Thursday, January 31, 2019

LEARN TO LOVE KIDS WITHOUT CONDITIONS



“There is more to children than what parents see. Inside every child lies a heart that beats. And sometimes it screams, refusing to take defeat. And sometimes his/her father's dreams aren't big enough, and sometimes his/her mother's vision isn't long enough. And sometimes the child has to dream his/her own dreams and break through the clouds with his/her own sunbeams.” 
The parent-child relationship is one of the most long-lasting and emotionally intense social ties. The emotional, mental, physical and financial investment that the parents make for their children is unfathomable. Once a child is born, the life of parents starts revolving around him. With endless love and care come expectations. As parents make all the choices and decisions for the child when he is young, it becomes difficult for them to let go of this habit as the child grows up. Although often positive and supportive, this tie also starts experiencing feelings of irritation, tension, and ambivalence. The parents start to feel that their child has grown adamant, indifferent and irresponsible when the child refuses to follow their decisions regarding his life. On the other hand the child feels disconnected and pressurized when he is forced to follow his parents without having the chance to put forth his perspective.
I once discussed the significance of realizing the fact that “your child is also an individual”. You cannot govern his/her life and completely avoid the influences that he experiences from the outside world. I have explicitly discussed the various kinds of parenting styles in one of my articles and yet I believe that there cannot be a “perfect” way of parenting and maintaining a relationship as intricate as a parent-child relationship. There are so many factors that lead to differences between parents and children.
Sometimes the problem may be  the differences between parents and grandparents. When a child observes that his parents aren’t able to resolve their arguments with his grandparents he finds it difficult to do the same in his case. The same happens when he observes rift between his father and mother. Here, I must clarify that I am not saying that there cannot be arguments and difference of opinion. It is natural for parents to feel concerned about the impact their arguments may have on their children. But it is normal to argue or disagree sometimes, and in fact children respond well when parents explain or resolve - in an appropriate way - what an argument was about. Indeed, where parents successfully resolve arguments, children can learn important positive lessons which can help them navigate their own emotions and relationships beyond the family circle. When parents understand how their relationships affect children's development, it sets the stage for healthy children today - and healthy families in the future.
Life has not only become competitive for the children but also for parents. No one can escape the vicious cycle of expectation that comes with it. Parents expect their child to do well in as many fields as possible. I once met a parent who wanted her class II child to join dance classes as she got a B in dance and A in all the other activities and academics. I wonder that this parent would ever be able to accept that an individual has certain aptitude and he must be encouraged and nurtured accordingly rather than trying to make him a “jack of all trades”, which might lead to failure and frustration in future. It is important to understand that it’s not only children who are under pressure. The children are actually experiencing the burden of expectations that the society is putting on the parents. An individual stops being an individual as soon as he becomes a parent. His social standing and prestige starts revolving around the fact that how successfully is he raising his child and whether his child is an all rounder or not. We as a society need to stop this comparison. These expectations are turning parents into “disordered” parents. A disordered parent sees their child as an extension of themselves and not as an individual.
Every relationship needs time as well as space. A balance of time and space leads to a successful relationship. Instead of giving a child all the advanced technological equipment, parents will have to replace these gazettes with themselves. I know that life is busy and it is difficult to spend time with the family every day. But when you become a parent, it becomes important for you to become the link that brings a family together. You will have to bring your parents and your children together. It is only then your children will be able to see the importance of familial bonds through you. Now let’s talk about space/boundaries.
Last but not least is the refusal of the older generation to respect the boundaries of the child/parent relationship. A majority of boundary crossing is rooted in a parents' inability to believe in their children. Ask yourself, "Why would my child make a bad choice? Did I not teach him the tools needed to make good decisions?" If your immediate response to is to think, "I did teach them to make good decisions but they've made so many bad ones in the past," your inability to accept your role in their repeated bad decisions is having severely adverse effects on your relationship. At some point, the older generation must trust they have raised their children to make good decisions and respect those decisions. It can be wrenching to let go of the old parental omnipotence and not be able to fix everything. But when grown kids cope with these ups and downs, they develop into resilient, self-sufficient people with the confidence that comes from standing on their own feet.
I have heard children complaining that their parents do not let them spend the New Year eve with their friends and they insist on spending it with their family and relatives. Parents on the other hand complain that their child avoids social gathering and avoid meeting relatives at social functions. Now, let us look at both the situations and try to change the context. What if instead of New Year eve and social gathering it is a family emergency? In case of an emergency if your child is by your side, I think you did a good job raising him. “If you love someone, set them free. If they come back they're yours; if they don't they never were.” Now, let us discuss the presence of child in social gatherings. Try to find out the reason of his discomfort instead of pressuring him. It is very toxic when a child is dragged to a social ceremony and then exposed to comparison and comments on his appearance and academic behaviour. What parents don’t understand here is that it is too much for a teenager to take. Before you take a child to a social gathering please make sure that the child feels accepted there and this is your answer to why he wants to spend more time with his friends; it is because he feels himself in their company, away from judgemental opinions and “advices”.
Students often complain that they are nagged and instructed constantly to sit properly and study for more hours even when they aren’t feeling well. Parents happen to create an image of the child’s personality in their mind and then behave accordingly with them. While talking about balance I would advise the parents to analyze their child’s situation before heedlessly imposing instructions. At the same time, I would warn them not to be blindly reliant on the kids. What parents need is to maintain a balance between supervision and trust; a balance between “helicopter” parenting and “uninvolved” parenting. It is the need of the hour to connect with your kids and establish an attachment based on empathy and understanding.
So, sometimes we have to let go of certain expectations and let our loved ones realize our worth. Let us give each other the gift of understanding and hope to nurture better relationships.
“Parents rarely let go of their children, so children let go of them. 
They move on. They move away. 
The moments that used to define them are covered by 
moments of their own accomplishments. 
It is not until much later, that 
children understand; 
their stories and all their accomplishments, sit atop the stories 
of their mothers and fathers, stones upon stones, 
beneath the water of their lives.”




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