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The Crumpled Bed-sheet

When 4 year old Aryan made bed for himself, his mom had to supress the deep urge she had within herself to smoothen them and make them tidy for her baby to sleep in. Thankfully, she was now aware that re-doing what her child has done was one of the biggest parenting mistakes she can do to discourage her child from taking up responsibilities around home. 

The awareness came from her visit to the paediatrician the previous week for Aryan’s annual assessment. Eager to go out, Aryan had dressed up in a formal wear which he loved. He looked dashing in this particular suit for his aunt’s wedding and he had received lots of praises from the people around him. Excited to show it off to his friendly doctor, he dressed himself up neatly in the formal wear, feeling quite proud of himself. Unfortunately, Sumana, who was already late for her appointment, did not appreciate her son for the wrong choice of dress he had picked for the occasion. She completely missed out to see that he had dressed up so neatly in the formal wear all by himself. Not having time to explain, she continued complaining that he had no dress sense, crudely pulling him out of the clothes, all the while when he kept bawling his eyes out. He was pushed into a new set of casual jeans and T-shirt and pulled to the paediatrician. 

When they entered the clinic, Aryan was still weeping and his mother completely frustrated with him. As soon as Sumana saw the paediatrician, she couldn’t contain herself and asked, “How to stop this boy from crying for every simple thing?” 

Sumana was breathing hard and it looked as though she wanted to trash Aryan there and then. Her experience had taught the doctor there is always a story behind the parent complaining about their tots. She took Aryan to her side and asked him calmly, “Aryan, what happened beta? Why are you crying?” 

Between his sobs, Aryan narrated how he had dressed up beautifully but his Mom made him dress badly before coming over. By the look on the doctor’s face, Sumana knew she had made a mistake. Aryan was consoled and sent to play at the play-centre with the therapist. 

Once the child was out of sight, the doctor asked Sumana what happened that day. Now feeling fully embarrassed, Sumana narrated the whole episode to the doctor. During her narration, she realized how she completely ignored what Aryan had accomplished and how he felt about the dress. His emotions were completely side-lined by her need to dress him appropriately. 

As expected, the doctor explained how children feel hurt, when parents re-do what they have done. We steal them of their confidence, courage and creativity, by correcting everything they do. Off course, there will be times when things should be corrected; but, unless it is absolutely necessary children should be allowed to things their own way. Even if the bed is crumpled, the child will sleep proudly in it, because it is his/her own masterpiece. 

The same applies with other activities around the home. I am quite sure that every mom of a tiny tot will agree that doing something by self is much more easier than allowing the child to do it, but that will never make the child independent and self-sufficient. 

Wait and watch your child reach out for that favourite toy on the shelf. Look what ideas the child will have to get to it. It is tough for a mom to not pick it up and give it to the child, but then the child will never learn to be creative enough to find solutions. Let the child experience the world and grow naturally. Let the bed sheets remain crumpled, because a fine lines on the sheet is much better than the creases on your child’s forehead.