The Crisis called “Over parenting”
“The way we treat our children directly impacts what they believe about themselves.”
– Ariadne Brill, Parenting Educator
According to the Cambridge Dictionary, “Over parenting” is defined as an act of excessive involvement by parents in the lives of their children, so that they try to help with or control everything that happens to the child. As parents everyone have an innate impulse to ensure the child’s comfort and prosperity. But unfortunately, it often results in overindulgence in the child’s life. There is a strong distinction between being a proactive parent and being an overly involved parent. Parents, in trying to be supportive and protective they end up micro-managing the kid’s actions.
Indeed, it is very important for a parent to build a close emotional bond with the kid. Like the British writer CS Lewis said “Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work”. Parents will have to spend more time with their kids, help them take decisions, be supportive during hard times and guide them through morals and values. But the problem arises when they overdo their role and completely refute the child’s agency and capability to do things and take decisions.
Perhaps experiences of growing up through hard times, make parents develop their own ideas of how they want to raise their children. They either impose their aspirations on their kids or are just over-protective and overly-involved over their child’s actions. It is a very natural desire of every parent wanting their child to be safe and prosperous in all the facets of his/her life. So, they ensure that they provide the child everything as best as they can and be cautious that he/she stays away from any harm. Apparently, this nature to over-parent stems from a certain anxiety of the parent which makes them intolerant of not being able to witness the child fail or get hurt.
The major harm of over parenting is hurting the child’s confidence to perceive his/her ability to do things. While teaching the kid to ride a bicycle, to cross a road, to buy groceries, to pay bills, to choose cloths, to identify skills, to build a science project etc. is the responsibility of a parent, over indulging in every move of the kid would rather break his/her confidence making them feel that they aren’t competent enough to do these things. For instance, a parent choosing to escort the kid daily when he/she is riding a bicycle is actually an act of undermining to kid’s capability to ride safely and independently. While helping the kid make right decisions is the responsibility of the parent, they should also make sure that the kid reaches his/her fullest potential by exploring new ideas, ways and opportunities. This is not possible by undermining the kid’s confidence and capability to make wise decisions independently.
Being overprotective might help the kid stay away from harm and prevent him/her from committing any mistake. But failure teaches them a lot as on how to do things better and act wiser from the experiences gained. This also refrains the child from facing the consequences of his/her own behavior. At times letting a child commit mistakes, fail and get hurt, is way to help him/her grow more productively as an adult.
This digital world has taught our kids how to aspire to be free. This aspiration might not always be a wrong thing, as long as it is being monitored by the parents. Kids do deserve to be treated with respect considering their individual potential by parents and others. For a child to confidently act and independently move ahead, parents are expected to provide them their love, support and guidance. Happy Parenting!Read More
It’s high time to break stereotypes!
“I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved.”
-Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
Gender Sensitized Homes
“Eat like a man”
“Don’t weep like a girl”, “You are a boy, how come you like pink”
Don’t jump around, behave like a girl”
If you, as a parent have ever used such phrases to address your kids, or have ever heard anyone else comment but you have chosen to ignore, then here are the two mantras: Gender Sensitization has to begin with home; It takes a sensitized parent to raise a sensitized kid. Yes, we have come a long way. Role and Position of a girl child are no more subordinated to that of the other gender. Nevertheless, patriarchy being the societal norm, one will have to pay heed to the nuanced ways of gender discrimination existing in our society in general and in our households in specific. While gender violence has hit alarming levels, it becomes crucial to create ideal gender sensitized homes and there lies your responsibility as a parent.
What is Gender Sensitization?
Gender sensitization is a process or a set of efforts taken to examine and change behavior, attitude and beliefs that we hold about our own and the other gender. It is about understanding gender relations and promoting gender equality in society.
An ideal home is the one which comprises both male and female members of equal value without either of their roles being devalued. Gender bias exists at all levels but at the least we must begin sensitization in our homes, for there can be no ideal place for moral education than our homes.
It’s high time to break stereotypes!
