Today I will be sharing with you some of my thoughts on current practices in raising children that I think have become redundant with changing times! Obviously this is from the point of view of childrens’ emotional health. I assure you, this is not going to be a parenting class 😉. I have tried to elaborate on some of our traditional practices that probably need to be reformed with the new age :-). Mind you, these are not the only ones!! I strongly feel parenting is an art and needs customization and fine tuning for every child for the very fact that every child is unique!!
1. Divide between girls and boys:
I have observed many times – while growing up girls and boys get along together as a different set of people. While this is a good way of bonding with respective girl – friends & (boy-friends) it also creates a divide in the two genders since very beginning. They start thinking “against” each other and generalize behaviors, drifting themselves into beliefs that have less factual basis. Instead of which, if we teach them to play together or be together, the attitude of co-operation is nurtured along with mutual respect for one another’s likes and dislikes. I personally am not comfortable with the ‘versus’ – girls Vs boys attitude. This also limits their imagination to resolve problems. Why cant they be/play/study/party together and explore the world with shared opinions??
This also gives them an edge in understanding about relationships when they are in their teens or a bit more than that. Common lets face it, our kids will someday be in a relationship with someone!! Girls or Boys who have isolated themselves from being around opposite gender, may face an overwhelm when they reach a certain age in which they feel a lot of things but never dare to really act on their feelings because they terribly fear to explore relationships! They avoid being in a relationship under the name of morality or tradition or culture. But the fact is they think they dont have the ability to handle it!!
2. Getting conflicting instructions:
Parents, grandparents (two parents when there is a nuclear family) may have one or different opinions about a particular issue related to the child in house. Eg: type of food item to be eaten as a snack.
Lack of discussion beforehand, leads to giving opposite instructions and the child gets confused. One elder says u should eat fruit at 4 the other says no, milk and poha is better. The child fails to understand what she/he is supposed to do and ends up getting a scolding from either of the elders. This leads to feeling of resentment in kids and builds anger for elders at home due to conflicting instructions. They dont exactly know what are they supposed to do and lose sense of right and wrong. This is not a very healthy state of mind.
3. Dismissing child’s anger or upset:
A lot of times kids have instances that upset them or make them angry. It can be at school at play or at home. What is important is to NOT shrug these emotional expressions (by kids); off your shoulders just because they are “kids”. This is a pure disrespect towards their feelings and happenings in life. They feel let down by elders and unimportant just because they are kids – again building a feeling of anger accompanied with revenge. They say to themselves “I will show you what I am when I grow up. Just wait for a few years” Do you think this is a great feeling for their elders at home? It is very un-healthy state of mind for a child who is growing with this emotion. They perceive all acts directed towards them to be out of the same notion from adults and this colludes their judgement of right and wrong. They become vulnerable and may take offence for even a smallest thing or at times everything they encounter.
4. Constantly talking about people:
There are parents who constantly talk (with each other) about other people. Especially criticizing others for things that don’t match their own lifestyle or values of life. This creates an impression (in the mind of kid/kids) that anybody who has a different taste than theirs; in anything like: movies, clothes, opinions – are to be looked down upon and are basically wrong for having those tastes. It also creates an illusion that theirs is the only way to live life. Kids do not learn to accommodate or respect other peoples’ culture or way of life. Leading to becoming less of a team player more of a solo performer. More so, even when performing solo, they lack receptivity towards feedback, further leading to rejecting suggestions that will help improve their performance.
To avoid this, parents could talk about climate change, world politics, global history or basically anything focusing on information sharing!
5. Treating children as things:
Now this entails adults especially parents at home talking about their children in front of them as if they are things that cannot talk or think. Deciding on their behalf without asking their opinion. Now this way of decision making is really very awful and fill childrens’ hearts with anger, upset, revenge and frustration. The fact that my parents are not even asking my opinion while deciding about me, is an absolute insult towards children’s ability to think. That also means that you have been always doing this and have not taught your children to think for themselves & you dont trust their ability to think and decide for themselves!!! A total screwed up situation I would say here, pardon my words!
Elders could instead trust on their teachings they have imbibed in their children and sit together and discuss outcomes of various decisions and help them decide for themselves!! Does this option sound better??
Well definitely yes!!!!
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