Challenges to Urban Parenting
Created by Nitin Updated on Aug 06, 2012
Ritu is a working mother to the three-year-old Aliya & has an important Client presentation today. She’s getting ready to leave office early today to avoid the traffic rush. Aliya’s looking at Ritu, as if asking her to come till the pick-up point for her preschool Van. Manish, a young Sr.Manager and Aliya’s dad is also set to leave for office. Both the parents say bye to Aliya after instructing the maid with the details on Aliya’s lunch, sleeping time & evening play time at the community park. While on their way to office, as the mad rush begins & both parents get busy on their smart phones, a thought crosses their mind repeatedly…”Am I doing enough for my child…..Am I doing enough as a parent….”
This is the current urban reality & a point of struggle for most of the working parents. In a recent study done by Learnmile, covering around 390 urban parents, some astounding stats tell the story. More than 50% of the urban parents spend more than one hour in front of the television on weekdays. In contrast, less than 20% parents spend more than one hour of one-on-one time with their children on a weekday. To top it all, most of this parent-child time is while watching TV together. There’s more to the current parenting paradigm, it’s not that parents are not focused on their child’s development & future. On the contrary, Parents today spend the largest proportion of their monthly spends on their child’s education & development. 100% Parents ranked Child’s education as one of their top three important spending heads, the highest among all spending heads. More than 95% of the parents spend 18% or more on their child’s education out of their total monthly spends irrespective of their income brackets. This has been growing steadily from 16% six months back to 18%+ now.
Though the parent spends have gone up, mainly in the areas of education, tuition, hobbies & sports, the time they spend with their children has gone down considerably. This perhaps is taking the children away from their parents, thereby affecting the parent-child bond, especially in the urban landscape. Some may say, that it’s the turning point to our cultural landscape, or that we are going the west-way…..May be, or may be not. I have a different take on this. The Urban parent today, is better aware & knowledgeable, has resources, income, moreover intent to do more for their child. So what has changed? The growing urbanization has increased distances & squeezed time, has improved salaries but reduced the family size. It is these challenges, which an urban parent needs to overcome to be able to achieve more for their child.
Urban parents face these constraints on almost a daily basis. Though, it looks grim, there may still be some opportunity areas & practices, which parents may utilize to overcome these challenges. Resources are definitely important, Money is a resource, but not at the cost of your time with your child, which is perhaps the most important resource. Only a parent could inculcate ones’ personal beliefs and values in ones’ child from a young age, neither a maid nor a tuition teacher can achieve it. Treat your time with your child as the most important resource for his/her overall development. Children are their Parent’s true reflection. Remember to role model what you would want your child to become, that’s the least we could do as a parent.
Television & your smart phones are entertainment & accessories at best; don’t make them your body parts. Instead, plan a day out with your children at the community park, do a zoo or a trek this weekend. You always have a choice. Most of the parents I meet complain of physical inactivity and dullness in their children. I have noticed a common issue across such parents; physical inactivity & dullness among these complaining parents. Our children emulate us, especially our actions. You may start today with a crisp walk or a jog inside your community campus, do those weekend tennis, squash, swimming or cricket sessions. Could get even better, if you could go together with your children. Even a weekend may do the trick for your child to experience & get interested in a sport. I won’t be surprised, if your child has picked after you to a sport. The latest I heard from a happy parent, who wanted to help her 9 year old in English on her weekends. This parent had started a Crossword championship of sorts among children & their respective parents in her building. One of these children has managed to win the recently held spell-bee in the city.
I agree that it’s not easy being an Urban Parent, especially if you are a working parent. Imagine, how will it be being an urban kid. Don’t let stress rule your or your child’s world. Keep it light, fun filled & relaxed. A relaxed parent can achieve much for their children & self.