Friday, September 28, 2012

Good Parenting IV

At the outset, I would like to thank all those readers and friends who gave their critical and valuable feedback on the topic good parenting. Many of you agreed that good parenting plays a significant role in the upbringing of the children and help them the most in becoming valuable citizens of the world. One more thing which is important here is that these rules of parenting apply across the world. The only difference can be of the prevalent culture of a particular country. The children and the parents have almost the same feeling towards each other. Before I take a few issues shared by one parent, I would like to mention about the mail received yesterday based on the life of Mother Teresa and her teachings. The summary of her teaching can be expressed in very few words. She said that the world is not suffering because of want of material things but want of love. She very appropriately said that every one of us is in the need of love and have strong desire for that but the same is covered by the expression which reflect the other basic necessities like food, clothes and shelter etc. The fact is that the poverty of love is more dangerous to live with, than the ones mentioned above. This made me to think seriously about the so called violent behavior of the kids. Is it the yearning for love and affection which drives them into that situation? When I read the mail further it became almost certain that the kids who remain deprive of love in their childhood are more likely to behave negatively than the others. Though some parents may not agree with this, but this is for sure that the children are not born with violent nature. Whatever they become or the way they behave is all because of the environment they have been brought up in. So the most important rule seems to be to widen the stretch of the love not only towards the children but among all the family members. The exposure to hatred and violence will not help children learn the lessons of love, compassion, sympathy and affection. When I say that there should be peace in the family and the society that means we are not promoting hatred but love. If the children learn the lesson of love from their family members, then the society and the world will be a better place to live. The seeds of love can be sowed in the family environment so that by the time the children get exposed to outside world they are already strong in their feelings towards loving fellow human beings. If the kids learn to love their parents and the family members then half of the problems of the society will be solved. Because negative habits once developed are not eliminated very easily. This once again proves that parents have to play the most important role in inculcating good values in the kids. We know in India joint family system has been prevalent for the last hundreds of years and despite the fact that over the last few years’ number of nuclear families is increasing. I would avoid debating about the pros and cons of the two systems but would like to share the problem raised by the parents and grandparents separately with the same issue in question. Some parents say that though it is good to have their parents with them and they are supposed to look after their needs in the old age. But they want their parents should not interfere in the way the kids are brought up by the parents as on today because the competition is very tough. I would suggest to such parents that if you want your kids to, listen to you and follow you then teach them by example. If you do not listen to your parents in front of your kids they would learn the same from you irrespective of your best try to inculcate good values in them.  If you listen to your parents and express love towards them then your children will automatically learn the lesson of love. That is the reason I mentioned in the beginning that the lesson of  love can be best taught at home and by the family members. Also in the families where the children are treated with love, they grow with the same feelings.
