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IN OUR parenting journey, there’ll be times when we face a dilemma — to be right or to be kind. We all love our children and would walk the extra mile for them. But in our eagerness to provide the best, and be kind and compassionate, we may not be doing the right thing.

Here’s an example. On a cold weekend morning, you walk into your children’s room to wake them up for the morning prayer. But then you see their cute little faces, still deep in slumber. You pause and wonder whether you should wake them up or leave them to sleep longer. It’s the weekend after all and they’ve had to wake up early all week long.

If you allow them to sleep on, you’d have given them some luxury of time at the expense of their religious obligations. If you’d woken them up, you end up feeling bad for disturbing their sleep even though they would then have enough time to get ready and perform their morning prayer.

Another example of “being kind” is to allow the children to be glued to the TV, watching one show after another. Some parents would go so far as to install another set just so they can watch their favourite shows without competing with the kids. Similarly, there are also parents who’d let their children hog their gadgets and computers all day long.

The parents’ intentions may be good; they just want to let the children be happy and enjoy the latest technology. However, without any basic control measures, the kids will have uninterrupted access to the tools. They end up wasting their time and subsequently become comfortable with the habit.

PRINCIPLE OF “THE RIGHT THING”

Dilemmas such as these can be solved by firmly sticking to the “do the right thing” principle. Parents who recognise the potential hazards would take a tougher, albeit unpopular, stand. They’d institute some sort of rules that would entail their children to be properly guided.

For example, prayers would be performed before other activities, including going to bed. TV and computer times would be just a part — not the main event — of the day. They work together with the children to create a daily schedule that’s acceptable to all. They take into consideration the needs (and wants) of both sides and lovingly enforce them.

Doing the right thing is never easy. If it were, there’d be no corruption, cheating, stealing or shirking one’s duty. It’s akin to climbing a mountain. One must walk, crawl, fall and climb back again. Even then, there’s no guarantee that he or she will ever reach the top. But they never give up once they’ve set the objective to conquer the mountain. All obstacles are necessary challenges that would make success even sweeter.

Great rewards await parents who do the right thing by motivating their children to honour their commitments and execute their responsibilities. With the right dose of discipline and hard work, they can look forward to seeing their children blossom into resilient, responsible and dependable adults.

Zaid Mohamad coaches and trains parents to experience happier homes and more productive workplaces. Reach him at [email protected].

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