How I stopped myself from being a World-Class Jerk

Weekends are always crazy and busy……esp. when we all end up sleeping in after a hectic week and a late and fun Friday night, not to mention my pain that keeps me awake. Today was no different, we woke up and it was a typical scene – G & I trying to hustle breakfast and cook lunch at the same time, while the V’s are going at 100 words a sec with all they need to do before the weekend is done – their assignments, 3D-model, materials to be scrounged for the said model, research to be done. And of course, there is the weekly grocery run.

Vidyuth has a “Stand Up” project fair on Feb 9, an interdisciplinary project in which students create a social awareness campaign for a cause they care about. He cause was “Stand against Animal Cruelty” and he chose to do stand up against cow slaughter for leather and other inhumane practices. He logged in and was telling me all these facts about top exporters/importers for key products made from leather. Then he was talking about the practices in dairy farming, looking at photos………commenting on how we (i.e. humans) take advantage of animals and then torture them etc.


Meanwhile, I was trying to multitask, processing all the things I had to finish over the weekend, planning for meals, assignments, etc. I lost patience at the facts that were thrown at me in random and snapped at Vidyuth to take notes and focus on the task at hand. I also said other things that were borderline rude, which I realized immediately after catching his hurt expression. I apologized to him and he said that he has never worked on anything like this, and that he was looking up to me for guidance.  It just hit me hard that not only was I expecting him to do something that he was unfamiliar with but I had also issued instructions instead of SITTING DOWN with him and GUIDING and walking him through the steps – showing him the ropes. In short, I was being a jerk to him and thank god I caught myself from turning into a world-class one.

I then told him that I am going to be more understanding of what he needs (not what I think he needs) and that he can call me out anytime he catches me doing this and we identified a word that he can use so that I can remember this day and stop myself.

Vidyuth is an adolescent and is going through so many emotional changes that it sometimes feels like being on a rollercoaster. Yes, this is the first time I am experiencing this as a parent and believe me when I say that the sheer physical exhaustion with a newborn, toddler is a welcome and blissful stage when compared to the emotional and physical exhaustion with an adolescent. But I have gone through my own adolescence and so know how confusing it can be while this the FIRST time my child is going through this change and I can sense his confusion.

So this is my commitment to him: I am going to BE THERE, just there, for times when he needs a support or a boost or when he needs someone to lean on or listen to and for times when he doesn’t need me at all. I am going to be honest with him, guide him, not issue instructions. I only have 6 years before he leaves home and I OWE it to him to provide him with a home that is a haven, someplace he knows he can come to when things get tough, when he needs to chill, where he can be himself. I am not saying I won’t make mistakes, I definitely will but I also have today to remind me – the day I almost became a world-class jerk.

Here’s to yet another arduous yet rewarding parenting stage!

“Whatever emotional state you’re in while you’re parenting conveys more to your child than the content of what you’re doing with them, no matter how perfect your intervention looks “on paper.” In other words, to paraphrase Marshall McLuhan, “your emotional state is the message.”
Michael Y. Simon, The Approximate Parent: Discovering the Strategies that Work for Your Teenager






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