Parents too often feel they have an inborn right to control their children’s lives – just because they are instrumental in bringing them into this world. Sadly, a justification used by many to supposedly regulate their children’s lives is no justification at all. Recent studies have proved that children of less controlling parents turn out to be better in all aspects compared to the controlling ones. What does this indicate? Certainly shows a positive trend of parenting. But what about those who still dictate?
A very common conversation in schools at least in India – “How many marks did your child get? Mine scored the highest.” Board exams of grade ten and twelve are the biggest nervous breakdown triggers for parents and they make sure they transfer the same on to their wards. Exams become a matter of life and death – literally with students committing/attempting suicides on not getting satisfactory results. And here the satisfaction is in direct proportion to parents’ expectations. Another very common practice is of putting children in various activity and educational classes. “My child goes for taekwondo, mental math, robotics and phonics classes. What are the classes your child is enrolled for?” And a child not involved with such extracurricular activities is looked down upon. After all an average primary school kid is away from home for ONLY 7-8 hours. What about the remaining 16 hours of the day? They have to be constructively (so they think) occupied so that comparisons with other parents become easier and the child is off parents’ hair.
In this technology monopolised day and age, children are increasingly getting away from just being themselves. They have no time to play with their real friends – virtual would be plenty, courtesy online interactions galore. There are some ‘privileged’ children who have been blessed with phones and tabs at a tender age by their parents, with least concern about being exposed to the radiation from cellphones or retina damage due to screen light. There is a bigger concern for more marks, prizes and certificates. Children need to be technology savvy in today’s times, not to deny the intellectual stimulation that follows. But social interactions, family outings, picnics, quality time spending by playing family games etc cannot replace the emotional quotient it provides.
Childhood is a temporary phase and is outgrown in no time by children. The most important phase where most of the mental and physical development takes place is underestimated. School and exams shouldn’t be the only measure of success in life. That too at a juncture when children have no clue about the realities of life. Pleasant and happy childhood experiences go a long way in helping children become sensible human beings of the future. Perhaps parents forget that they too were children once upon a time. May be what they were subject to is similar or maybe different to what they have been practising. In a nutshell, a key to an ideal parenting would be comparisons – nil, zero exam/school pressure, acceptance of child individuality and zippo controlling streaks. Your responsibility is to bring them up and not bring them down. How about defying the gravitational force???????