Birla Principal writes on myths and challenges of parenting
08 Oct 2017 - 15:39
By A P Sharma
We may not be able to prepare the future for our children, but we can at least prepare our children for the future. The best way to predict the future of our children is to invent it. That invention lies in right parenting. It is the key to getting our children prepared for tomorrow.
Most parents are stuck with the heritage bag they carry which they draw freely from when it comes to parenting and disciplining their own children.
Parents, especially young ones, overlook the ‘generation gap’ that acts as a challenge in the right way to parenting. It is rightly so in these times when our children are soaked in social media and travel on information superhighway at breakneck speed, and they are, as it were, congenitally tech savvy.
Parents have the notion that they have had the ‘right upbringing’ from their parents and that there is nothing besides the lessons that they have had in their parental tutelage in raising their own kids.
Something that they overlook here is the fact that in their parents’ time, they were raised in joint families, and in course of time, tradition has given in to ‘nuclear families’ removing almost altogether the diverse learning opportunities children could have had in the past. To make matters worse are the torrential changes that have come over the life style of people with the advent of the internet, the cyberspace, technology and artificial intelligence.
In retrospect, today’s parents are wiser and reckon that their parents could have raised their children in a better way but could not do it because they did not have the privilege of having the advantage of the knowledge explosion which parents are immersed in today and, hence, today parents can raise their children better than their predecessors did.
Young parents of today recall their childhood with dissatisfaction not so much for the deprivation of what was essential but for the overwhelming pampering they have had from their parents.
Recently, I was the resource person at a workshop on ‘Parenting’ designed for parents of children between the ages of three and five and shared with them a few tips and I received an overwhelming response. I summarize the tips below for the benefit of all:
1) Every child learns from home as the family is the first school of life and parents the child’s first teachers. I spoke to grade 2 child and it said, “Sir, when my father returns home from work, my mother receives him with love and affection and gives him a glass of water with a smile on her face. But, when I come from school, my mother always asks me why my uniform is dirty and soiled.”
What parents, especially the mother at home, need to do is to give them unconditional love. Your kids require you most of all to love them for who they are, not to spend your whole time trying to correct them. They keenly observe, listen and see what is going on in the family and learn from it. Parents should receive their children with the same kind of love and affection as they show each other.
So, mothers, please give your son or daughter a glass of water on their return home from school, help them unburden themselves, help them unwind and relax. Find goodness in them and tell them how great they are! If you do so, you will have made their day. Studies will follow.
2) Fathers, the most precious gift you can give to your child is your ‘quality time’. When your child knows that you live for him or her, the child will spontaneously open up before you. When s/he knows that he/she is your first love, she/he will intimately describe and narrate her/his story of the day. Every day they will look forward to it. It will also serve as a platform for developing language skills, confidence, knowledge building and many more. The best way to keep children at home and to make them feel at home is to make the home atmosphere pleasant, and let the air out of the tires. Give them positive feedback.
So, fathers, please fix an appointment with your kid, talk to him/her everyday about ten minutes. Its advantages are many such as confidence building, cementing trust, improving speaking skills and laying the road to future growth on stable values.
3) We all know that there are no perfect homes and so, no perfect parents. There can be minor slugfests at home between parents occasionally. These add a special charm to holy matrimony. But, parents must be very careful not enact these scenes in front of their children. Most things are good, but there are evil things too, and you are not doing your child a favor by fighting in their presence. As children are the best mimics, parents’ must exercise extreme caution in not washing their dirty linen before the tender minds. It might provide children scope for imitating a bad example! The important thing is to teach a child that good can always triumph over evil. The fourth lesson, in brief, is: Parents- never argue, shout or fight in the presence of children. They will mistakenly learn that the best way to solve a problem is to fight. Resolve your differences in private!
4) If you raise your children to feel that they can accomplish any goal or task they decide upon, you will have succeeded as a parent and you will have given your children the greatest of all blessings. Parents, therefore, let us ensure that children start the day eating breakfast compulsorily.
In Qatar, some students get into the bus as early as 5 a.m. and skip breakfast. They start school at 7 a.m. and get to eat the first food of the day about 8.20 a.m. I believe students should start their day with breakfast at 7 a.m. I am contemplating a compulsory breakfast period of 15 minutes right at the start of the school time dedicated to eating breakfast soon after morning assembly.
The little ones embarking on studies use up energy, and once the store is exhausted, the body starts to draw on the arterial blood for it. Soon the child feels drained out and cannot pay attention to the lesson or the teacher. It affects the child twofold, its studies and its physical strength. The lesson is: Let us make our children eat a healthy breakfast before we ensure they study well.
5) If you can control your behavior when everything around you is out of control, you can model for your children a valuable lesson in patience and understanding and snatch an opportunity to shape character. Few outsiders can do it for you. (There may be exceptions). While doing so, it is important that no ‘foreigner’ or ‘outsider’ goes too close physically to your child, especially, an ‘uncle’, a ‘friend’ an intimate ‘neighbor’, or/and even a close ‘relative’. Teach your child about the ‘good touch’ and the ‘bad touch’. Some in this category are notorious for their demoniac pedophiliac tendencies. They are depraved perverts. Let us be vigilant against such depravity and perversions inflicting any damage to our children’s body and mind. The lesson is: teach your child about good touch and bad touch and give it the courage to speak to you , should anything go wrong.
6) Don’t let your maid change clothes or give a bath to a school going child. (Maintain privacy always).
7) Ask your child to stand in front of a mirror and hold his tie and say “I am the best” everyday. (This improves self-confidence).
8) Children reciprocate what you give them - say “good “, they will reciprocate “very good “. If you say “very good “ he/she will reciprocate excellent.
9) Don’t consider your child a stage performer to perform in front of guests. (They will be more shy and get guest phobia).
10) Never talk bad about your child’s teacher (s) or school in front of them. (This will create a bad attitude towards the teachers/school).
11) Ask the opinion and suggestions of your child while taking decisions whenever possible. (This improves self-esteem).
The writer is a Principal of Birla Public School