Saturday, December 15, 2012

Peer pressure

We keep discussing about the future of our children and show a lot of concern about the same. Sometimes this concern changes into anxiety not only for the parents but the children also. In this tussle of seeking the right way for the future of the children to become secure, we tend to miss on something very important and that is the proper development of the children. More emphasis is given to academic area due to which other important issues are neglected.  The recent incidents in the schools and families are forcing all the stakeholders to rethink and help the children to learn things in a comprehensive way. Though the parents and teachers seem to be spending more time with their children but this is also true that the children of the day are more close to their friends and are willing to do things as suggested or asked by their friends. Some children who present a good demeanour at home tend to behave just opposite in the school and vice-verse. I think even the children of the yester years were also influenced by the peer group but the impact of the parents and the teachers was also equally good and was visible to all. Then why is that now we all feel ignored by the children? Why is it that the child wants to do everything suggested by his/her friend and does not heed to the advice of the parents and the teachers. Though this is not universally true but the fact is that more number of children seems to be ignoring the parents.
To understand the same I met the children of class eighth and discussed with them their views on this issue. Many of them said that they do not follow the advice of their parents and the teachers because of the influence of their friends. They were very clear about this and gave certain absolute reasons for this. Some of them said as the parents always force them to do certain things of their (parents) choice which irritates them more than anything else. One more thing became clear from the discussion that when the children are very young (say from age two to six years) the parents get their response as they want. The children are not able to express their feelings strongly and the parents develop the habit of directing them as they wish. When the children grow-up, they find somebody who allows them to do things as per their liking, for example their friends and as they grow-up, the influence of the friends and the peer group becomes more than that of the elders. The situation becomes grimmer because of the competition created by adults because of high expectations. The children in the school gave an example of taste buds. They said all liked that food only which is approved to be tasty by the taste buds and if not so then we tend to avoid that food. Similarly, the things which are told or said as per the developed thoughts of the children are accepted and followed but if it is contrary to that, then it is retaliated. The children said that as most of the things told by the peer group influences them more, so the parents and teachers suggestions gets diluted. Also, as the technology and electronic gadgets are available in abundance and the social networking sites are able to give the children a platform to be more close to the friends, which again drives them away from the parents and the teachers.
The other aspect discussed with the children was, why some children only behave negatively in the class or the bus? Again the answer was the peer pressure. This was interesting to note that two children were enough to make one child do wrong things whereas so many teachers and the family members could not do the same. So, we have to think seriously that is it the peer pressure only which has changed the things not for good or there has been some lacunae on our part also? I think, we as parents and teachers have also failed on some occasions to make our existence felt by the children. That does not mean that the children are to be given physical punishment however, our actions and words must have the same meaning. If we have to ensure that our children do not fall a prey to peer group pressure (though it is not always negative) then we should be changing ourselves as per the time. Somebody argued that why should children not change? My humble submission would be that they have not seen the past, hence for them it is difficult to compare and change but should be easier for us to do the same. We have to understand whether the interaction which we have with the children is one way or two way and many children said that it was one way as most of the times direction comes from the teachers and the parents. We have to understand our children better than what we have been doing. They are really good and full of energy and this is our responsibility to ensure that they are able to maintain their integrity and honesty protecting themselves from the negatives around. The umbrella in the form of the parents and teachers should be that strong but transparent that our children are able to save themselves from the ever-changing world.
The other thing which was clear from the discussion was that the children want the answer of their queries and if not satisfied, they would not follow you just because of your being teachers or the parents. So, we all must try our level best to answer even those questions which may appear to be uncomfortable to us. I always say that we should be fair in our approach towards our kids and should always think positive for them. Even if at times you have to be little harsh on your child do not think negative then also. This is more for those parents and teachers who think that being strict only will help them to discipline their child. Patience is the best medicine with the parents and the teachers and though it might take some time but if the children are tackled with patience along with positivity then the result will always be good for the children and same for us also. The children love their parents and teachers but as I always say they may not be very good at expressing the same. They do fell bad of their wrong actions and try to correct and improve if given an opportunity. We as adults must ensure that nothing is done which makes the children feel ignored otherwise that will drive them to get away from us and nearer to the ones who may not always guide them for positive deeds. Though the children sometimes misuse the liberty and use freedom as an excuse but that is also the result of our actions. Being a father/mother and the teacher is the best gift God has given to us, so why not to enjoy and cherish the same in spite of feeling helpless or hapless.