Parenting:

a virtue not a responsibility

A lot of childhood behavioural and temperamental concerns of children can be sorted just by a correct and a balanced approach of parenting, which also prioritizes inculcation of an Social Quotient and interpersonal skills along with 21st century life skills.

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A lot of childhood behavioural and temperamental concerns of children can be sorted just by a correct and a balanced approach of parenting.

21st century parenting seem to be limited to providing our children with the best of facilities, branded clothes, expensive experience of adventure, sports, food and the list is quite long. But what is most important from all of the above mentioned? Nothing really.

School Counsellors like me would certainly encounter cases which are an indicative of thoughtless deeds or words by children, significantly depreciated value system and morals and many incidences quite often point towards a laissez fare parenting style, wherein parents are either not at all bothered about the child or are too lenient in approach towards discipline and self-reflection.

When parents bring a life into existence, they should focus onto creation of a whole new kind of individual who does things with an initiative, someone who is looked up by others around and missed when s/he is not around. Human birth and life is different from that of other species due to a significant reason of mind, thought, civilization, culture and intellect. But how many times have we realized the potential of our intellect or directed our children in a similar line of thought? This is the pertinent question to be self-introspecting around. A lot of childhood behavioural and temperamental concerns of children can be sorted just by a correct and a balanced approach of parenting, which also prioritizes inculcation of an Social Quotient and interpersonal skills along with 21st century life skills. Here are a few positive parenting tips for the parents of the millennium.

Children are not hyper (Attention Deficiency and Hyperactivity ref. ADHD), they are just diverted. Just as our smartphones, working on 15 apps on the same time, we have programmed the young minds of our children likewise. Most children these days lack attention, they are in general hyperactive, they get bored easily. A difficult yet very easy solution to this is meditation. Believe me, a simple exercise of focusing attention at a point or a mantra/chanting for not more than 10 minutes (to begin with) will show up results in 15 days itself. Other solutions could include refraining the use of smart phones, etc. Hence, parents please remember, mobile phone (gadgets) are not a way of getting out of fuss.

  • Children will follow your actions and behaviour not your advice. Therefore, watch your words and actions not only in their presence but also in their absence. Asking children to make an excuse to other people, is a method of introducing manipulation in the child’s mind.
  • Promote nature oriented and physical activities like nature trip, camping, sanctuaries, parks, etc and avoid artificial recreation like movies, malls, etc. Inculcate in your child, the ability to appreciate nature and art, like music, theatre, dance, etc.
  • Keep a vigilant eye on the child’s exposure to media, internet, movies, social media etc and discuss with the child to seek how the child has perceived it, what it is in real life, in order to develop child’s ability to discriminate between reality and fantasy.
  • Promote the child’s self-disclosure. Be a non-judgemental, friendly yet guiding and approachable parent. Your child should trust you, to be able to confide with you his/her secrets, fears and desires. Facilitate both, oral and written expression of your child. Every child seeks 3A’s- Appreciation, Approval and Acceptance. Remember parents, one confidant is a must for every child at home.
  • Don’t confuse the child. Often parents have conflicting views over a certain matter, and they end up confusing the child with their views. Remember, parents are one entity for the child, and they should have a uniform direction of approach, atleast in front of the child. Parental conflict is often taken as a disadvantage by children, as they begin to mature.
  • A “No” should mean a “No”, for the first time and for the 10th time as well. So take your time and give a final decision at once. DO NOT entertain bargaining or negotiation by the child. On repeated requests by the child, if you change your decision, the child would gradually learn manipulation and tantrums may start becoming evident to get demands fulfilled. Hence, be firm and clear about your decisions to the child’s demands.
  • Don’t entertain tantrums, let the child know what demand is to be made fairly.
  • Parental affection and attention CAN NOT be replaced by a caretaker. Remember, the way you can treat your child, no one else can. Your personal and quality time is the key to a nurturing parent-child relationship.

Often parents have conflicting views over a certain matter, and they end up confusing the child with their views. Remember, parents are one entity for the child, and they should have a uniform direction of approach, atleast in front of the child.

Vrinda Saran is Research fellow at United Nations Research Centre. She is also working as PGT Psychology cum Counsellor at JM International School, Dwarka.