Mar 192001

riding the chess horse

The question I am most often asked is: “What shall we teach our parents?” There is no easy answer, because parents believe it is they, who are responsible for our performance on the potty, in school, in college and in marriage. We must remember that parents are insecure adults, who live in a world, which is outdated by twenty, thirty or more years. We have to understand that their mind-set cannot grasp present realities. These ten point guide-lines may help you to adjust parenting to your needs.

  1. Assure your mother that you love her, even if she is a computer illiterate and insists on weighing your school-bag. Praise her when she tries to distinguish between software and hardware and allow her to scale down the contents of your school bag. (Take an extra suitcase on rollers, if you must.)
  2. Make your father feel wanted, even if he thinks quantum mechanics concerns motorcycle repairs. Gently assure tell him that tulitron, which guides quarks (as was discovered by a nine year old) is not a new hair tonic. Do not expose him to your Internet transactions.
  3. Do not correct your parents in matters of sex. It embarrasses them. If the stork has brought you, so be it.
  4. Gently get them to understand that if you fail a test or get low marks is not the end of their world. Do not inquire about their mark-sheets or how much useful stuff they learned in school. Assure them there is no need to feel suicidal, you’ll do better next time.
  5. Remember that most parents have zero memory. This makes them ask the same questions and repeat the same admonitions over and over again. Do not discourage them. It gives them the feeling of doing their duty.
  6. Avoid confrontation. Use the magic formula: “I am sorry.” It does not mean you are at fault or regret a deliberate mistake. Whatever happened was not done on purpose. If it upset someone, it fouls up the atmosphere. This is good enough reason to feel sorry. Set an example by saying “I am sorry”, and hope that your parents will do likewise.
  7. Tears purify the system. They are essential to remove those toxins from the body, which are caused by emotional stress. Teach your parents to let you cry as much and as often as you want without taking offense.
  8. Don’t encourage your parents to call you lazy, goofy, obstinate or the like. There is no need, since yourself are painfully aware of your shortcomings (which are more than your parents will ever guess, and vice versa, they have a lot to hide from you). Take the lead to establish a mutual admiration society, i.e. praise your parents often. It will help them to become more confident and mature.
  9. Do not ask for financial assistance beyond their means. It creates shortfalls and anxieties and is detrimental to family health. Instead, make it clear to them that your status does not depend on what others might think. Let them know they are the best parents they know how to be. (This may help to increase your allowance.)
  10. And above all, assure them of your love. They didn’t know they were going to get you, whereas you (even if you have forgotten it by now), did choose your parents. You are a stranger to them. They love you dearly, but don’t expect them to understand you.