Sometimes you need a reminder that you are shaping a child’s future

My daughter Aaima is like a little penguin — chit chatting all day long, loves to hold and kiss babies and be around with people she loves. But grab her toys and she will give you good whack with her flippers. Ouch! Terrible twos, they say.

Recently a couple who are good friends of ours came to our home with their adorable daughter, just shy of a year. Whenever the baby comes to our place, there are many “who will snatch whose toy” moments between the two of them. On the aforementioned day, we were engrossed in our conversation when we heard some whimpering. Uh oh! We turn around to see the two in middle of a toy fight with Aaima wanting to be on top of the game by pushing the baby’s face and almost strangling her while trying to snatch the toy. Tears started rolling down the little one’s face. Her mother immediately picked her up and started crying too, echoing her daughter’s pain.

CHECK HER NECK FOR INJURIES, AAIMA HAD A TIGHT GRIP ON IT! boomed the father, in a tone full of anger and worry, rushing to his baby’s side.

This sudden turn of event seemed to unnerve Aaima, and I could see tide of emotions building up. Her little body heaving with sobs, her face full of guilt and fear.

WHAT DID YOU DO AAIMA?? SAY SORRY, RIGHT NOW!! thundered my husband, giving her a strong disdainful look.

It was then that she crumbled, piece by piece. Her sniffles turned to ferocious crying. I was watching helplessly and unsure what to do, whether to pacify my crying daughter or the fearful mother who had experienced threat to her child. Our friends sensed our uneasiness and tried to calm Aaima. However Aaima was like a piece of cloth thrashing and floating against its own will in a heavy torrent, she couldn’t be consoled. Even after they left.

My husband scooped Aaima in his arms and hugged her tight. She looked to be in a state of inner turmoil. After a lot of coaxing, in a quivering voice she said something which I didn’t expect a 2.5 year old to say — I am feeling bad because my uncle and papa yelled at me.

Next morning, she woke up and the first thing she said to me, sad eyed — The baby will never ever come to our home now. My daughter was cheerless the entire day, low-spirited and repeated her guilt and hurt many times over. I had a hard time controlling my tears.

This incident made me realize few important things which we as parents forget:

· Your child is a tiny bundle bubbling with feelings and sensitivity. They are adults in the making, who understand basic emotions, one of them being anger. They carry happy or sad feelings associated with these emotions for a long time, even if it’s not apparent.

· They see the world through your actions. Their sense of right and wrong comes through filters set by you. By reprimanding them you are giving the green signal that anger and shouting are okay — and that love comes entwined with rage.

· Never ever scold them in front of others. They carry the shame of being yelled at publicly. Like a wilting flower. Not to forget the fact that it builds the stage for a low self-esteem, which may last all their lives.

· Remind them that it’s all right to make mistakes. The crucial thing is to correct them, learn from them and move on. Don’t linger on it, I explained it to my daughter. Even though she might not understand the complexities of this statement, but as they say seeds are sown early in the mind.

· Don’t force them to share their things. Not even for the sake of looking like good parents in front of others. Talk about it calmly and logically when you two are alone.

The best way for your child to learn good behavior is by modelling it yourself. The only way to nurture a happy, loving and respectful child.