One friend raised the issue of home being made as the school and the children not liking that. He says that the children are to be taught the lessons of discipline, punctuality, regularity, respect for elders and so many other things. This is done in the school and the same is to be taught at home also, rather more importantly at home, then how come the school and the home be treated differently.  I agree with him and would like to say what a child asked was not in context to these issues but related to academics. The mother used to ask him to do all the assignment and the work which was done in the school, at home also. I know a few parents forcing the children to solve a complete question paper again which he/ she had done a few hours back in the school during examination. We should understand if that is not too much on the part of such parents? One thing very rightly mentioned by him is that some schools do try to behave and act as home. I think there is nothing wrong in that because we always say that the children learn better in an informal environment than in a structured and artificially created situation which may be a school or any other place. The parents who are aware of the needs of their children can cope with the demands of good parenting than the others. While doing so they may not be right all the time but till the time they are aware of the mistakes that will not harm the children much. I would also like to thank for the feedback of the concerned parent (but not definitely the worried parent) when he says that he will share his success and the failure as parent with his kids so that they do not commit the same mistakes when they become the parents. If all parents take the parenting that critically then most of the problems of the children, parents and the society would be solved. Here I would like to mention a few more rules of parenting. Once your child is grown up and has joined the college, now as parent you should not interfere too much in his/her life. Allow the young person to decide for self because if you could not make any difference till now you would not be able to do much after this. Also at this stage do not keep on advising for everything he/she tried to do rather wait until they look for the advice. Also try to encourage them regardless of their achievements or failures because they are as grown up as anybody else to take decisions for themselves. If the parents do the things properly and make their kids learn good things during their childhood (till the age of 18 years) there would be no worry to them when the children are grown-up. The parents should be with whatever their sons/daughters do if that brings peace, harmony, love and respect for all. No job is big or small, superior or inferior , if the same does not harm others in any way. The success at the cost of love, peace and respect will not make anybody happy. Let this lesson be learnt by our children by actions and not mere words because if the parents do not keep their words then the children stop believing them. I know all this appears to be idealistic and difficult but I can confidently say that if practiced, then it would be very easy. Also all should remember that good things are not achieved easily. As stated, “The master of the garden is the one who waters it, trims the branches, plants the seeds and pulls the weeds. If you merely stroll through the garden, you are but an acolyte.” So, be the best resource for your children and see them turn into shady trees. In the end I would like to wish all parents happy parenting.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Good parenting III

Good parenting is the process which goes along the life of the parents and their children. The children behave differently before they enter the so called explosive phase of teenage. The parents have got to behave normally even during this most turmoil phase of the kids life. In this phase of their life, children start behaving in an altogether different manner on account of the growing-up phase. They may get withdrawn from the parents, teachers and other family members. The parents will find it difficult to digest that the children do not share with them what they used to, till a few months back. The kids are now into their own world and they do not want to be intruded or interfered by others particularly the parents. At times the situation is so unusual that the parents suddenly find someone in front of them, they do not recognize. This is the time for the parents to keep a balance and remain undisturbed and do not panic because this is a natural behavior of the kids who have entered the teenage phase of their life. The kids who used to consider themselves as the inseparable part of their parents start behaving as they are not the extension of their parents but are independent individuals and want to be treated that way. They want to live their life in their own way and want to do things alone. In this phase, they may not agree with what their parents suggest or tell them. In addition to this, the hormonal changes also play an important role in their changed behavior and the parents must comprehend that and act accordingly. They should give them the space with a view that the children are growing to become individualistic adults having their own identity. As I mentioned before that the kids till the age of 10-11 years share everything with their parents but as they enter teenage they need to be treated differently. It would be good if the parents do not peep into everything the children do in this age. I can understand the worry of the parents also but worrying only would not make any sense rather understanding the needs of the kids would help. If the kids were not made to learn to evade even small mistakes that they made deliberately, then the parents would not be having many problems during this transitional phase of their life. But what really happens is that most of the parents ignore the mistakes committed by their kids when they were 5 to 10 years old. Will the 13-14 years old not get confused now when the parents stop or check him/her? Parenting is a continuous process which cannot be broken into pieces or phases. Only thing to be remembered by the parents is that the kids pass through different phases and the parents should change their way of treating and tackling them accordingly. One more thing which parents tend to do is to suspect the child for everything he does. Some parents try to look for the things in the absence of their kids like; what are the things read by the child or kept under the mattress etc. This shows lack of trust between the parents and the children. If a parent has some doubt then it should be discussed with the child unswervingly. The