The difficulty of parenting
- March 17, 2019
- Posted by: MAYURI
- Category: Articles
The difficulty of parenting
Most of us middle class parents assume that we are good parents, since we are doing all that is feasible for our children. In fact, many among us go out of the way to accommodate the needs of our children. What are these needs?
- Good clean home
- Tasty healthy food
- Medical care, immunisation, timely visits to doctors
- Comforts; their own room, play material, and other things they periodically fancy including Ipads, cell phones, separate television sets in their rooms !
- Clothes of the latest fashion
- Visits to cinemas, hotels, ordering food from fancy restaurants
- Good school !!!
- Training in sports if they crave it
… and so on and on.
Middle class parents break their backs trying to meet these needs of children. In being able to do so, they take great pride and often pat their backs figuratively, if not literally.
Children are expected to be satisfied by all these that their parents are doing for them. But, is that the truth?
Often there are arguments, fights, child on ‘no talking terms with parents’ and parents on ‘no talking terms with children…’
When children are young, it becomes easier to pacify them by simple talk, cuddling and promises to amend matters by giving a new gadget!
Then comes the dreaded teen age… and beyond…
Nothing works easily when the child reaches this age. The hormonal changes in their body play havoc with their emotions and children no longer are satisfied with all the above things we have listed as wonderful things the parents generally do for their children.
The reason that many of us hardly ever realise is that apart from the above needs; children have socioemotional needs that parents alone can fulfil. When the child is young he/she cannot express this need and thereby parents hardly ever get to understand the importance of this dimension in their parent – child relationship.
Being constantly busy trying to meet the tangible needs of children with ever increasing cost of living, we as parents do not realise that children have another important set of intangible needs that must be fulfilled, for which not financial resources, but our time resource is critically important… and we don’t have time!!
When child reaches teenage, the child becomes conscious of the fact that parents have no time for her/ him. They seek companionship from outside the home! It is not a bad thing to develop friendships and share their concerns with friends, but in many cases we notice that friends tend to become a lot more important companions than parents. Popular media, especially cinema gives very encouraging examples of such friend relationships. Young persons fall prey to this phenomenon very easily.
Good friendships enhance the child’s sense of well being, personality and overall contentment in life. There is no argument with that. But, often, friendships that children make are not conducive for well being. There are those lucky youngsters who make great friendships and thrive, ignoring the lack of parental emotional support, but many young people tend to be unlucky in the friendships that they make. These youngsters go astray. Thousands of examples we see every day of what all can go wrong with children, with neither parental support nor good friends.
- Poor school grades
- Developing habits that are detrimental to health and wellbeing
- Moving emotionally away from parents and family members
- Not developing future goals
- Drifting in and out of friendships; Continuing to experiment with more and more new friendships when all seem to be failing
- Emotionally becoming vulnerable and unstable
- Not able to confide with anybody about their psychological needs
- Developing emotional dependence and a clinging tendency to one friend or
- Turning rebellious and non cooperative
Overall, such youngsters lose their sense of balance and need help from everyone; parents, schools, extended family as well as friends.
Tragically, most of these conditions among young people are preventable… by parents mainly.
Parents must remember that
- They have the first and last responsibility towards their children, this cannot be outsourced to anybody
- Physical and financial need fulfilment is not the beginning and end of child care
- Children primarily need loving care and other things come later
- Children are in dire need of attention, affection, appreciation and approval from parents…not anyone else
- Investing in time with children is critically a lot more productive exercise than earning for them…if we want to make them responsible adults
- Developing trust in children is very important, so that they come to parents with their problems and not seek help from outsiders
- Investing at least one hour every day to ask, find out and listen to children is absolutely a must
- Making conversation with children is very important, respecting their ideas, helping them clear their doubts…
- If one parent has a very high demanding job, it is imperative that the second parent create time for the children…child care is not only a mothers job…fathers can be very resourceful in guiding children
- Taking children along to family functions is very important… children must know who their grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins are and must develop bonding with them… this leads to extended family support in need
- Since most families have one or two children these days, extended family relationships are critically important. It is fashionable for children to say they do not know who their cousins are! That would be tragic, nothing to be proud of!
- Disciplining children is important… by explaining the consequences of their actions and behaviours and eliciting cooperation from them
- Parents must realise that they cannot model certain behaviours but expect children not to follow that! An angry outburst by parent will teach the child that it is okay to throw a tantrum! We as parent must model behaviours that we would want our child to emulate
- It is important to keep an interest in the children’s social activities, get to know their friends and what all the children are up to
This list can go on… I hope most important aspects have been covered.
The most tragic thing a parent may hear the child say ‘what do you know what I went through…were you ever there for me?’
If we as parents think what all we are going to leave for our children in terms of material goods and comforts as more important than investing in developing sound responsible personalities in them, our families are doomed in future. A wake up call for all of us!