When my elder son was just about growing into his teenage, I started anticipating the same amount of annoyance that I made my parents endure with me as a teenager, if not more. My son was a very mischievous, talkative, effervescent and street-smart boy who always landed into some or the other trouble at school.
I happened to read these lines somewhere and I quote “parenting is not a course of study, it is not skill-training programme, it is not an art, and it is not a business but is a natural love and mutual understanding between you and your children”. The quote moved me.
I decided to make an attempt to be a different type of parent altogether. So, I thought of making a detail Bug List for my son.
This list had three columns. The first list would have the number of situations that would annoy me, but I would take them in my stride and would readily forgive him. The second list would include those activities that would annoy me a lot and would require him to confess the circumstances that compelled him act in that manner. The punishment for breaching these would be that he would be immediately grounded. ( that means, he would not play football for a couple of days)
The third list would have things that would infuriate me to the extent of stopping to talk with him until my anger subsides. Although my son was always courteous and irreproachable, few things like being disrespectful to elders were part of the third list to serve as a reminder.
Here is a sample of all the three lists.
- Not completing assigned tasks, be it school assignments or household chores like arranging his wardrobes, packing his school bags etc.
- Dumping his damp towel on bed.
- Being tardy.
- Being late to school.
- Getting a complaint from school.
- Littering the environment by throwing wrappers, papers or peels.
- Venturing out of the house alone without prior permission of the elders.
- Throwing a tantrum for expensive toys.
- Being late for evening prayers which his grandmother and his dad find annoying.
- Lack of care towards your kith and kin.
- Being rude to the elders in the family, especially to his grandparents who keep visiting us. I found such behaviour extremely offensive and difficult to forgive.
- Being disrespectful toward our house helps. ( we are blessed with great ones)
- My son, being outstanding in academics and also a great sportsperson, was also in danger of suffering from hubris.
The wonderful outcome from this whole exercise was that we had put all the cards on the table, and he knew exactly what annoyed me in no uncertain terms. So much so that now he has made a new bug list for me. Sorry, that is classified.