Parenting Or Parroting???
As Principal of a school, I come across unique experiences. Some enlightening, some frightening. Recently, a young parent of an eight-year-old child doused her son with kerosene as he had used some slang words (probably picked up from home)without knowing their meaning. The class teacher was totally shocked when she came to know this and is scared to correct the child. Yet another parent started hitting the child when he came to know that the child had shared her friend's lunch.
When I send my students to participate in competitions, I tell them that they have already acquired their prizes and rewards in the form of the skills that they sharpened, getting ready for the competition, so, if they win a prize, it is a bonus. But the first question parents ask their children after the competition is, 'Did you get a prize? Why didn't you get one?"Losing teaches as much as winning. Losing is so very essential in preparing a child for fighting the battles of life.
Why isn't competition fun anymore? Why does winning a prize matter so much? What about enjoying the process of preparation, the process of making oneself better? Parents tend to blame the system for the stress and the pressure children face but the truth is, they are the cause of it most times. Very rarely do I come across parents who encourage children to enjoy learning a particular subject. They are mostly concerned only about the marks that the child secures. It is very disheartening to see children without cheer, laughter and innocence, behaving like zombies.
Thrusting their unfulfilled dreams on their children, forcing children into courses which are of no interest to them, demoralising and showing distrust, heaping negative criticism-all these are some of the reasons due to which there develops a huge chasm between the parents and their wards during adolescence. This relationship seldom improves after that. There is yet another category which pampers their children so much that these kids never taste reality. Overprotection spoils them completely.
Whenever I speak to the teenagers with behavioural issues and their parents, I find that in most cases, it is due to poor handling by the parents. Counselling is essential for the parents and very often, they refuse to mend their ways.
While marks are important to get into a college, they do not determine the abilities of a person. Soft skills, leadership abilities, good communication, a well-rounded personality, emotional quotient- these are all necessary for a person to succeed. These are nurtured. Parents need to understand that the journey is much more important to reach the desired destination. Anxiety, despair, heartbreak, stress, despondency- are these the gifts that the parents wish to bestow on their children?
The most painful truth is that these parents want the best for their children and they are not even aware that they are leaving the worst legacies for their children. It's time parenting receives the due importance that it deserves.
I am more and more convinced that parents must participate in workshops on Parenting . Especially when there are no elders at home to guide young parents. Or when they are reluctant to seek/accept the advice of elders. I have made it a point to arrange for a parenting session conducted by psychologists for new parents every year, as a beginning. I hope more and more schools think of doing the same and help kids. Let us gift back childhood and learning to kids.