Trends Bringing up children is not rocket science. However given the all-knowing Internet is just a click away, parents are checking online resources for answers and reassurance, writes RESHMA KRISHNAMURTHY SHARMA

Until a few years ago, parenting was considered a natural progression of motherhood. Parents, didn’t have to look too far for advice about how to bring up their children—as it was readily available from parents and friendly-neighbourhood aunties.

However, now with nuclear families becoming the norm rather than exception, parents are increasingly relying on advice online or from books. Mums-to-be go on an overdrive to gather information as soon as they get to know they are pregnant. This continues into the parenting phase as well where it is shared with fathers too.

Parents have a host of options from books, videos and websites provide information for the initial years of parenting, and information-hungry parents are waiting to devour it. If these are not enough, there are parenting workshops conducted by pre-schools and maternity hospitals. So has parenting become tougher over the years?

Says Swati Popat Vats, a parenting expert and head of a pre-school chain, “Parenting has changed in the last few years. There are many reasons including nuclear families, working moms and single-parent families.People require support in their day-to-day parenting decisions. Thanks to the internet, parents are on facebook, google and other websites. Conflicting advice leads to a lot of confusion. Parents need to be guided on guilt-free and instinctive parenting. Not to forget, earlier a dedicated member of the family was focused on bringing up the children whereas today parenting is a part of the many duties that parents perform.”

Grandparents are not completely ruled out of the proceedings. Says Lavanya Raghuram, a HR professional and mother of an eight-year-old Puja, “There are enough issues to be tackled right from toddler age to pre-teens and way beyond regarding children. Once in a while, I go to a websites or internet forums and talk to friends or colleagues who have children of a similar age. My parents are just a phone call away and I take their advice occasionally as they do not belong to this generation.” Rashmi Patel, an entrepreneur and a mom of a two-year-old begs to differ. “I think parenting is a personal discovery for every individual. Though I have read a lot of pregnancy books, I go by instinct on handling every-day issues with my child.”

Swati says: “Materialistic parenting is a growing trend across the country in urban sectors. Many parents think they can substitute their time and attention with toys and gifts. Also incorrect lifestyle habits, too much focus on keeping the child busy and lack of physical exercise is adding to the burden. Earlier children had it much easier as they had references of uniform standards and practices. Today, with parents raising children in multiple value-based environments; it is making things difficult for children to conform to a particular lifestyle or habit.”

Psychiatrist Dr. Yesheswini Kamaraju says, “Children today are exposed to a great deal more of technology. Parents need to be in tune with this as well. Unlike the earlier authoritative style, today the focus is on communication, regardless of the age of the child. Parents, can go by inherent parenting rules unless an issue comes up where a reference is required and there are enough available.” Parenting has undergone tremendous changes. But change is about progress and the sooner one adapts to the changes, the better it is for all concerned.