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How Having Liberal Parents Is The Best Thing That Has Happened To Me!

“There is no home like the one you’ve got, ’cause that home belongs to you.” – Bolt

For absolute ages, Science has fought over the Nature v/s Nurture debate. The internet, where no argument remains dormant for too long, hasn’t made up its mind either.

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Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License 

I’m hilariously under-qualified to host this debate, let alone settle it. So, that is not what I am attempting here. I’m 21 years old, and this is the story of my upbringing. I’m a huge fan of liberal parenting, because that is how I was brought up. I seem to have turned out fine. Are there absolutely no downsides to being completely free with your child? Certainly. There must be, and there are.

I strongly believe that we learn a lot from our parents, or people who surround us at our most vulnerable stage: our childhood. Primary socialization contributes to building a significant portion of our personality, and is therefore, of utmost importance. When you’re faced with people who were abused as a child, a lot of them will tell you that they make it a point to be better parents. So, the people who bring you up could either set a good example for you, or teach you what not to be. Either way, they leave a great impact on your mind.

Without further ado, I’ll tell you what my life has taught me about the right kind of parenting.

Suggested read: 7 Powerful Reasons Gender Neutral Parenting Shall ENABLE Your Kids To Brave All Sh*tstorms in Life

Both liberal parents and conservative ones, care about their children.

At no point in this discussion am I advocating the execution of authoritative parents. I’m not promoting hatred of any kind. Just because  your mother never let you eat cookies after dinner, does not mean she doesn’t care about  you. Similarly, just because your guardian let’s you do what you want, does not mean they are thinking of your well-being. Stereotyping either style as ‘bad’ is not a mature thing to do. Human beings cannot be fit into boxes, and it is not my intent.

My parents are very liberal, and I am grateful for it, every day.

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Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License 

When I was 12 years old, I was infatuated with somebody 5 years older. When I told my mother, she had laughed it off. On insisting that I was indeed serious, and deserve some humane reaction, she only said: “Welcome to the journey. There will be several men who will come and go. Take care.” It had seemed really bizarre back then. My tiny self had promised her that fairy tales did exist; that he was, in fact, my prince in shining armour.

Does this make you cringe? Imagine my poor mother, having to sit through a lecture on love, from a 12 year old. She never belittled my “ordeal”, though. Neither did she wag her finger at me and say “I told you so” when months later, I lay in her lap, crying. My mother only held me and said, “This world won’t get better, but your strength will.”

9 years and several heartbreaks later, I know I’m stronger. I am glad that she never dismissed my choices because I was too young to make them. Instead, she sat through it, and held my hand as I learnt a very important lesson in life: Not all things last forever. Not all things should.

Liberal parents are great friends, and sometimes, the only ones you’ll have.

My parents believe in friendship. They taught me very early on, that the crux of any relationship lies on how honest you can be with them. It makes sense, doesn’t it? If you’re secretly an alien, you’d at least want to tell your best friend.

Every day, when I came from school, Maa would pack all her work away. For the next 30 minutes I’d speak without a single pause, filling her in with all the news. Who was thrown out of class for sleeping, how many tomatoes I threw out of my sandwich, which classmate I fought with, and the running around I had to do as a prefect, all of it. At the end of the 30-minute tirade, I’d stop to gather oxygen, all the while gauging my mother’s reactions.

I know that none of this information has any direct consequence to her. Sometimes, I’d  relay information that wasn’t even worth being repeated. I did it anyway, simply because I didn’t want my mother to be unaware of anything in my life. Till date, after a long day at college, a bad fight, or a tussle at work, she’ll quietly sit beside me, asking me to tell her everything. And god knows that I pour.

Suggested read: Mary Kom’s Open Letter To Her Sons Brings Up The Value Of Parenting The Right Way

Restrictions don’t work unless one has faced the consequences.

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Image source: Pixabay under Creative Commons License 

My parents are one of the few I’ve witnessed who refuse to put a leash on their child. Does it mean that they don’t care about me? Nothing could be further from the truth. My mother never eats until I’m home. If I leave home early, Baba calls me as soon as he wakes up. But will they ever tell me that I have to fix my schedule according to their preferences? Never.

When Maa comes home, and doesn’t see me there, she calls me right away. We talk for a minute or two, about where I am, whether I’ve eaten, if she needs anything, and then we hang up. She never asks me to come home, but I know that she misses me.

I understand that not all conservative parents limit their children through a sense of authority or misplaced control. Not all of them gain pleasure out of swinging the reins of their child’s life. Some parents enforce very strict restrictions because they do not want their child to undergo a painful experience that they had to. However, you can learn only so much from second-hand knowledge. Mistakes are crucial for growth. If you don’t mess up, you will never learn how to clean up, afterwards. It’s important to create your own paths, stumble, fall, and rise back up. No two lives are the same, and all of them work differently. It’s impossible to build your life if you’re going to keep peeking into somebody else’s manual.

If you’re considerate about them, they’ll be considerate about you.

Lead by example. My parents showed me that they care. They never took their job as parents, for granted. Like any other profession, they have invested everything they could.

If my mother had been okay with misbehaving  with me, I would have grown up thinking that it was normal behavior. My father has never screamed at me, expect maybe twice, in all of 21 years. Did he never want to? I’m sure he did. I was a pest of a teenager. But he chose to be civil and nice to me. They set an example for what kind of behavior is permissible and expected from good human beings. In all my years, I’ve tried my best to follow suit.

I’ve seen children with really strict parents, lying through their teeth. I do not solely blame the parents, and absolve the children of any charge. But I often wonder how I would have turned out had my parents monitored who I interacted with, or decided what I got to study. Would I lie to them about my location? Or, sneak past them at midnight? I don’t know.

Parents who don’t listen to their children, force them to be things they are not.

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Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

In class 10, during a conversation with my father, I broached the topic of homosexuality. Until then, I had only heard horror stories of how parents had reacted to people coming out of the closet.

I asked Baba for his stance on the issue. I remember him saying that there should be no stance. After all, it isn’t any of his business. The question of protest does not even arise if you realize that you have no right to dictate anybody else’s life choices. It got me thinking how an entire anti-gay movement is shaking the world by its roots, but nobody even asked for their opinion.

I was very proud of Baba that morning. I definitely had something to boast about at school, the next day.

Suggested read: Which Of These Parenting Styles Do You Have?

Are liberal parents perfect? Not at all. No human being is. Sometimes, when I’m looking back at the trajectory of my life, I think maybe there is a reason why restrictions are so popular. I wonder if my life would have been smoother and less painful, if my parents had forcefully stopped me from jumping into the fire each time. But then I would never have known why. I would be a robot running on somebody else’s instructions, living my life by cheating of a test my parents had taken. No, this thought does not make me comfortable at all. I’m glad my parents gave me enough space, love, and kindness, allowing me to be my own person.

Between being a mechanical robot, and a slightly burnt human being, I’ll choose my path of trial and error. Always.

Featured image source: Pixabay under Creative Commons License 

Article Name
How Having Liberal Parents Is The Best Thing That Has Happened To Me!
I strongly believe that we learn a lot from our parents, or people who surround us at our most vulnerable stage: our childhood. Here's why I am thankful I have liberal parents.
Meghalee Mitra

Meghalee Mitra

My introductions have always been "I'm too awkward for this." My exercise routine comprises oscillating between being serious and bat-shit-crazy, laziness, and hyper-activity. I love words, live for food, and am always looking for magic.