Posted: 5 Dec 2012 | coaching, motivation, parenting, child, children giving space, caterpillar, buttlerfly, NLP

Becoming Parents

Being a parent is never easy. All of the joy, fear, worry, all of the trials, tribulations and happiness all wrapped up in one bundle that is called parenthood.

This article is written for fellow parents and parents-to-be.

My boy was packing for his 4-day-3-night camping trip. I did my fatherly duty, as all fathers do, to help my son be the best prepared for the camp, and be the most efficient in packing the backpack. Most noble intentions as you can see.

I recall the time when my dad and mum were younger. People at of the older generation had parents who were not so "well-equipped" meaning that education level was lower, earning power was less, parenting knowledge and experience was less easily available. During those times, parent similarly gave their children the best they could.

My parents gave their best wishes and praises to us. All my parents hoped for, was for us to have a good education, a university degree if possible, land jobs that pay well and be comfortably set for life. Whenever we find success, our parents will rejoice and congratulate us. When we were punished, the punishment is usually meted out physically with a cane.

All that we, as the child, needed to was to do their best or be seen to do their best. All that our parent did was to support us in whatever ways they know and can.

Today, those children of yesteryears have grown up. Now, they are parents themselves with children of their own. Parents are now better educated, and with more disposable income to spend on their kid’s education with higher expectations attached.

Parent feel that they are more equipped to help their children, to give them advice, to show them the way to success.

However, today’s parents are also more critical, less generous with praises; the punishment is not only physical pain, but also mental stress with words that hurt. Parents are less patient, having showed the child the way, the child was supposed to grasp concepts faster, able to apply and innovate easily, and achieve success sooner.

This reminded me of the story of the boy who had a caterpillar:

Once a little boy was playing outdoors and found a fascinating caterpillar. He carefully picked it up and took it home to show his mother. He asked his mother if he could keep it, and she said he could if he would take good care of it.

The little boy got a large jar from his mother and put in plants for the caterpillar to eat, and a stick to climb on. Every day he watched the caterpillar and brought it new plants to eat.

One day the caterpillar climbed up the stick and started acting strangely. The boy worriedly called his mother who came and understood that the caterpillar was creating a cocoon. The mother explained to the boy how the caterpillar was going to go through a metamorphosis and become a butterfly.

The little boy was thrilled to hear about the changes his caterpillar would go through. He watched every day, waiting for the butterfly to emerge. One day it happened, a small hole appeared in the cocoon and the butterfly started to struggle to come out.

At first the boy was excited, but soon he became concerned. The butterfly was struggling so hard to get out! It looked like it couldn’t break free! It looked desperate! It looked like it was making no progress!

The boy was so concerned he decided to help. He ran to get scissors, and then walked back (because he had learned not to run with scissors…). He snipped the cocoon to make the hole bigger and the butterfly quickly emerged!

As the butterfly came out the boy was surprised. It had a swollen body and small, shriveled wings. He continued to watch the butterfly expecting that, at any moment, the wings would dry out, enlarge and expand to support the swollen body. He knew that in time the body would shrink and the butterfly’s wings would expand.

But neither happened!

The butterfly spent the rest of its life crawling around with a swollen body and shriveled wings.

It never was able to fly…

The boy had since learned that it is a natural process that the caterpillar is going through to become a butterfly. It will do so naturally on its own.

Parents must also realize that they have to take one two or even many steps back, so that their children have space and room to grow, just like they had when they were young in the past. All that the parents need to do was to just be there to offer help and support when the children ask for it. Besides that, words of encouragement and being present themselves would suffice and do wonders for the child.

So here I am, thinking that just because I had been an army officer and a president scout, that I was most well equipped to guide him. I ended up crossing the line, getting upset and straining the relationship instead.

You see, I am also growing as my child grows, my child is 13 years old and I have 13 years of experience as a father. Every day is a new day for my child and also a new day for me as a father, I am learning too.

If I knew then what I know now, I am already doing things differently, haven't you?

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