Parenting is joyful; and confusing. What is right and what is wrong? Who decides the rules and codes and where is the Bible? We all are well aware of the fact that parenting is done on an emotional and personal level so there are no specifics. We only have a broad understanding of right and wrong and even that can come under the scanner anytime.
In retrospect of our growing up years, we realize that parenting styles are very different from generation to generation. With that realization in hand, here is an effort in decoding the parenting style of the current generation.
We belong to the peer group of plenty – plenty of money and materials, plenty of attention for our children and also plenty of love in comparison to our previous few generations; which by itself is certainly a wonderful thing to give our children. The question now is – are we really showing more love than our parents or grandparents did? More specifically, is it love that we are showing? Do we detect a lack of discipline and sensitivity among the younger ones? What kind of society are we shaping up for the future? An imbalance of too much sensitivity towards oneself and very little towards others are staring at us in the face.
Attempts to understand the parental mindset has shed light on the fact that we are scared of our children. We are scared of offending them, scared of their sensitivity, scared of their tantrums; and as a result, in total doubt about our approach. The easy way out seems to be to give in to their demands because of either fear of the outcome or to demonstrate our love. True that they are exposed to way too much unwanted and unfiltered information which is sometimes not in our control, but a question to ask ourselves – where are we going wrong? Why can’t we say no? Are we on a constant guilt trip which the children sense and capitalize on? Is it love or pampering that we are doing?
Latest gizmos, toys, and clothes find their way home even before they can adorn the market shelves – some immediately after a request or demand and many even before. We seem to be running a rat race in parenting too; to give the best to our children – better than anyone else. In aiming for the best, we have lost track of what is best. We have deprived them the pleasure of achievement by our shower of gifts. Expensive holidays to flaunt our superfluous wealth in an attempt to make them happy only results in disinterest. Sometimes a trip to the local zoo brings so much warmth which an overseas vacation might fail at. A snap here and a pat there for the right reasons as practiced by our parents imbibed such high values in us. So, why are we any different? By our constant display of affection through gifts and giving in to demands, we are raising a clan which lacks self-confidence and does not understand the values of rewards for accomplishment.
Learning to differentiate between love and pampering, discipline and punishment is a lesson to be learnt by parents first. It is high time we joined hands to raise a better civilization.
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