Gender sensitization can begin with assigning the same roles and responsibilities to both your son and daughter. Let them both divide works in the kitchen; let them both go shopping together; let them both help with sorting out the monthly budget.
Parents should also encourage their kids to break stereotypes that enforce norms against their desire. Let the son play with dolls if he likes; let the daughter choose drums over violin as per her passion. You should educate your kids to question these kinds of forced stereotypes and train them to be able to take uncompromised decisions as per their skills and interests.
Are you the role model?
While talking about assigning equal roles to your kids, it is equally important for parents to share works as well, to take decisions mutually and to treat each other with respect.
It is very important that you constantly bring debates and discussions in your home on gender equality. There might also be instances when your kids end up educating you on several aspects which you might not be aware of.
As a parent, you will also have to be very conscious of not setting up a wrong example by passing off sexist jokes/comments, subordinating your partner or exhibiting partial preference on one kid over the other.
Yes, we as a human race are divided. But these natural differences can’t be taken for granted to perpetuate discrimination in a civilized society. Then we as a society are failing. And you, as a parent in bringing up a responsible citizen, are failing as well. Imbibe equality as your core principle so will your kid.Read More
Who requires discipline? You or your child?
Kids are like a mirror, what they see and hear they do. Be a good reflection for them.
– K. Heath
“You are your child’s role model”
“My dad is my first hero”
“I am, because my mom was…”
Do these phrases make you feel proud? Yes, but then you should also remind yourself that along with pride comes accountability and responsibility. It is appreciable that you have inspired your kid to thank and greet others, to follow table manners and traffic rules and to be considerate about your neighbors. On the other hand, there are also chances that you could have inspired your kid in a rather unfortunate way, your son/daughter is imitating your aggression, the words you spilled the day before is still lingering in your kid’s mind and the kid is mastering the art of procrastination by following you.
Parents greatly influence their children’s behavior. Children often absorb and imitate the parents’ way of doing things. The influence, apparently, can be both beneficial and detrimental to the child’s behavior. Nevertheless, it is important that parents set the right examples for their children.
This way of imitation is very innate to every kid though which he/she socializes. When you teach your kid how to eat properly or greet the guests, the kid is being socialized. Socialization is a learning process by which a kid molds itself to become a responsible participant in the family/classroom/society. Though socialization is a lifelong process, primary socialization is a very important phase when the idea of acceptance and learning is established within the kid’s notion. Only during this phase, with the influence of immediate family and friends, the kid learns the attitudes, values, and actions which he/she is made to believe to be more appropriate. For example, if the mother treats her maid in a disrespectful way, then the kid might also think that this behavior is acceptable and adopts the same.
The interesting, at the same time the tricky part about the way you as a parent influence your kid is, the kid is imitating you even beyond your imagination, in the most intricate ways. There are huge possibilities that the kid has even noted the way you smile and greet the food delivery person, that he/she firmly believes that such service providers too shall be treated with dignity and respect. On the other hand, when you have once in a while chosen to park your vehicle in an inappropriate place, the kid starts thinking that it is permissible to break the rules once in a while. So apparently, the ultimate accountability and responsibility for the trajectory of your child’s attitude and behavior is yours.
At times of frustration or anger, when a 5-year-old child uses a swear word, it is most likely that it is just mimicking the parent. So can the kid be blamed, disciplined and punished? Or is it the parent who require to be disciplined? Like mentioned before, it is important for parents to be a good role model. It is during this phase when the parents should start identifying and negotiating on negative behaviors that they have internalized and keep a constant check on the same. Practically speaking, it is not very feasible to create an ideal household. For instance, a small scuffle between the mother and the father is unavoidable. At such times it is advisable to distract the kid from the scene preventing him/her from imitating.
But most of the times kids do take time to observe before they attempt something. As a rational parent it is also essential to mold the kid in such a way that the kid develops this rationality to analyze and categorize good/bad behavior before imitating. It also helps when the kid steps outside home and starts adopting secondary socialization which involves influence of the peer groups, popular culture etc.Read More
Motivating Children Effectively
“Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! With a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you can be successful and happy.”
