The challenges of modern-day parenting and how to overcome them?
“What is the one thing you do most often concerning your child?”
“Honestly speaking, I worry.”
Although most parents would not accept this fact, but ask an impartial observer and we can see that the ‘worry’ quotient in parents is increasing with each passing day. With the plethora of information that abounds about us, parenting today has become more like a survival game where every movement needs to be measured, be it stopping your child from consuming junk food or keeping a strict watch on who he/she hangs out with. In a classic case of over-affection gone wrong, parents, in their constant effort to protect their children from anything ‘bad’ whether it be food, TV/ internet, their company etc. have either made them weak or turned them into rebels without a cause.
The most important axiom in modern-day parenting is that there is no right or wrong way. There is no effective blueprint, as every parent-child relationship is unique and has a distinct quality to it. Admitting your children in a great school or enrolling them in numerous extra-curricular classes does not define parenting. It is about trying to create an emotional bond that transcends material needs, and will remain even if that new phone is not bought or a trip to Hawaii is not planned. Kids are able to perform better when their parents are with them through thick and thin. Children thrive when they have parents who are happy, caring and are keen to enjoy moments together.
How you are as a parent plays a very important role in shaping the personality of your child as he/she goes into adulthood. A responsible parent is someone who respects the needs and emotions of a child and also encourages the development of the child’s self esteem. In the growing up years, a child’s social interaction is the most with his/her parents. Therefore, the style of interaction plays a significant role and leaves an impact on the child during his/her growing up years. However, parenting does not end when a child grows up and enters into adulthood. It is a long-term process and a lifetime commitment that a parent takes up to promote a child’s social, emotional, physical and intellectual well-being from infancy to adulthood.
Understanding your child’s intent behind his/her actions is half the battle won. If children are to learn from their mistakes, they need to be allowed to make mistakes in the first place. For instance, we may stop an infant from going near fire without explaining the reason why. He grows up fearful of fire, without ever knowing why it is dangerous. As soon as he reaches a semblance of adulthood, he would try to break out from that childhood restriction of fire, probably causing serious injury.
Thus, a cautionary-yet-unimposing attitude needs to be followed with children so that they grow to be adjusting, socially productive people. This process begins with assigning them personal responsibilities, and ensuring their accountability. For instance, parents should ensure children keep their rooms neat and tidy. Also, children should be motivated to manage small sums of money on their own so they gain financial independence smoothly when they grow up. It is essential that parents should participate enthusiastically in occasions such as festivals etc. and assign specific roles to children, so that the trait of responsibility is inculcated at a young age.
It is also important to reward children for their accomplishments. Parents need to teach children how to set achievable goals with a reasonable reward. Parents should teach them how to earn their rewards without hurting others and encourage them to pursue some kind of sport that helps them to embrace a competitive spirit.
Parents today are making their job all the more difficult by falling into the trap of comparing between siblings or with other children. Social media and the easy comparisons it promotes only makes matters worse. Comparing produces disappointment as there is bound to be someone better, and this disappointment is the foundation for ill-will, which might have far-reaching effects. It is imperative, instead, to communicate with your child. Engage in a healthy conversation whether over a walk in the park or over a game of badminton. Let your kids realize that their parents are keen to listen to them and understand them and they will automatically share things with you. This will enable you to understand their perspective and the reasons behind the choices they make. Parents who are unable to empathize with their child contribute to the development of social anxiety later on in life. Therefore, even if you disagree with your child, use positivity to convince him/her.
As the child begins to grow and starts socializing, it is common to find them getting influenced easily. At this juncture, parents need to invest all their experience and maturity to ensure that the child is able to distinguish between right and wrong. This can be achieved by communicating effectively and developing a clear set of family values and beliefs.
Parenting is no child’s play. It is a continuous learning process that needs a certain level of balance and recognition for the relationship to evolve. Children need time and care to come into their own. Each child is different from the other. With this understanding and by nurturing their talent, encouraging them to take up challenges and fostering in them a sense of individuality, parents can ensure that the child gets the best out of his/her life. Moreover, it ensures that the child gets the best out of the parents!