“I am a single parent. What is your super power?” I smiled at the whatsApp post. Tearing my eyes away from the mobile screen, I saw my stubborn offspring staring at me, reinforcing what I just read. Had I read this post a year ago, I swear I would have been laughing at it, but not now. I can boast about having a brilliant and level-headed child. But recently this took a toll. I have been traveling a lot lately, owing to some new developments at work. Off late, my parents started to complain that the little one had become very wilful. I brushed aside their concerns, my explanation was – she is approaching her pre-teens, she is claiming her space, she wants her opinions to be heard.
Last month, we had an open house at her school. I was surprised to hear every single teacher grumbling about her extremely short attention span. I could see her self-confidence taking a nose-dive. In the closed society which we both live in right now, my ‘single status’ is given the onus way more than it deserves.
More often than not, kids are a reflection of the people with whom they spend most of their time. So theoretically, she should be a reflection of me. I did a bit of introspection and changed my lifestyle a little bit. Being a work from home mother, I used to allow my office work to spill over. So I gave myself strict time lines to handle office work. The four hours that I spent with my kid, I devoted myself completely to her. Absolute NIL time for any online activity including Facebook-ing and WhatsApp-ing during ‘her’ time. I started setting aside half an hour to catch up with her before starting the scheduled studying time. And I inter-weaved school work with interesting activities which indirectly helped her in improving her skills. I am not a people pleasing person, and hence I had to consciously restrain myself whenever compelled to lecture her.
As always, I discussed this within The Phoenix Family community, and I was immediately flooded with options. These are a few things I adopted to spice her life up a bit. She gets pleasant hidden surprises now and then in the form of lunch box inspirational notes. We have a chart, for the both of us, where we gain and lose points based on the things we do. If we end up having time left over after daily chores, we would relax doing something we both cherish – e.g. take online free-hand drawing lessons together, or do string games, or do card games or simply put some music and dance crazy. I make sure she is not missing her bed-time stories. Every weekend, we spend half a day on outdoor games.
A month has gone by and I have already started seeing an improvement as far as her studies are concerned, as well as her general attitude. My instincts say that I am on the right track and should get my smart sweet kid back soon.