children should not be worried about sharing the information with the parents. But the parents should also understand that the children tend to do certain things which are very natural in this age though the same may not be approved by the parents. One thing in which many parents and the teachers get disturbed is the fondness towards the gender teenager. The psychologists have found that the changes which take place in the body are responsible, in addition to the social causes and that seems to be quite natural. To be attracted towards opposite sex should not be considered negative. I know a few cases in which the children did not know or realize that they were getting along well with the opposite sex person till the parents and teachers made a discontent for that. They were confused that till two years back nobody bothers about them (even if they were friendly with the opposite sex) but what has happened all of a sudden that the parents and teachers are treating them with downbeat thoughts. They do ask questions as what was wrong if they were talking to each other more than ever before? I know not many people have answer to this question of the teenagers. One child asked a question that if my parents and teachers do not ask anybody  who should be their friend then why is so much restriction imposed on the children? I would like to suggest to the parents that the children may be told to be careful if the parents feel they were disturbing themselves because of that relationship. The parents must not be under unnecessary stress and the best to get out of that is to remember their time when they were teenagers. Being contemptuous on the children would not make any improvement in the child rather it might worsen the situation. The other important rule of parenting is if the parents show some respect towards the liking and interest of their children. Many of you would realize if given a serious thought, how many times you disturbed your child while he/she was doing something else when you wanted him/her to study. We as parents try to impose things and even our areas of interest on the children. A child who was very good at painting was always tagged to be an idler wasting time in something which would not help her getting a good job. This is the way the creativity of the child was killed. So the parents should allow their kids to pursue the field of their child`s interest in addition to what is required as per the education system of the country they live in. After writing all this I would like to recommend one very important thing to parents. This should be directly or indirectly talked and told to the kids especially when they are in their teenage phase that the rights do not come without the responsibility. It is the responsibility of the parents to teach their children to be responsible. They should remember that the kite will fly well if the string is in their control and left lose when needed and tightened when required that way. At times the children tend to demand things as their right but they tend to forget about their responsibility. If your children defy you, have a right to talk to them and correct even if that makes you to be little difficult for them. This is important because when these children go out in the world as adults they need to understand their duties and rights equally well. The last I thing I would like to suggest to the parents is that the teenagers are full of energy and it may not be possible and desirable to block or control that energy not channelizing that in the right direction. If the parents can help their children in doing that then it will be considered as a great art of parenting and that will give the society a wonderful gift in the form of great world citizens.     

Monday, September 24, 2012

Good Parenting II

I was happy to have got a critical feedback from many friends in response to my thoughts on the topic good parenting and that has motivated me to discuss the same further. Without any more formality I come to the point of discussion. As a parent we must understand that the children are the reflection of the parents and their behavior is the reflection of the environment of the family. So this is the key to the progress of the children and the society that the parents and the family set an example in front of the children. Though the exposure to the external world would have its impact but if the basics values at home are strong enough then the outside world may not alter the behavior or may not have too much effect on the individual. Take the example of the eating habits of the children. Many parents complain that their kids do not eat healthy food. This is very true but then we should try to understand the reason behind the same. In most of the cases, it will be found that the parents themselves were not eating what they want their children to eat because the same was advised by the doctor or they read it somewhere. The parents must try to find the reason why their kids were not ready to eat healthy food. The same is the case with watching television. Most of the parents are perturbed because their children waste most of their time in watching TV. Again the question to be asked is why is that so? Is it not true that most of the elders switch on the TV as and when they want? Is it also not true that many households have more than one television set? The children get confused that if watching TV is not good then why to have it at home and why the parents and other family members watch TV with such an interest. As they do not have much opportunities and the facilities to go out and play with their friends then what do we expect from them but to get busy with TV or computers. They cannot be expected to study for very long hours as well. In addition to this, the parents are also so busy in their daily routine that they do not have much time for their kids so the children do not have many options but to watch TV and while doing so they may get addicted to that. I am not certainly advocating that the parents should not go to work or watch T.V when required but they should make sure that it should be done in a disciplined manner that the children automatically learn how much, when and what to see on the TV. Another thing to be remembered by the parents is that all this is not to be practiced only when the child is born but much before that. As I mentioned earlier also that parenting is one of the most important phases of the life, so all the would-be-parents must prepare themselves well for this. If the would-be-parents set their priorities well in advance and understand the importance of the good parenting then the kids would learn good things right from infancy and they would make the family really happy.
