Every day I strive to be a good father. I am not perfect, but at the same time I keeping learning from Arjuun and try to improve. In this sense, Arjuun has been a great source of confidence to me. At times, when he throws tantrums, I have lost my cool - which was a very WRONG attitude of mine. But Arjuun helps me to get over that. I make a very careful attempt to ensure that my reactions should not impact him. At times, I try to be too perfect - which is totally meaningless.
I always keep the communication channels with Arjuun very candid and honest. Whenever I make a mistake, I sincerely get down and apologize to him and tell him that what I did was wrong. In that way, Arjuun accepts me as I am and we both embrace each other's mistake. But we create a colloborative learning space and move forward.
Some lessons that I learnt:
a) Break that " One answer is correct " attitude. There is no ONE correct answer to anything. So allow childern to expand and explore their thinking. If they call a circle as a square, they are 100% correct. They have their own logical ways of interpreting a circle as a square. Listen to them and accept their thinking patterns.
b) Do not enforce conformance at all times. Let them try,experiment different things.Allow them to fail and embrace their failures. This gives them a lot of confidence. Let them know that rules that are held sacred by conventional wisdom needs to broken and you will be there to support and nurture them.
c) Books,Books and Lot of books for them. This helps in the developing the creative and imaginative process within the child.
d) Allow them to draw,paint and scribble anything. Don't restrict them by saying- Please colour inside the square,circle etc. Let them go outside those boundaries.
e) Help them to take risks and allow free play. If they want to play in rain,sand,mud etc - allow them to do so. Just monitor them, so that they don't get hurt. Even if they get hurt, don't tell them - " See I told you, that you will get hurt". Never ever interrogate them.
f) Encourage role plays and be a part of them. Play the role that they ask you to play. This could be their teacher,classmate etc. Play them to the fullest.
g) Allow them to find solutions to the problems, by giving clues. e.g This could be as simple as, hiding some pictures and providing them clues to find it.
h) Explore them to different kinds of music - especially instrumental music and music of their choice and not yours.
i) Take them daily for a walk or a short cycling round near your house.
h) Sit down and listen to what they have to say. This means active listening and not just hearing. Look them straight into their eyes and actively get involved in their speech. Repeat what they told you and validate with them, if you have understood it in the right way. Repeating and validating - gives the children the assurance, that you have been listening them seriously and you value their thoughts,words and emotions.
Do not hear to them, by reading a book or concentrating on other topics.
j) When they throw tantrums, first do not lose your cool. Keep your cool and 1st calm them by stroking their chest,arm,head or back depending on their comfort zone.
k) Listening to the child and giving them eye contact will ease out a lot of problems.Make time to spend time with them. It helps to learn a lot from them.
Finally,understand that they are small children who do not know what they are doing.They are unable to express themselves properly. So keep that in mind and always stay calm and don't shout back when they throw tantrums.
Finally, My dear Arjuun :
I am sorry, if I had hurt your feelings in one way or the other.
It is purely un-intentional and you can be rest assured that everyday,I learn and improve in my journey to be a good father.
Thanks for being such a wonderful son and I love you so much!