Of ‘well-meaning’ advice

Of ‘well-meaning’ advice

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Dear well-wisher friend,

This letter comes after much thought and heartache. I’m sure you remember yesterday’s incident. The kids were playing together on the slide. Of course they are too old to slide the conventional way so they were inventing a host of games climbing up, sliding down, crashing into each other, creating a ‘jam’. There was some amount of roughhousing but they were having fun.

After a while we heard a commotion and by the time we got there N was in tears while H stood looking guilty. Apparently as he pulled her down the slide he twisted her ankle. Worse, her dress climbed up embarrassing her and bringing out the tears.

Yes I felt her embarrassment every bit as acutely as she did herself. After all she gets it from me – this feeling of wanting to disappear from the face pf the earth at the slightest unfavourable attention. Given that some of it was witnessed by a bunch of boys and girls, must have felt terrible. I know the feeling. I’ve been there – many times over.

I took H aside, gave him a talking to and sent him home.

However, I seemed to have failed you in your expectation. According to you I should have meted out a harsher punishment. No, it wasn’t enough that I speak to him later at home. I was too soft on him, you felt. He deserved a dressing down right there before his friends. He should have been embarrassed just as he had embarrassed N so that he would remember it the next time, you said.

I wholeheartedly agree H needs to be sensitive in the playground. I know he gets carried away in a crazy sort of way. I agree he needs to be punished. However I do not think shaming him in public is the way to do it. You may not agree of course, and that’s your prerogative entirely.

While you remain my friend and have known the twins for some time I’d like to remind you that I do know them a little better than you. I know what H did wasn’t done with the intention of embarrassing N while should I have done the same to him it would have been very much intentional, that, when I’m decades older than him and hopefully more sensible.

Also, you were not there to see that by the time we got home H had done both our beds, warmed the food, set the table and served us all dinner – his way of saying ‘sorry’. I also know that he may err again. I know it might take him time to turn into the perfect gentleman that I hope he will become one day. I am prepared to wait.

Meanwhile I’m happy to inform you that the incident has done no permanent damage to N going by the way she was wrestling with H this morning.

Your comments hurt me terribly, even though I am convinced I did the right thing. Perhaps that is because, of late, I’ve been on extremely rocky parenting ground constantly analysing each step I take till somedays I feel I feel I’ll go completely crazy. I’d truly appreciate if you keep your suggestions, however well-meaning, as I’m sure they are, to yourself.

Also, if you do have some serious advice, I’d love for you to say it to me directly, rather than saying it came from one of the kids because then I am more likely to take it seriously.

Thank you again for your concern.


30 Replies to “Of ‘well-meaning’ advice”

  1. Wow, that was some crazy suggestion. ๐Ÿ™ I am glad you ignored. As mother of twins, I have to come to ignore or even not connect with ppl like this, for my own sanity. ๐Ÿ™‚

    My first time here. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Blasting him wouldn't have made any difference, maybe he would have felt lonely. I guess you did right and he probably will not repeat it!

    I won't bother much about what others say then.

  3. You did the right thing, Tulika. I have read your posts, and I admire the way you parent the twins. I still remember the post you had written about the football game- when you said, 'you will do it next time', instead of 'it's okay'. That kinda stayed with me.

    So don't doubt yourself because of some meddlesome people. If they can't learn to mind their own business, we will just have to learn to ignore them.

    1. Thanks for that reassurance Shantala. I am constantly struggling with parenting decisions trying to strike a balance between the disciplinarian and the friendly mom.

  4. OMG!! Seriously?!! I'm so sick of other people telling us how to bring up our kids…and that too,not even having the nerve to say it directly! I do hope she sees this post and realizes how ridiculous she sounded!
    By the way, your son is so sweet, the way he tried to make amends!

    1. Exactly Roshni. I might have seriously appreciated her advice had she told me directly. Oh no no she won't see the post – I'm quite a chicken at confronting people. Yeah he's sweet somedays :-).

  5. Oh gosh! Why? I have very low patience for those who butt their noses into our affairs. Okay, so she did not agree with what you did. Well, she could keep that to herself. It's only the foot that wears the shoe know how it pinches. Parenting is intuitive and so situational. I find it weird when people make sweeping statements and don't care about hurting others. Good you got it off your chest. Ignore I guess.

    1. Oh yes saying it here takes such a load off me. You're right parenting is intuitive, specially in times of stress – anger or anxiety – we just go with what we think best.

  6. RIGHT first of all who is SOMEONE else telling you what to do with the kid.. YOU are the mother and you know best .. I dont know why people have this STUPID habit of interferring maybe they need to go and look in their own home FIRST.. and even then they shud remain out and not interfere..

    how will shaming in public help and Moreover the whole episode is between a brother and sister NONE of any concern to anyone..

    You want me to come over and give a piece of my MIND to this person ๐Ÿ™‚ I can .. no issues..

    I hate such people, the yjsut cant let it go ..


    1. Oh yes Bikram. I was sooo relieved they were both my kids who were involved. Had it been her daughter I wonder what I would have done.

  7. How in the world is it okay for someone else to say to a mother that the punishment she gave to her kid is not good enough! If the punishment is severe, maybe it's okay to point it out, I'm not sure though. But this was not sensitive at all!

  8. these so called well wishers are everywhere, Tulika, telling us what we should do and what we shouldn't…But I guess, no one knows our kids better than us, and no knows what will work when handling them, so don't bother with these kinds at all!

    1. Absolutely. Some kids take to the scolding, some need to be spoken to calmly. I just got worked up because this was someone I considered a friend, someone who I thought knew H well.

  9. Ahh don't pay heed to such advice Tulika…You know what you have to do and you will do as you please because N and H are your children and you know them better….Ignore others and don't be too hard on yourself…Hurt yes sometimes but don't let that get to you so much …Hugs <3

    1. Yes thanks Naba. I am just glad both the kids involved in the incident were mine. Had it been someone else I really don't know what I would have done or how much more harshly H would have been judged.

  10. Argh!!! These people…. YOU are the expert on YOUR kids, and YOU know… So just let all these well-meaning-advisers-expert stand there and say whatever they like……. Just dont pay attention, and do what you think is best for your kids… You rock TulikaMum:-) Yay!!:-) Warm hugs to you

  11. Okay, first of all, what concern is it of hers how you parent? Really! I wish people would keep their noses in their own affairs. Tulika, I admire and respect you exactly for who you are and how you bring up the twins. It is no mean feat and I applaud you every single day. Please do not give one bit of care to these words, as difficult as it may be. Proud of you and very very proud of H for doing what he did to make it up to you. Big hugs to you, my dear.

    1. I so needed to hear that. When it comes from someone you think you know well enough it is confusing and saddening and makes you wonder whether you are doing the right thing. Thank goodness I have friends and family I can talk things out with.

  12. It really sad with such back biting, I think parents needs to understand that they are kids and there is a way to tackle naughtiness by not giving a dressing down publicly.

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