As all children are not same, similarly all, the phases of their childhood are also not identical and the parents need to understand that and behave accordingly. As the child grows, there are some natural changes which take place and the parents need to understand that. The change in their behavior, psychology and actions must be appreciated. The parents need not to sit around them always but be present when they are required by the children the most. Some parents complain that their child does not sit with them. Again they should try to find the reason. Are the parents very strict in terms of discipline, punctuality and cleanliness etc? When I interacted with few such kids, they told interesting things and one of them was that they did not want their home to become another school. When probed further they said they were being forced to do all what was done in the school. That puts unnecessary burden on the kids because they do not want their home to be a formal school. Because of this the children start getting away from their parents. The parents should remember that the children cannot learn and do everything the way they want. So my advice to all parents would be that let home remain a friendly home and not turn it into a formal school. The children want to be left free and learn in their own way and at their pace of learning. As far as eating habits are concerned, the parents should ensure that good habits are developed by providing the kids opportunity to eat healthy food as often as possible. The children should be politely told and explained why the healthy food is important for them. The habit of eating cannot be so easily changed at later stages. The other important thing to be done by parents is that they should communicate with their children. The children should be allowed to express their views and need be then these views should be appreciated. Instead of discarding their views straightforwardly, appreciate and try to justify why that particular thought may not be appropriate in that situation. The other important rule is that the parents should have consistency in their approach. It has been found that sometimes the parents express a lot of anger on something done by the children whereas on other occasions they laugh it out. If you tell them that telling a lie is bad then stick to that and never get involved in the same yourself.  The other important rule of good parenting is not to nag the children for the things done by them which they consider have not been done right. Nagging is one of the most negative things which would drive and force the children to behave in more negative manner. The parents should remember that we all are prone to commit mistakes and the children are no exceptions. Sometimes the mistakes can be ignored and that may have more effect on the child then the scolding or some other negative reaction. The children should not be reminded of their mistakes all the time. I can understand that the parents are also human beings and they are also prone to stress and the frustration but then they should remember that their actions will have a direct bearing on the upbringing and behavior of their children. The other thing parents should always remember is that both the parents, the father and the mother must be unanimous in their decision for their children rather than adopting a different approach. For example, if the father said no to something the child had asked for, then the role of the mother becomes very important. She has to balance the situation in a manner that the position of the father is not compromised but at the same time the child also does not feel completely ignored. If the mother immediately contradicts the father then there would be problems in future. The same is true vice-versa. If the mother has asked the child to do some work related to academics then the father should not immediately jump into the situation but let the child understand why the mother was wanting him/ her to do that task though he may not be in agreement with the mother`s approach. They can sit together and decide what to do for the child but the child should not be confused. For the children both the parents are equally important and they should not have a feeling that they are favoured by one or the other and can take them for granted. 
These are not easy things to do but as parents we must follow them because our children are the most precious gifts given to us by the Almighty. I would be happy to know the experiences of the parents so that the same could be shared with other parents and would be parents.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Good parenting I

Parenting is a phase of life which all individuals look forward to and are really excited to have their own children, nurture them to see them grow well. But the last few years have seen the change in this scenario. Too many deliberations about good parenting have put a lot of pressure on the would-be-parents. There are many reasons for that but one of the most important of them is the competition among the parents which is naturally passed on to the children. Also they are at times confused how they should bring up their children. Some people advise them that all possible measures should be taken to maintain the discipline among the children even if the parents have to be harsh on the kids. The other thought is that the children should be allowed to grow without disturbing them. The parents are advised not to force their kids to do things which they are not willing to. There is another group of the people who wants to have a moderate approach in bringing up the children. Their view is that the kids should be treated as individuals who are in many ways different than the others.
