Being an old-fashioned parent in the modern world is smart


“Mummy! Why do you have to be so nice all the time? Why can’t you be like X’s mom and have a meanie expression on your face?

“Mummy, why can’t we show-off too?”

These are some questions my daughter asked over the last few years.

She basically wanted us to throw some attitude. You know, like having our noses up in the air vibe.

“Well, that’s not me!” has remained my standard answer.

Before I explain my perspective, here’s the backdrop.

This incident happened when my daughter was around nine years old.

“Mummy, Y is spreading lies about me behind my back? Why is she doing that?” she said, about to burst into tears.

Y was Nadine’s classmate and a fellow cabinet member in the Primary School.

Who thought 4th graders could get so competitive and nasty?

“Hmmmm! Did you say something or do something bad to her?”

“No! She tells me that I overact. That I am a liar and have never been to America. That my accent is all fake.”

“Ignore her! Perhaps she’s jealous or insecure about you for reasons best known to her. You continue being nice and doing what you do. You don’t have to waste your feelings or time on her. And you don’t have to be liked by everyone either. Some people will simply not like you, no matter how good you are to them. It’s their problem, not yours. Move on, my dear, and stop crying.”

“I can’t. She’s telling my best friend not to talk to me. I so want to punch Y. Why is it in India we have this group system? Don’t talk to that group. Be in our group. Don’t talk to this girl or that. In American schools, we didn’t have all these rubbish groups. We could talk to whomever we liked.”

“Hmmm! Wait a minute! Let’s call your best friend and sort out all matters. And if she’s truly your best friend, you don’t have to worry. Also, welcome to the real world!”

A few days later, one early morning,

Nadine walks in groggily to the kitchen, exclaiming loudly, “I’m hopeless!”

“What happened?”, I ask.

“Why am I born like this? Even in my dreams, I’m so nice. I dreamt that Y snatched away my best friend, and I did nothing. I let her get away. I did not kick or punch her…nothing.”

I couldn’t help feeling amused. But, more importantly, my teeny weeny heart swelled with pride.

I didn’t think she was being a coward. Rather, I found it was a smart move, as I don’t believe in wasting any energy on energy vampires.

My aim as a parent has always been to pass on the traits I saw, learned and imbibed from my parents. Those have been kindness, humility and sobriety.

Even to this day, my parents are my grounding force. Every time I go on a heady trip, they are the first ones to give me a reality check and I couldn’t be more thankful.

I must admit, though, it’s not been easy trying to pass on good old-fashioned values to my daughter in the age of social media. Forget children. Sometimes, I also see insecure, inflated egos, especially in the new-age influencer community owing to social following and it’s accompanying fame. While I’m not here to judge or change anyone, my stance has been to remain the same person with old-fashioned values, irrespective of how others perceive me.

My teenage daughter is in high school now. I’m proud to note that she understands well the difference between constructive criticism that comes from a place of good internet and malicious comments meant to tear her apart, owing to deep-seated insecurity.

But, I know as a parent too that there are many things that she might have faced as a child that she wouldn’t have shared with me. Surely, her story of being bullied as a child and isolated because of her kind heart would not have been easy.

Being older and wiser today, she’s slowly learning boundaries. I’m glad she understands well today that kindness is not weakness but your strength. And how other people’s actions and words shouldn’t affect our peace of mind or character. How there’s always a tribe of humans, animals, birds, and other universal living forces, waiting for you, who’ll love and accept you just the way you are!

Image by Дарья Будич from Pixabay

*I’m participating in #BlogchatterA2Z.

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Tina Sequeira
Tina Sequeira is a marketer and moonlighting writer. She is passionate about tech, creativity, and social justice—dabbling in and writing about the same.

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