’s fully capable; and I knew that her pants were sideways and stuck somewhere around the 50 yard line. And five minutes is not so cute before my morning coffee.
One morning, after forcefully putting her pants on for her, I looked in her eyes and read them telling me “you selfish, paranoid, control-freak!” I felt terrible. So, I realized, while I still do know better than her, and when she’ll grow up I’ll tell her she was a fool for arguing with me when her pants were backwards and inside-out, I have to stand by watch her make mistakes and let her learn. Otherwise I’ll still be dressing her when she’s twenty.
I guess we want our children to win their War of Independence; my only question is, at what cost?