 Two generations always have felt as they are not made for each other but even they would have to coexist because this is the way the life is and will be. No generation can survive alone because two are complementary to each other. So the parents would have to develop a positive attitude towards the kids even before they are born and thereafter also because the new generation would pave the way parents would be bringing them up. Parenting should be enjoyed and should not be taken as a burden and something to be lived with as a ritual. Richard Templar wrote the rules of parenting in a very simple but effective manner and the first thing which he mentioned is that as a parent of newly born child, you should be relaxed. Try to give happy and stress free environment to your kid/kids. You must have come across some parents who are too much addicted to cleanliness and tidiness. Even if one item left by the child at a place where this was not supposed to be kept, then there would be a lot of hue and cry. There is another parent who does not mind kids throwing their things here and there, rather seem to be happy with the messy things around. Such parents know it well that they have enough time with them to change these habits and make him/her more responsible for the deeds. What I mean to say is that the parents should not get tensed and stressed for small things which the children do without even knowing that they are doing something which their parents were not happy with. The second thing parents should do is not to compare their own ability with other parents. Try to understand your own strength and help your children accordingly. The third thing to be remembered by the parents is that the rules do not mean that nothing different ever can be done by you or your kids. Suppose a mother is very particular about providing healthy food to her kids. One day she is very tired or not keeping well then it is alright to provide something which may not be that healthy as she wanted. So breaking the rule occasionally is fine for you as parents and also for your kids as well. The next important rule is not to be too rigid in the approach towards certain things to be done by you and by your children. There are parents who are very much concerned and focused about the daily routine of their kids. The child goes to the school in the morning and comes back home in the afternoon. Then he goes to attend music class, dance class, computer class and personality development class and so on. In this process, the child is deprived of doing anything of his choice like playing in the garden with friends or parents. The fifth important thing is that the parents do not need to follow all the advice given by all the people around them. They should try to understand what helps them and their children though they should listen to all. You must understand that one approach which helped one parent may not necessarily work for the other one. The next rule is, never to allow certain things to get on to your nerves. Try to understand that the kids will drive you crazy many times a day. So take things normally and never get hyper. The other very important aspect of parenting is not to miss or ignore your spouse. You loved and respected him/her before the child was born and once the child is born there seems to be some distance created between the parent, which is never good for them as well as the child. You should have the same relationship with each other which was before the child was born (happy and healthy).
 Once you decide to have kids that itself is a great thing and you must be ready to shoulder additional responsibility and mind that this is not going to be easy for you for the rest of your life. Keep this in mind always. Also remember that every child is different and should be treated accordingly. I have experienced it in almost all cases that the kids born to the same parents and brought up in almost the same family environment (even went to the same school and were taught by the same teachers) behaved differently. This shows that you cannot expect the same kind of behavior and approach from all children. Another important rule is that you should be happy seeing them. I know some parents who are more polite to the other members of the family or people but with their own kids. The other thing which the parents should do is to enjoy the company of their children. The office work should not become the hindrance between the parents and the children which might reduce the strength of the bond between them. Notwithstanding the fact that the parents should keep their worry to themselves and not let the children get involved in it. And always remember that you are not the only one who is worried and get affected by that but even your child gets the impact of the same. The parents should perceive things from child’s perspective also. This does not mean we allow them to do what they want but once we look at things from their point of view then we understand the problems or the issues in much better way. Many parents have the habit of talking too much about the qualities of their children and the other parents feel low as they feel that their child is not doing that way or possess those qualities. As I mentioned above all children are different and should be allowed to grow accordingly. If one child is good in academics then that does not mean that all children should be and will be good in this field. They might definitely be good in some other areas where the other children may not do that well. So parenting should not be considered as a competition.
 There are many things which are coming to my mind but I will stop it here only so that this does not become too much of advice to the parents. But the last thing which I would like to tell is that parenting is one of the most important roles to be played by the parents and it should be enjoyed thoroughly by them. If we do that, then we shall be able to help our children become better human beings who will do the same to their kids when they become parents.