Monday, October 7, 2013

“We are with you child, come what may!”

लालयेत् पञ्च वर्षाणि दश वर्षाणि ताडयेत् |
प्राप्ते तु षोडशे वर्षे पुत्रे मित्रवदाचरेत् ||

This is a Sanskrit shloka that guides us (parents) on how to behave with our children. It says, till our baby completes 5 years, we should pamper him / her, from five to ten years, we should teach him what’s right and what’s wrong by even scolding (actual meaning in the shloka is beating, as apt to the ancient ages perhaps) but when he or she attains sixteen years, we should treat them as friends!

Well, all the three stages are important in life, if the parent knows how to balance them wisely. Today we see parents that are either unduly friendly with their children since beginning or the ones that bombard their children with all the stress they have during the day! Worse still, parents try to compensate their absent hours by overtly granting all the kids’ whims and desires. The end result? Either the child is cranky whining all the while for some or the other possession or the child sets himself aloof and rarely interacts with the parents informally! I know that both these situations are extremes and many of us enjoy midway between the two but considering the large number of suicide attempts / depression / behavioral disorders in children, I suppose it is time for us to re-consider our priorities, our attitudes and our level of maturity (that we should attain on becoming parents)!

The news of post-exam result suicides rings alarm bells in our mind but rarely we seem to hold on to the positive thought of healthy behavior with our child. It slips our mind when the daily chores fight for their attendance on our body, mind and psyche. But it’s never late to correlate our own thoughts, to communicate with our spouse about our mutual discords, and to treat children without ever ‘taking for granted’ their existence in our life.

Recently I heard from very mature parents a trick that they have been following since the birth of their children. It’s “Avoiding any sort of fight, bad wording and most importantly back-talking about others” in front of their children. You might say, what’s new in this? But this couple followed this very principle without fail and the joy of this achievement was strikingly visible in the happy faces of their children! Such a beautiful family to be around!

As they are our close friends, I happened to ask them- “Besides the thing that you told me, is there anything else that keeps the child secure and happy?” The answer was quick from the mother. She said, “we keep telling our children that we are with them, come what may!” This may sound weird to the parents who always keep on counting the wrong-doings of their kids. But this sole thing can trigger a huge amount of confidence in the kids’ mind and assure them that they are NEVER alone! Through the failures, instead of blaming the child for bad show, if the parents start assuring them of better show next time and instilling a few words of wisdom playfully, thoughts of suicides and depression can never touch the young minds. Your compassion will guard you and your children through the life unabated.

The art of telling about the wrong doing falls at the next important juncture. “Let them do whatever they want. We are earning enough to fund for their future. We have not much enjoyed these things and so they should!” is one of the worst things to imbibe on the fertile minds of today’s generation. Here we have to be very careful not to hurt their creative instincts while delicately moving them away from unmoral things rampantly found around. Foremost thing to follow is not even utter a word about a wrong-doing in front of even your spouse. If one of the spouses has the art of explaining the truth to the child, he or she should talk to him or her about it in complete privacy. This will inculcate the feeling that you care! Sharp criticisms are a strict no. Listening to their point of view in the first place is imperative and many times this listening acts as a buffer to future discussion on the topic. Throughout the conversation, make your child realize that you are with him or her and have his / her best interest at heart.

It is not at all true that today’s generation has a total lack of respect for elders. It is untrue that they lack compassion. If they are very intelligent and have immediate understanding of the things around, they are sensitive to your thinking too. Just bullying them to understand your point of view is not done. If you seek respect from them, respect them as separate individuals, whatever age group they belong to! And as that wise mother said, “Be with them, come what may!” 

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