Childhood - The Best Gift For Your Child!
Created by Nandini Muralidharan Updated on Nov 21, 2018
Do you often have this dilemma “Is my child growing up too quickly?”; “Am I, as a parent, trapped in the situation of providing too much, too soon?”; “Is the parent in me judging, comparing and competing most of the time – and hence losing out on the simple, everyday joys of seeing my child take those baby steps towards life and awareness?”. Our proparent, Nandini Muralitharan, shares some of her experiences to make us believe in the magic of childhood – the best gift for your child!
It was just another birthday party for a five-year-old. Sneha watched as Ria dipped her fingers in the pudding she was eating and smiled to herself. “Kiara’s learning Mandarin and French”, said Avanti, another mom in the group. “Oh that’s wonderful, can you give me her French teacher’s cell number? Ayan is only learning to play the keyboard. I am planning to start karate soon.” Sneha tensed and waited as this conversation continued. There was no way this was a discussion about five year olds, she thought to herself, or was it?! Should she also be getting the number of the French teacher? Should she find out where they taught Taekwondo? And then she looked at Ria making chocolate designs on her plate and realised that she needed to hit the brakes – Ria was five years old! There aren’t many years in a person’s life when he/she can be as carefree as she was now. There was enough time for French, Mandarin, the Olympics and what not!
Diwali brings fun and celebration, so Vijay was watching his seven-year-old daughter Shriya get ready for her dance performance at their colony club house. They were performing the latest Bollywood hits and, he realized, she was dressed very similar to the actor in one of the songs. Hair done up in a sophisticated top knot, heavy eye makeup, lips painted red and wait – were those heels?! Throughout the performance Vijay couldn’t help feeling uneasy as he watched the little girls do their very grown up pelvic thrusts. He had to speak to Shwetha about it. Their little daughter was growing up way too soon for her own good.
Do these scenarios sound familiar? We’ve all often wished that we could be children again so that we wouldn’t have to go through the trials of adulthood. But guess what? Children are under more stress than their parents these days. Childhood ends even before it begins! With electronic devices ruling our lives, children have the world at their fingertips. And not in a good way always. There’s no denying the educational and fun elements that these come with, but anything in excess can only mean bad news… right? How can we make sure our children really enjoy the simple pleasures of childhood? Here are some of my learnings…
- Schedule some unscheduled fun: Moms, dads – there will always be that child who knows more languages or can do Math faster than your child. So please say NO to some activities that you are cramming into your child’s week and take some time off. Time to just go walking or to picnic in the garden. Don’t even schedule competitive sports. Just let them “hang out” with you and talk while you water the plants or walk together.
- Take their opinions: Give them time to just do their own thing. You will be surprised at how creative children can be. If it’s reading your daughter enjoys, let her just curl up with a book instead of going to that ballet lesson.
- Monitor what they watch – and wear! Yes, we all like to give our children choices we never had. But you need to draw the lines and make the rules about how they dress because children are now led to believe that “glamorous” is the way to be, even at twelve years of ages, and sexuality is flaunted by those barely out of school. Familiarise yourself with what they watch on TV and talk to them about it.
We all get to experience childhoods once. So what’s the rush, right? Too much pressure to get top grades, exposure to inappropriate content, too many expectations – we’re just pushing them to grow up way faster than they really should. Slow down, parents. Cherish your child’s childhood, but most of all – allow your child to enjoy it.
We would love to hear from you. Please share how you balance the scales between ‘freedom and discipline’ – and help other parents learn some new tricks too! Let us share, support and follow all that is pro-children, that is pro-childhood! Write in!