The changing parent-child relationship
Created by Anupama Jain Updated on Sep 23, 2015
The world we live in today, is not what it used to be, with changes galore on every front. The way we live, work and procreate has undergone tremendous change. The changes to our society, the accepted societal rules and the resultant impact thereof, has been tremendous.
Parent- child relationships have indeed become very complex and bringing up children is no longer a passive occurrence that happens all by itself—it requires great alertness and pro-active participation by both the parents. Into this ever changing and highly demanding world, are born children of this generation who need to adjust fast and flower within the given environment.
Parenting is no cakewalk especially in this digital age of instant updates and all round in your face 'my gratification first'. How can parents hang on to their children's innocence a little longer? How do you shield them from the overt sexual pervasion? When do you have the Talk about birds and bees? How much digital exposure is enough exposure? When do you rein in the kids and when do you let them be? These are some of the questions that a modern parent grapples with incessantly.
Traditional models no longer work, The old idea of spare the rod spoil the child, doesn't hold. Since the onus of bringing out the confident, soaring next-gen rests with the parents, what path do they take? Does one pander to all the whims and fancies of the children or regimentalize their entire day? When do you become a friend, an overseer, a councilor or a strict monitor? Should you be a Tiger Mom or an indulgent mother Hen?
A search engine might answer most of the queries but unfortunately as far as parenting goes, no single rule applies to all, one size does not fit all. Thought processes and resultant actions are varied. Eventually each parent has to work out the best path suitable for his/her journey.
Also Nuclear families where there are no elders at home to advice or give guidance to young parents have replaced large joint families. Both parents are working hard to fulfill the financial requirements of the family. This scenario means parental roles are no longer clearly demarcated into father, the breadwinner and mother the hearth-in-charge. “Father brings home the bacon and mother cooks it” - No more true as fathers today are playing a proactive role in giving a helping hand to mothers in running the house hold or raising a child.
Some families, these days are adopting the one-child norm. In some families, grand-parents have taken the place of parents in attending to the child’s needs and bringing up grandchildren and in some cases nannies are the caregivers.
In spite of the love, the care takers shower on the child and the child-related responsibilities that they fulfill to the complete satisfaction of the child, still the growing child may miss the parents’ physical warmth, the psychological comfort they give, the time and attention and so on. A parent is a parent.
As a result some children may display all sorts of quasi-psychological symptoms of maladjustment which usually begin with a refusal to go to school or listen to parents or to respond positively to their concerns.
Good parenting is all about taking the middle path. Its an amalgamation of an indulgent ' Go forth and discover yourself' mommie, and an autocratic 'I knows what's good for you' mother. You help your children discover their true passions, supporting it even if it is contrary to your expectations. Unconditional at that! Fostering an attitude of thinking out of the box, not afraid to take decisions and standing by the end result.Positive affirmations and reinforcements are the order of the day. Parenting is also about training the children to be free thinkers, unfettered by the linear moulding of the society and its prejudices. And at trying times, guide them like the good shepherd with a firm hand and enforcing a few ground rules.
Life is not all about chasing the pot of gold, attaining materialistic goals but is the sum total of little joys and subtle nuances. Good parenting is all about instilling these values. Tall order but hey, who said parenting is easy.
Though times have changed and traditional roles have blurred, a few paradigms still remain golden. Having a good role model and a loving family atmosphere at home, putting emphasis on ethics and respect to elders, fostering a healthy regard for a peer's opinion, exposure to our abundant culture, insistence on outdoor exercise, last but not the least, at least a meal together , preferably not in front of the idiot box.
All in all, its a give and take relationship between the parent and child, a rich and rewarding experience where you learn on the job every day !
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