“In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can.”
“Motivate yourself. Or feel helpless. Whatever has to be done, it’s always your choice.”
The notion of giving motivation to the students has become widespread, especially for those preparing for competitive exams. We enter any institution, and we notice such motivational quotes creatively sprawled across the walls of corridors, classrooms, dining areas, and dormitories. They are colorful, inspirational and a treat to the eye. There are motivational speakers who address large audience of students, instilling positivity through stories and discussions. There are numerous inspirational videos and seminars online for students to access. While interacting with students from different coaching institutes regrading motivational speeches and the quotes around them, most mentioned that these seem like more like a formality, and that it perhaps merely solves the purpose of creating an image to the society. The effect it has on students is temporary, was what some of them reported. They felt like it was helpful but only for a short period of time and requested for such talks at least twice a week. Some referred to it as an overdose of motivation.
Parents, on the other hand, feel stumped when it comes to motivating their children. They provide the best of resources for their child and that they are constantly encouraging them to perform the best they can and yet they feel like their child isn’t motivated enough. Some parents have shared feeling fearful of getting upset with their son/daughter for less marks as it may demotivate their child in the process. In such a scenario, how could they motivate their child successfully, was the million-dollar question raised by all parents and staff.
When interacting with students about what motivates them, they too were unclear. Most shared that they face trouble initiating a task and expressed that they aren’t motivated enough to start on an assignment or a subject. The common reasons stated were lack of interest or that don’t see the purpose to the assignment itself. It is here that parents feel stuck as they then begin to wonder how they could build interest or offer purpose to, for instance, learning derivates or trigonometry.
To motivate anyone for anything stems from a need. To illustrate this in an example: when we feel thirsty in the middle of the night, we need to quench our thirst with water. This need will motivate us to get out of bed, walk till the kitchen and pour ourselves a glass of water. We can also choose to remain thirsty, but that could disturb our sleep. Hence, it is a choice that we make for ourselves. The difficulty we face in getting up from bed in the middle of the night and walking across to the kitchen for water is bearable compared to the difficulty we face trying to sleep with a dry mouth. The same can be applied to studying. The challenge we face while we study is that we may not understand few concepts, and we may fly past some chapters, but at the end, we have managed to complete studying a whole subject. What if we choose not to start studying at all? What could be the consequences of both choices, is what students should be helped to understand. This will assist in giving them a purpose to what they are doing.
Another reason for a student to feel demotivated could be fear of failure. Some students fear that when they start studying, they will realize at what level they are at, which can be extremely scary for them. This also comes in due to the pressure they place on themselves to perform better. Few students feel guilty about having their parents spend on their education and tend to have unrealistic expectations from themselves. When they see that they can’t match these expectations, they develop a fear towards exams. If you see your child exhibiting this fear, help him/her understand that as a parent you end goal for them is to be happy. Such students need to be constantly reminded of their strengths, so that it builds their confidence.
There are students who may be experiencing some social-emotional concerns, stemming from home, friends or their self, which causes them to lose their focus and the will to study. Once the issue has surfaced, they can be helped to come out of those concerns and re-focus on their academics. The key is to talk to your child often and understand from him/her their concerns with an open mind.
Motivation is more than quotes, inspirational stories and anecdotes. We can successfully motivate students by understanding the reason behind them being demotivated. For institutions, with the volume of students they work with, the motivation that they can provide is generic and applies to all. However, as parents, you understand your child better than anyone, use this knowledge in motivating your child to perform to the best of their ability.
Drishti GoenkaRead More
Reading, a way of life: Instilling Reading habit in your Children
“To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark.”
-Victor Hugo, French Writer
Reading is a very essential habit, culture and a way of life that every parent must cultivate in their children. “Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body” is a famous quote of the English playwright Joseph Addison. Reading not only refreshes mind and keeps it active but also helps the children see a new world, sharpens their insights about things around and nurtures curiosity to keep them learning and growing. Whatever their age might be, whatever their personal interests/skills might be, instilling the “love for reading” in them is an important responsibility of a parent.
