Parents can never ever correctly know when to let the child go on their own. Children then start extracting the price for fulfilling the expectations of their parents

Parenting, especially during these days, is an enigma, to say the least. Our life suggests there is more to parenting than meets the eye. It is adapting to new situations and challenges. Today's rules are tomorrow's exceptions (the rules are drafted and changed by siblings!!) and our inadequacies stand exposed.

The root cause of all the complications is set in the early stages of childhood. Many of us parents feel that children cannot think and that we should think for them.

The reason, obviously, is that they are too small to think. Rightly so, and we decide, what the child should eat, which is the right time to start the solids, what colours would look good to children, which school is the best, which school bag the child should carry, et al. Little do we know that we are tuning the child to think more like one of us, than anything else. As the children grow older, seldom do we realise that their mind also grows.

They see, feel and enjoy the things that we would have otherwise forbidden them to do. They enjoy our directions, but are prepared to deviate a little bit. This adventure, the inquisitiveness is what pundits call ‘creativity of children'. Our presence is a great support for them, but they can survive a few hours without us too. Since we are more emotionally attached, we cannot let them go.

This is where the conflicts start. And we parents fail the first test from the point of view of the child. We are dumb and we actually start showing that we are dumb to the children also with our actions. We refuse to listen to the little things they want to share with us, the little things they want to possess and small happiness of giving significance to their life away from us. By this time we have decided what curricular activities the children should take up, what tuitions would be needed so that the child would ‘come up in life' and which is the best school in the neighbourhood.

The pressures on children are relentless and they start to play along with us. They also love us a lot since we are everything to them, and they can feel the disappointment in us when we are disappointed. The pressure increases manifold. Then there are parents, knowingly or unknowingly, who put the additional tensions by way of reality shows.

Creative talents must be nurtured, but the talent will, in no way be less if a few less smses are polled and the child is out of the reality show. It is not the exams in the 10th standard that is creating pressure on children as contended by some. It is the exams from the kindergarten, the quarterlies, the half-yearlies, the annuals, and the expectations from these exams along with the fear of failure to live up to the expectations of the parents that is burdening the children.

The quid-pro-quo stage starts from here. This is the last straw in any parent-child relationship. The reward-for-what-I-ask-you-to-do puts a different dimension in the mind of children. They know that, the best way to get your things done is to do the things their way. Then the children start extracting the price for fulfilling the expectations. Inadvertently, we have also played all along and there is no way you can leave the ring, without taking a few hits.

The problem in parenting is that parents can never ever correctly know when to let the child go on their own. Those of us who can crack the code may have a better emotional relationship with children and, to a certain extent, succeeded in parenting. It is not what children do in our presence that matters, but what they do in our absence. The best and perhaps the only way to know that is, to keep the communication channel open with them.

If we do that, why should children spend more time on mobiles, more time on social networking sites, more time on computer games and more importantly, more time away from us.

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