Raising children is an art. It's an experiment in which success is imperative. No child is born bad or good. They are like a formless lump of clay and upbringing gives them shape.
As parents we want our children to grow into successful people, rich and reach a level higher than what we managed to touch. Nothing wrong in that but, often, we take away their childhood from them and burden their minds with our experiences, our definition, and inferences of life, our methods to grab success and our notions of society. We want them to borrow our shoes and follow our trails. The world we live in deem success and affluence as synonyms. Wanting our children to grow successful we create a sanctum for money in their unripe minds.
Of course, the reason is that we care for them and love them but, the love and care get adulterated by our fear. We don't want them to suffer and struggle. We don't want them to commit mistakes. We don't want them to stumble or fall and end up making them weak. We doubt whether they can get up after falling down, whether they have the mental strength to cope up with failures. We aspire that our children must succeed in the first attempt because neither we can afford nor life will give them the second chance. We forget that pressure turns coal into a diamond.
It's good that we want to give them everything but the worse is, we want them to be satisfied with what we put in their platter, often without caring to know their wants, likes, and dislikes.
The reason, I think is our own insecurity. We don't want life to repeat to them what it did to us and here, by doing this we present life as a problem and enslave them to acknowledge and accept our uncalled for and unwarranted help to solve that problem. We spoil the fun that solving a riddle gives and living a mystery brings. We make our children handicap. More inconveniences we have had in our lives, the more cautious we are in bringing up our kids. I am not talking about pampering and making the child like a hand-reared lamb. It's his right and our duty as parents. We ought to love our creations.
I say we should tell our children that the most important thing is that they are kind. And, this telling must be indirect. Showing it to them lest we shall sound as preachers. We can be kind ourselves and indulge in the acts of kindness and be a model for them.
I am a mathematics teacher for twenty-four years now. My son wanted to drop maths and take Computer science in lieu of it. Though reluctant, I didn't make a fuss about it and allowed him to go ahead with his own choice. He is happy and pursuing Mass communication now.
Instead of deciding what they should do, we should make them confident of choosing what they want and be determined to carry out everything they take up.
We should appreciate their efforts and not the performance.
Most of the parents become the support for their babies and treat them as 'babies' until late. They claim that it is their love. I, as a father, is no exception. However, I feel parents should act as a guide showing both sides of the coin and let the child decide which way he wants to tread along.
My mother used to keep some money in the God's altar. I, a five-year kid, once stole five rupees from the God's kitty. When my mother inquired, I expressed my ignorance. She found the coins in the pocket of my knickers.
My father came as a guest teacher in the primary school I went to on his off days. Next time, he purposely came to my class. While teaching Subtraction he asked a question which went like this, 'Mother kept eleven rupees in the God's altar. Gaurav stole five rupees. How much money was left with the God?'
All my mates looked at me. I was in tears. I thought my father was a cruel man. Still, I don't know if he was right in doing so but, I never stole after that.
Encourage the children to play sports. One parameter of good upbringing is how a person behaves after winning or losing. This defines his conduct in dealing with people more successful and less successful than him. Where others stand in life must not make us feel superior or inferior.
At the basic level, parents should only watch the behaviour of their children.
Gratitude is the best attitude. Children must practice to be gratuitous towards everything and everyone.
Studies show that people who are in the habit of expressing gratitude are more helpful, generous, compassionate, and forgiving—and they’re also happier and healthier.
We must expand their circle of concern. A person's for his family and friends is no big deal. Challenge is to make them think about the people outside the circle. That includes the concern for the the neighbours, the hawkers, the shopkeepers, the house helpers and everybody they come across. This challenge can easily be achieved by teaching them to build relationships and value the relationships they build.
Again, preaching will not do. Parents themselves, role models for their children. Children watch how their parents deal with the relatives, neighbours and friends. Be generous and tolerant with relatives. Be polite and helpful to neighbours. Visit and invite your friends often. When the children will know that you are still connected with your school friends, that will certainly inspire them.
Don't protect your child like a shield, walk behind him like a shadow.
Never appreciate them when they tell you about the vices of their friends, classmates, teachers or anybody. Instead, ask them what virtues does he see in that person. In all likelihood, he would deny any. Don't give up and ask him to find out. Follow up. Tell him that you would like to meet those people.
I was about ten and went out to play cricket with other boys. Once a month, my father would call some of the boys and talk to them. He would ask how they were doing in their studies. What did their fathers do? Where did they live? Did they abuse? I thought the practice was weird as the boys teased me.
As parents, we should not shy away from pointing out the mistakes of our kids, behavioural or otherwise. If not us, someone else will and if the child is not in a habit of hearing bad things, he is going to suffer and this would leave him miserable later or sooner. I have seen people blindly favouring their kids. This is the biggest blunder people do. We should inculcate the habit of accepting follies in our children. They are bound to make mistakes in life and the world would not be on their side every time. Staring down their shortcomings can put them on the path to lasting happiness else they will suffer in one way or another.
If he is right, stand with him come what may. If not, scold him and make him realize.
We all, as parents, must try to become the people whom our children can like.
I as a father would like my children to grow up into fearless, cheerful, compassionate, kind and never-feel-insecure and I am glad my upbringing is going in the right direction so far.