This article does not intend to say that kids these days do not learn. They in fact learn more since technology is accessible. “But do their reading pattern show a change?” is an important question to ponder upon. Do they really need to make reading as a habit? If then how are we as parents going to deal with it?
While Social media has become the primary source of information for the new age kids, it has really widened their spectrum of knowledge. Without denying the significance of this process of modern knowledge accumulation, one will also have to look at the negative sides of it to understand how it has deviated from the traditional system of learning. As we all know how information is capsuled in the form of tidbits and served in the social media, kids are accustomed to knowing things in a superficial way which in turn affects their critical thinking and analysis skills. They grow up being anxious and restless making them devoid of a consistent research behavior. When they are made to believe that information is just a “finger-tap” away, their perseverance and curiosity to build knowledge fades away.
On the other hand, when reading (other than what he/she browses or skims through online) becomes a habit, it will have a vital effect on the child’s behavior. Reading develops the child’s mind and its ability to imagine/create. It instils curiosity in young minds. When we are into a book, we are made to imagine the characters, locality, the underlying meanings of phrases. We step into the shoes of the author, or often critically evaluate what the author might have meant. While reading being a process, there are several ways one would adopt it based on our innate skills and interests. Since reading helps children understand on what someone else is communicating, they also eventually become good listeners, which most of the kids these days find difficult to. Reading enhances their sense of empathy towards others around. When reading becomes a consistent habit, the child’s concentration power is enhanced as well. The child becomes aware that knowledge accumulation and production is more than mere information gathering and it requires more commitment and effort.
Hence, the significance of reading should be emphasized by parents. And there are some interesting tips to make reading a fun activity in households. :
- Understand your kid’s interests, skills and make a list of appropriate books.
- Make a list each month and ensure that at least 20 pages are read per day.
- Reading together makes the activity much more interesting. Read along with the family. Make a specific reading time. It also helps you all bond together.
- Enroll your kid in a local library or a book club. Book clubs can be formed with the kid’s friends in the neighborhood. That helps them all build a sense of community as well.
- Spend money on books and tools that aid reading: Tablets, eBook readers, Journals, Mobile apps etc.
- Be a role model yourself. Read regularly. Inspire your kid on what reading actually means and the pleasure it can provide.
Make sure your child is ready for it : Crisis management
Do not try to protect your child against every small blow and disappointment. Adversity strengthens character and makes us compassionate. Trouble is the great equalizer. Let him learn it.”
-Ann Landers, Columnist
What is a crisis?
Merriam Webster Dictionary defines CRISIS as “an unstable or crucial time in which a decisive change is impending” or “a situation that has reached a critical phase”. Every person goes through such moment of crisis, not just adults but kids too. A crisis moment for a kid can be anything ranging from losing a dear one to not being able to recollect an answer during exam. Often adults tend to look down and ignore such crises since the kids lack the language to express the magnanimity of the moment.
The term “crucial time” is used to signify such moments because, the individual is often unprepared to cope up with the situation and also is expected to be strong willed at the moment. Consequently, they feel that the situation is out of control and end up panicked, confused and hopeless. For instance, if a kid is unable to solve a single math problem in an exam, he/she ends up giving up the whole question paper.
Hence, crisis management is a very essential skill that should be nurtured among young ones. It will not only help them in their young phase but will be carried throughout their life.
Knowing their fears
As a parent, one should be well aware of when and where a child can go through such crises. Or in other words, how a child reacts to different situations. A child may be completely equipped to face a particular situation but might break down in another. A parent should know the kid’s strengths and weaknesses in order to prepare him/her emotionally during crucial moments. Parents should be vigilant as well as empathize with their kids to comprehend their emotional statuses.
