“Parenting isn’t a practice, it’s a daily learning experience” – anonymous.
Parenting Article – Just last week I received a call from my house help who, in midst of heart-wrenching sobs and told me about the demise of her teenage daughter. I was shocked to hear the news as I knew this girl – she was always so bubbly, a happy-go-lucky kid who loved life and herself! So why did she take such a drastic step? Love, family, dominance seems to be playing the villain here.
Every 40 seconds a life is lost through suicide worldwide, according to data provided by WHO… Shocking, isn’t it?
If you are an avid newspaper reader, you must have read the news of a teenage boy from Mumbai jumping off a high-rise building to end his much-loved life – a virtual gaming platform is suspected to be the culprit.
Another news from the city of dreams where in a family of bureaucrats lost their only son – again a teenager, he jumped off his posh sky scraper for reasons best known to the family or the deceased.
These are just not few gloomy headlines, but an alarming trend which is taking over our younger generation rapidly. Have you ever thought what could be the reason behind all these cases of young kids taking their lives? What could be the triggers? Why our kids? Every 40 seconds a life is lost through suicide worldwide, according to data provided by WHO… Shocking, isn’t it?
Much research has gone into this and so many NGOs are working to ascertain the reason behind this horrifying trend – some suggest that it’s the lack of ability to take on stress, some say it’s pressure from peers or family. Depression is the most prominent factor in all suicidal cases. Depression! At such a young age. I was discussing the same thought with my colleague when she mentioned about the effects of ‘hyper parenting’! What is that – Hyper Parenting (heard of over parenting but Hyper-Parenting?)
A parenting style typically associated with middle or upper middle-class families, where children are reared (yes, I am using this word for a reason) competitively wherein SUCCESS is the ONLY goal. I am sure you must have seen/heard moms saying to their kids – “You have to come first” Or “Don’t you want to become a doctor?” Or “When he/she can come first, why can’t you?” The choice given to kids here is – just come FIRST. I am aghast at reading the big, happy congratulatory messages with children’s images on public transport vehicles, scoring 99%, 99.9%, 98%…and so on. What is the need for that? Imagine the situation of 99% scorer’s friend, who with a lot of hard work could score 80%, but no one is talking about him – because the cut off list starts only at 99%.
Recently at my kid’s PTM, I met a fellow parent who mentioned her daughter’s oratory skills. “At the age of 5 she speaks so well and confidently,” I said to her. She replied, “Because I give her speech classes.” “Oh, why speech class?” My reaction was one of concern. “Arre, it’s so much competition everywhere – abhi nahi bolna seekhegi toh kab?” that was the mom’s response. Elocution classes for a 5-year-old girl! Sorry lady, I am not this ambitious Mom.
Do not give them ready made solutions, let them fight their own battles. Let them search for the answers by themselves and most importantly, let them earn their rewards.
We have trained our kids such that they see outside world as competition – it’s “I am First or else I am good for nothing.” Kids are falling prey to over ambitious hopes from their own parents. I am not saying don’t dream for your child, don’t push them to do something good, but do not push them so hard that they can never get up back on their feet. STOP comparing kids and accept the fact that every kid/person is different. Just because another child can do something does not mean our kid has to join the rat race.
Do not give kids easy options – let them make their own way. I was 15 when my father stopped giving me advice – I remember his permanent answer to all my questions seeking his help – do what suits you the best. I am so thankful to you Dad, for that. It gave me the freedom to make my own decisions and learn from them.
Do not over pamper them, let them earn the love and pampering from you – please don’t take me as your enemy, I am not asking you to neglect your child, but let them learn the value of love. Give them a kiss in appreciation when they deserve it.
Teach them human values – just last month when I went to my regular salon, I met the owner’s sonny boy. A very cute little kid, all of 6 years. But the way he behaved with the staff made me so furious and agitated that I left the place mid-service. Teach kids basic etiquette, manners and behavior. This will not only help them now but in future too when they come to the age when they are ready for relationships.
Give them stress… (You must be thinking, “Oh my God. this writer has gone bonkers!”) Nope, I am not. All the behavioral studies suggest stress is the main reason for kids resorting to self-inflicted hurts or even deaths. Let them work on their own problems. Do not give them ready made solutions, let them fight their own battles (I am sure it won’t be as big as the Mahabharata). Let them search for the answers by themselves and most importantly let them earn their rewards. Rewards must be co-related to hard work, and make sure you comply with their requests for freebies only when required. Easy consumerization gives rise to over expectation, and when these expectations don’t get fulfilled, the results are always depressing.
Motherhood is a learning journey and we learn on the job. Life gives us chances to improvise once or twice and together, we can make a better and healthy future for our kids with just the right approach to parenting and love.