The parent trap

Bringing up children The right way

Bringing up children The right way  

Is it techniques or natural instincts that make parenting effective? Maybe, a bit of both

Every day, newspapers bring with them news of whiz kids who have been ostensibly coached by their parents or a super-speciality academy and awakened their genius.

So, what happens to those kids who are merely normal, and behave their age? And more importantly, what about their parents who, racked by guilt are eventually driven to the nearest whiz school to coach their wards into becoming geniuses too? Or, they have also taken to attending parenting workshops?

Changing order?

Is good ole parenting out, and has it been replaced by techniques and statistics?

Probably, says Maitreyi, grandmother of a seven-year-old. “All we did was follow what we saw our elders do. An occasional spanking was okay. But no, we never pushed the child from class to class,” she says, wondering why her granddaughter is being forced to attend a different class every day of the week.

But, it is not just about parents. “It is the system that tends to make them push kids harder,” says Purni Krishnakumar, consultant special educationist, and adds, “Twenty years ago, 60 per cent marks was considered good. Not any more.”

Swaminathan K., Managing Director and CEO, Aspire Superkidz, says parenting workshops are a direct result of the burgeoning nuclear families.

“People don’t know what parenting is all about anymore. The inputs of grandparents are important for bringing up a child. However, parents now tend to outsource everything, including day care, even if they are not working. They should understand that parenting is all about emotional bonding. Any problems there result in tantrums and other problems,” he explains.

The parenting workshops, he says are like corporate training sessions.

“It is wonderful as long as it lasts. But, you have to put it into practice,” he says. Swaminathan says the way out is to go back to the old way. It is to take care of such issues that Divyam Academy of Values recently launched a parents association.

The association is spearheaded by Chitra, a home-schooling mom, and it believes that there is more to childhood than preparing kids for a successful career.

Shobana Kumar, professor and mother of two, and a member of the association, says parenting has changed because society has changed too.

Protecting children

“It is no longer possible to just follow your natural instincts. The world around is not the same. So, we have a responsibility to protect children from such influences.”

Also, says Purni, parenting is not as instinctive as we would like to believe it is. A lot of it is learnt.

“This generation of parents is fear-driven. They are worried about the kids’ future. But, always remember that we should know what cost we are paying for such desires. Discipline and work are essential, but don’t overdo it so much that the fun goes out of childhood.”

The bottom line?

“Parents should enjoy their children. That is why we had them, no?” asks Purni.


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