Exposure to crises
Over-parenting or over-protecting often tends to make the child emotionally fragile and unprepared to confront moments of crisis. Learning is subjective where a child develops his/her own mechanisms to handle an issue based on what he/she has faced before. As a parent, it is obvious that we become more cautious in preventing our kid from getting hurt or facing a failure. But we should also be reminded of the fact that we are concealing a larger, hard and a competitive world from our kid which he/she might be compelled to face in while.
Learning from crises
As mentioned above learning through experiences is how a child becomes equipped to face critical situations. The child must be encouraged to write down the issues or situations he/she has faced and what has been done at those moments. This is one important and easy way for the kid to express his/her feelings. Or the child can also be encouraged to share orally. And you as a parent, can intervene and share your ideas or similar experiences. Finding solutions to problems together also helps in building a good relationship with your young ones.
The reality is, there is always a limit to what a child can do during crucial situations. Hence, parents should be empathetic to their kids especially during such times. Being harsh would only undermine their confidence in facing difficult moments. Here, building trust is the key. If a kid knows that there is someone who can control a situation which they couldn’t, they naturally wouldn’t break down. And also, they wouldn’t end up taking irrational decisions that might harm them more.
As a parent you should firstly, make the child feel safe and assured of the fact that they can expect any kind of support from you at bad times. Next, you should respect their feelings even if it seems to be absurd from an adult’s standpoint. And most essentially, you should comprehend the different phases of your child and prepare them accordingly, to face and fight crisis.Read More
Parental Tips in Fostering Positive Body Image
Body image is not a new concept in today’s generation. With the world becoming more digitalised, issues related to the appearance have become everyday affairs. Lots of people, especially adolescents and young adults, are unhappy with the way they look.
But before we dive deeper into this issue, it is crucial to understand the exact meaning of body image.
What is Body Image?
Body image is the perception you hold regarding your appearance. It is primarily based on how you look at yourself and how you perceive others look at you. Positive as well as negative experiences in the past have a significant role in developing your body image. Having a healthy body image correlates to high self-esteem, and vice versa.
What Can Parents Do?
As our experiences throughout the growing years play a significant role in shaping our perceptions, parents can have a tremendous role in fostering as well as maintaining a positive body image among adolescents. Some of the tips that could be very useful throughout the growing years include –
• Referring to your child in positive terms – Rather than focusing on the negative traits, compliment them. Make sure that you provide constructive criticism if you wish to discourage certain behaviours. Keep minimal rooms for negativity in casual conversations with your child.
• Focusing on personal efforts and qualities that do not have anything to do with appearance – Every child possesses a passion, a gift, or love for something. Encourage him/her to pursue that interest, instead of fixating on the appearance. When your child does what he/she loves, it naturally helps in nurturing a sense of self and positive self-image based on the values that are far much deeper than the appearance.
• Making your child understand the psychology of advertising – Today’s digital world is filled with advertisements that target the weakness of individuals to sell a variety of products. Adolescents can be easy preys to these advertisements. Explaining how advertisers target their clients can make children see the whole picture. They are less likely to think that they need to compensate their insecurities by buying products.
• Being aware of what you say to girls v/s boys – Many times we raise our children with gender stereotypes where we encourage boys to be “bold” and “strong” while asking girls to be “gentle” and “beautiful”. Make sure that you are no way pressuring your kid to conform to the extreme standards of body ideals.
• Sharing your own experiences – When you share your insecurities and vulnerabilities to your kid, he/she will feel that is it normal to feel that way. So talk about the issues you faced in the past and the different ways you dealt with them. It will hold immense value in your child’s life.
• Checking in Frequently – Talk to your child about the qualities they like about themselves. When you notice signs of dissatisfaction in your child, do not ignore them. They can be signals of even bigger concerns. Try to create a safe space where your child can talk to you about these concerns.
It is crucial to maintain a free-flowing dialogue with your child every now and then regarding body image and self-esteem. You can also turn to other parents for advice if you are having difficulty communicating with your kid. If need be, get in touch with a therapist or counsellor to get professional help for evaluating your child’s mental and physical well-being.
You can also ask your child to call the DISHA helpline in case of any distress – 18004191828.