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What parents need to be taught

Education is only for children. No! If you say so. We need a system, where parents regularly undergo some refresher courses on what to do and what not to do. The major challenge that we face in our country is that with the depletion of joint family system, the art of parenting is also vanishing. Parenting is not about sending children to school, it involves taking pain in raising the kids and giving them vision, motivation, direction and support which can mould them for a great future.

"I am getting worried. My son is not studying much and he may fail this time...." This is the type of response that you will encounter when you meet parents. Most of the parents are anxious about academic performance of their children. They are suffering from stress, anxiety and they pass on these and associated characteristics to their children directly or indirectly. The result is an excessive stress and a picture of a dismal future before the children.
Parenting is becoming more and more difficult with the passage of time for two reasons - 1. Career orientation competes with it 2. There is an inadequate guidance on "how" aspects of parenting and the traditional knowledge base has been shrinking. I firmly believe that traditional approaches to parenting were outstanding, as they created positive perspectives in the evolving mind of the child. However, the shattering joint family system has left us without the rich traditions of effective parenting. Now we are confronted with nuclear families, with virtually no support from relatives. What parents need to be taught,education I find myself highly inferior to my parents in the art of parenting. I believe that similar circumstances might happen with other parents also. Cartoon channels, video games and multi-media gadgets have taken the children away from parents. It is these issues that have prompted me to delve on this important aspect of our life. While writing this paper, I took help of my daughter in identifying the issues relating to children so that they get their due place.

The art of parenting...

1. Create a vision for life which articulates the true purpose of being and this is the most important thing of all. When the child starts a journey with a purpose, the real beginning has been made.

2. Slowly raise the standards of behaviour, values and aspirations and enable the child to assimilate these standards. The progress is always step by step. So, have a lot of patience. Practise what you expect the child to follow.

3. Expose the child to examples of excellence, pursuits of noble cause and expressions of creativity and innovations so that the child may inculcate the ideas of excellence and find role models in great personalities. Let the child use the helping W's: What, Why, Where, When and How - these will raise the curiosity of the child and will enable the child to learn more within less time.

4. Initiate the child to pursuits of spirituality, good literature, engaging hobbies and demanding sports so that the child may be able to find directions for its energy and spirit. Enable the child to appreciate books and the value of reading habits. Bring good books that will suit as per the age of the child and enable the child to read and understand them. Enable the child to understand the negative impact and harm of video games, entertainment channels on TV and other such mass media products. If the child is devoting its time on TV or on internet or on video games, it is due to the fact that the parents have not oriented the child to some creative hobby.

5. Create a positive thinking and positive attitude towards life and surroundings. Enable the child to appreciate nature, environment and ecosystem, and enable the child to use more of natural products and be close to nature. Enable the child to appreciate animals, birds, trees, plants and the natural habitat that we live in. Enable the child to experience the thrill of nature, the aura of rainbows and the ecstasy of being surrounded by nature.

6. Create a disciplined approach to our daily routine and enable the child to learn self control and self practice. Enable the child to understand how daily routine can be planned and executed. This is where discipline starts creeping into the habits of the child.

7. Create a supportive environment for the creative pursuits so that the child may find an appreciation for its initiatives. Expose your child to scientific experiments, quick Math, memory improvement techniques, books on word power and inspirational stories. Apply mathematics and science in daily conversation so that learning is transferred to daily life. Practical approach to science at home enables better learning on the part of children in schools.

8. Spare time for being with the child in some quiet place for uninterrupted listening to the worldview of the child.

9. Assert the positive qualities of the child before others which you wish to see more and which you wish that your child should exhibit more so that the public image of the child is with those qualities which ultimately mould the child in those directions.

10. Be appreciative of the child and understand the perspective of the child. Give your 100% attention, time and resources to the child. Your appreciation will act as motivator and image builder for the child. Remember that when the child arrives in the world it has a blank mind. The parents give the initial subconscious mind through interactions, which develop as the decision making background.

Some frequently asked questions on parenting...

Should parents give freedom to children or interrupt the children to regulate them?

Giving freedom or making frequent interruption, both must be avoided. Acharya Mahashraman says, "Freedom in the beginning will deprive a person for any right to freedom. Discipline in the beginning will enable him to earn freedom." It is also not advisable to force decisions on children. A scientific reasoning will enable the child to appreciate every decision and will develop required decision making skills also.

How should we groom a child into capable citizen?

Give the child the power to take decisions under your guidance. However, enable the child to correct the decision itself. Don't impose your decisions; let the child take decisions and make mistakes. Don't correct the mistakes; let the child correct the mistakes. First, let the child analyse and evaluate each decision.

How should parents spend spare time with children?

You can narrate stories from past, stories from history and stories from our culture. Don't impose your perspective. Critically share each story to let the child analyse the situation and its consequences. Be as slow as possible so that you are at the speed of the child and enable proper discussions and analysis. Enable the child to pick up reasons behind everything.
Should we give pocket money to the child?

Yes, initially the child may spend all the pocket money on items like chocolates etc. However, do discuss about how to save and invest money with the child. Later the child will start saving money and will learn how to invest it too. This will train him about how to conserve and utilise resources. Do share your financial planning with the child so that the child also starts planning for the resources. This will develop the entrepreneurial and planning skills in the child and will bring out a careful citizen. The child must be trained in the art of living within limited resources and must be moulded to lead a life of careful planning, and not that of extravaganza.

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Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on 16th February 2014.
Dr. Trilok Kumar Jain
Dr. Trilok Kumar Jain is a contributing writer at Inspiration Unlimited eMagazin

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