One question that I often find recurring in every parent’s mind is “What is my child going to become when he grows up?” I often find parents discussing this as early as elementary school, or perhaps even earlier. And the second in continuation is usually “What should be the best university my child needs to aspire for?” The list doesn’t end here, and soon enough, the next dilemma strikes in “What is the ‘extent’ to which I need to schedule my child’s life so that he/ she is not left behind?” This usually puts every parent on an overdrive to plan and control every minute of their child. Even if one gets labelled as pushy or demanding parents, the frenzy of micro managing the child as the biggest project of one’s life, fuels a rat race. Parents compete with each other, and striking the right balance seems quite challenging.
As adults we often find ourselves apprehensive about giving autonomy to children. On a daily basis we try to control or make choices for our children. If we introspect, we could perhaps attribute this control to one or more of the following beliefs playing out within us. (Perhaps you could add a few more)
- Our own fear of failure, which might be stored within, due to our childhood experiences. This plays out strongly within us, wanting to take control over our child’s actions and choices so that he doesn’t falter or make mistakes.
- Our inability to let go of the parental control, because it might be directly feeding our personal inner power. We usually feel powerful when we find ourselves controlling another life. When that control is taken away from us, we start feeling a sense of powerlessness within.
- Our inability to allow children to take charge of their own lives because as parents, we carry a belief that children are not matured enough to decide for themselves.
- Our expectations from the child to fulfil our dreams and aspirations instead of the child’s own.
Parental beliefs have far reaching consequences on the behaviour, beliefs and responses of the child, which usually get reflected in his/ her adulthood. A child grown up under constant parental control usually finds it difficult to function independently and grows up becoming a fearful, stressed and worried adult. The biggest dilemma of parenting is how to strike a balance between stimulation and non stimulation. Moreover, parents never get to know the immediate impact of their beliefs and actions on the child’s development till a substantial amount of time has lapsed.
Corona has perhaps entered into our lives to push us to pause and do a reality check in many aspects, parenting being one of them. Under a lockdown, when we are spending a lot of time together as a family, it may not be a bad idea to spare some time and introspect what do we really want for our children. Today, I see the entire teaching fraternity trying to do satellite curricular teaching, scheduling each and every hour of a child’s day at home, lest they be left behind in the race to ace. How far is it correct to make children sit in front of a screen and watch a virtual world while the real world around him is so lucid and colourful? I am in no way advocating that children should not be engaged.
Honestly, I feel parents need to follow a structured routine, but get their children off the screens allowing them that ME time to explore, dream and spend time with themselves. This might be the golden opportunity when children can just Be and develop that bond with themselves through play and exploration. This would hugely foster mindfulness and increase their focus and concentration.
In the absence of a virtual teacher, parents can take over the task of teaching while they cook, play or read to their children with that unconditional love of a parent, which no one else can give. Why can’t we allow children to learn by experiencing their home environment instead of sitting in front of a virtual world? For once, can we give them the freedom to play, experience and explore the world around them, with love and care? There is enough in our home corners to make children learn, if we only allow them to explore.
These are unprecedented times which can help in creating inner shifts for personal growth. As a family we may not get this sort of free time ever again. Children may not be able to enjoy the luxury of free time of this magnitude. In my opinion, we should utilise this time to learn and grow together as a family, enjoy, spread love and make memories at home. This is the time when we can teach our children values and life skills, nourish and connect with their inner joy and wonder, while they learn to navigate their life through uncertainties. History will thank Corona for many things in retrospect.
How fair is this sort of machine oriented robotic studying on our children? To me it appears more like a baby sitter, being extensively used for gathering information. As a human race, we need to assess what we are trying to achieve in life, and also the real meaning of educating our children. We need to reinvent lives and reorient our expectations as teachers and parents.
Are we focusing on educating human resource and nurturing a life, or creating an automated robot, operating on an IPO ( Input- Processing-Output) cycle?
We surely need to introspect. However, what we choose is always on us!..