Four prime causes of a silent crisis - An emotional disconnect with children, in cities
# 1. Increasing social responsibilities, interests and/or pressure in the current marketplace is creating a new segment of 'the busy professional's children', who are raised by caretakers/ creches.
# 2. Limited opportunities + Low school/ college acceptance rates + High-cost of quality-education, causes parents to unknowingly place pressure on children, to perform in areas they may not be interested in.
# 3. Even the best of schools are strained in finding great teachers, who could think beyond completing syllabus and could truly engage with children. The child cannot always be blamed for not paying attention.
# 4. Children draw comparisons with friends. Due to emotional and mental strain, coupled with restricted free time, in general busy parents give into their children's wants & rants easily, instead of teaching values.
As such, the three-part system of parents, teachers and schools is failing in providing holistic emotional growth. The negative effect of this will be evident when this new generation of emotionally-isolated children turn into adults and enter the mainstream and/or face real-world problems.
How do you deal with the above effectively?
~ Explore and evaluate how you can give your child more time and attention/ work-home home/ flexible work options vs. slower pace of growth at the workplace. Whatever you may choose, has its pro's and con's. Choose wisely.
~ If your child is destined to be an athlete, marks in mathematics may not matter; If destined to be in business, marks in is chemistry may not matter - they will find their way with their passion, be ready & capable of providing the right guidance they seek.
~ For a true teacher, one student in a classroom is enough for them to give their best. And, If you are attempting to help your child with studies, fill your heart with love + build patience + know the subject thoroughly before starting.
~ It may appear easier to buy them a new toy/ phone, etc than teach them the value of being content with what they have; value for money and the value of earning a privilege. You may have to face their disappointment and/or anger but hold a longer-term approach and act accordingly.
6 Questions pointing to 6 Good Parenting Tips: DO's & DONT's
1. Do you watch TV / work on your laptop till late in the night and tell your child it is a bad habit?
Avoid being the bossy parent who is always preaching but not practicing the discipline that you are trying to imbibe in your child. They imitate and adapt - beware of the example you are setting through your words and deeds. They will pickup positive traits, if you set an example and give them enough reason to follow you.
2. How often do you say these, "In my days .... / when I was young.... / you must respect me...." ?
Allow your child to be. Allow them to learn through their own experiences. Provide them the guidance that helps them solve their problems, without bringing in your story every now and then, unless absolutely relevant. They will respect you naturally if you respect their choices, accept their mistakes and allow them to learn, instead of trying to teach.
3. Are you sub-consciously scared your child will hate you if you are stern?
Love with compassion, not with attachment. If you are attached, the fear of losing your child's attention and love will prevent you from doing what is best for his/her growth. With compassion, you will not be worried about a few tears if you are clear that your harsh words are essential for him/her to learn important life skills.
4. Are you negatively or positively biased towards your child? Do you show it in front of others?
Strike a balance - make it a point to share feedback (both positive and negative) with your child regarding their behavior when alone - not in front of their siblings, friends and away from your spouse too if possible. After few such sessions, your child will begin to understand that you are on his/her side and are a partner in their growth.
5. Are you dependent on your partner to take care of the child?
Parenting is not a one person job. For working parents, who expect their partners to fill up for each other temporarily - the role of a father cannot be complimented by a mother and vice versa as each parent helps inculcate different, unique values in children. (unless one is re-wired differently, as is in the case of single parents). It is entirely your responsibility to do justice to your role - it cannot be delegated to your partner.
6. Are you forcing your child to adopt religious practices to become Spiritual?
You will notice, children are much closer to spirituality, naturally, than many well-read adults. Explain the meaning of GOD and the power of prayer to your child and observe their reactions over time. Create a healthy positive environment of goodness at your home - it will boost his/her spiritual nature without much doing.
Talk to your partner and make it a point to engage with your children, your teens especially, more deeply than before - not with authority but as a friend; not by merely enquiring about the day, homework, projects and classes but with real involvement; not just on weekends and holidays but daily as often as possible!
Your child is like a young sapling that you ought to nourish, for them to flourish. Provide them all that they need not just physically but also emotionally and mentally, for their holistic development.
If you truly want to help someone, you have to be fit yourself. If you are genuinely interested in giving your child a wonderful and meaningful upbringing, place focus on yourself first - transform yourself into a calm, composed and loving human being, only then can you imbibe those qualities in him/her.
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