Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Skills of Parenting

Parenting has always been an important and sensitive issue and continues to be the same, rather is more relevant in today`s time than before. The society is more evolved and open now and also there is a sense of tough competition in all the fields of life, be it a student in school or college or an adult working as an employee or being self-employed. Everyone wants to be ahead of others. This way things do become better but in this race of going ahead of others we tend to leave something important behind and that very important thing to me is relationship with our own people. They may be the parents, friends, other close relatives or the children. In this, the most vulnerable human being happens to be the children. Though all want to do everything for their children but do not understand the right way of doing the same. They are unable to decide whether the material gains are important for the children or the teachings of life that will help the kids in future. Not only this, they even do not understand how to bring-up their children. This situation has demanded more discussions and proper forum for the perspective parents so that they do not find it difficult to cope up with this additional but most important responsibility. Though I have expressed my views on this topic earlier also but this is such an important issue that requires constant discussions and deliberations because it decides the future of the world. Ben Stein says" What`s a good investment? Go home from work early and spend the afternoon throwing a ball around your child."  This seems to be easier said than done because most of the parents find it the most difficult thing to do. Today I shall talk about one very simple thing which we all know so well but unfortunately do not follow in the life.
 Before I take up that point, first and foremost thing to remember by the new parents and would be parents is that to become a mother or father should be considered as an extension of your being in this world and not something as a burden. I may be pardoned to say this but there have been instances when, in discussions, parents expressed their stress and called the child born in the family a serious problem because the child would require a lot of attention to be paid towards him and they may not live and enjoy their life as comfortably as before. We must understand that the child born is the most wonderful gift God has given to us and any gift given by God should be treated and enjoyed with that sanctity only. 
Now I come back to the point which may facilitate the parents to help their children grow as healthy and mentally and emotionally mature adults. We know it well that the children are born as a clean slate and most of the behavior of the children will depend upon the kind of writing he gets from the environment he lives in. Still there are a number of cases where the parents have been very concerned and have tried to follow all the advice given by the people around along with the books on parenting they would have been advised to read. And at times they get confused about their actions because of some expert piece of advice of being strict with the children and ensuring follow up by them as told by the adults. In other cases, people advise them not to use force and let the children learn from their mistakes. To me both the approaches are extremes and we will have to take the middle path. If you direct and force the children as per your directions only that will block the ways of ‘learning by self’ completely and also if you allow them to learn of their own accord only that may also not be right in all situations. For example, if you want your child to learn that riding a bicycle on crowded road is unsafe and he might meet with an accident then in this it is better to tell him than allowing him to experience by meeting an accident. Similarly, there can be many more examples like this. A question can be asked that in this case, how the child will learn riding bicycle and also safe cycling? For this the parents should provide him safe environment like an open space where there is not much of traffic and this should be done under the guidance of the adult. What I want to convey here is that the parents need to create a safe environment for self learning of the children. The other important way to improve the learning of a child is to reinforce the advice and direction given to him. For this the parents should be absolutely sure what they want their children to learn and whether they themselves have the faith in that or not. As per law a child cannot be allowed to ride a motorbike or to drive a car till he is eighteen years old. In this case, the parents should never give in to the demand of the child for a motorbike and this should be conveyed to him again and again. Sometimes children do certain things which are not good for them and are not approved by the society or the law of the land, in this case also they should be told in a polite but firm manner to resist from doing it. But the parents must ensure that they do not appreciate any other child for driving the car so well though that child may be underage to drive the vehicle.
Let us take the case of an infant who may be 5-6 months old. He has recently started crawling but cannot stand on his feet. He notices a toy on the sofa in your living room and crawl towards that with the desire to touch the toy. As he cannot stand on his feet, he finds it difficult to reach the toy. The parents are observing the child and once he is able to touch the toy they smile. The child looks at them and feels happy. This is the beginning of the social approval of his actions. When that child grows and does something which the parents approve by appreciating or giving some prize, this makes him feel what he has done is worth. Also the actions of others if appreciated or deplored by the parents make an impact on them. Another example can be of the stunts performed in movies, if are appreciated, then the child indirectly discovers that it is good to do so. Here what is important is to set boundaries or clear limit of an action so that the child does not go beyond the stipulated limit. In this case, the parents should guide the child properly. What I have tried to convey to all is that we must be very clear about what to appreciate and what to ignore. It is not necessary that every time the parents will have to tell children what was wrong. Even to ignore and not to react to certain actions will also help the children understand.

In this example, I have tried to convey that the child learns by social approval and appreciation. These are important to be understood by all parents and be ensured that they appreciate what they believe in keeping in mind the welfare of the society. The children do react to the parents' direction but mostly in those cases and situations where they find contradictions and if I can be allowed to be direct in stating - double standards. Parenting is a God gifted opportunity and we must enjoy it thoroughly despite taking it as a burden. I shall discuss more ways of parenting in the next issues.