Today is an era of technological revolution. There is hardly any sphere of our life that is not influenced by technology – be it the ubiquitous television or washing machine or mobile phones. But this development of technology has also had its pitfalls in terms of the challenges that it has posed to parents. Honestly, as a parent it is becoming increasingly difficult to bring up your children in today’s techno-savvy environment. As a parent, it is a constant struggle to discern between what is right and what is wrong, how much is good and how much is bad. I have shared my views on this conundrum and what appears as a way forward to resolve this…
Bangalore is no longer the pensioner’s paradise that it was. A surge in the automobile population has not only increased pollution levels in the city but has also made lives miserable for the elderly who cannot even peacefully walk on the roads. Added to this is the insistence of every parents to drop their kids to school by either a two-wheeler or a four-wheeler. The result is not only traffic congestion on the road but also a corroded view of societal values in the minds of children. Today children in Bangalore seem to think that a car is a necessity not a status symbol. But who is responsible for this? It is the parents themselves who are to be blamed for this pathetic scenario. Forever depending on a vehicle even for minor errands results in lifestyle diseases attacking the parents besides making the children obese. Where are the spaces in Bangalore for children to play? With every narrow road being occupied by buildings/individual houses and most available space consumed for parking, the only recourse available to children is watching television. What do parents do in such a case?
In case of those children where both the parents work, the parents make up for lost time by giving the children atrocious gifts like mobile phones, iPods and what not. What they cannot make up by way of personal interaction with the children is made up by way of these obscene gifts/gizmos. Thus the kids end up imbibing wrong values. As they get everything easily, they fail to realize the importance of virtues like discipline, hard work, perseverance, honesty, integrity etc. etc. Even if a parent spanks his /her child, and he ends up feeling remorseful for the same. The guilt pangs are overcome by way of costly gifts. Thus, the child gets a warped understanding of all the values. Some parents plan their vacation much in advance giving an indication to kids that schools are something that is a necessary evil. So, children start perceiving the school as some sort of jail and start yearning for freedom. It is the parents who are responsible for developing this mentality.
There are many parents who vent out their frustrations on unsuspecting kids. They do not realize that this can emotionally scar the child for a lifetime. Though it is often said that work should not be carried home, how many of us parents are successful in warding off work once we reach home? With the advent of mobile phones, one can’t be at peace even at home. Many parents seldom impress upon their children the values of courage and perseverance, resilience. Remember what Nelson Mandela has said? “In life it is not important how many times you fall, rather how many times you rise after each fall”. Courage is the most precious gift one can give to others. Courage and faith are Siamese twins. Self-confidence and self-respect are so vital in today’s mundane life. Yet, how many of us realize this? By the time parents realize this, the children are already grown-up.
There are no quick fix solutions to this problem. I am as much a parent as everybody else. While parents need to consolidate their strengths, they also need to find creative ways of overcoming their weaknesses. The values that parents want in their children should be demonstrated by parents themselves as role-models for children to emulate. A good working relationship between the parents and schools is an absolute must for the physical and mental development of the child. A father who is a chain smoker has to be prepared to accept the fact that his teenage son may smoke a few years thence. A mother who is driving a four-wheeler with a mobile in one hand is sending a wrong signal to her child. Parents who abuse each other in front of children should reconcile their differences in a subtle way without impacting the children.
Children do not need expensive gifts from parents. They need only one thing from their parents – their time. The sooner we parents realize this better. Earlier, grandparents used to narrate tales to children. Now that era is waning with the advent of more and more nuclear families. It is at this juncture that the parents need to step in and devote a specific time each day for their children. They need to talk to them, encourage them, motivate them, understand their problems and make them understand that every obstacle is an opportunity in disguise. While every parent would want his child to excel in studies, it is also important to nurture the child and understand where his/her interest lies. Merely packing off the children to a tuition class is not the solution. The parents’ involvement in the studies of their wards is also crucial. Without exerting undue pressure on the children, parents need to explain to them what the benefits of education are. It is important to show them the benefits of positively visualizing the outcome. For this, the parents need to have a positive visualization of the outcome themselves.