Parenting today in India
Recently I have been reading a lot about school children committing suicide and other criminal activities. The latest one was quite a shock, murdering a teacher! Everyone terms the reason as 'Pressure' from the educational system. I question if that is the only reason?
How about the other half of the day the child spends apart from school? What is the role of parents in growing the child?
When I think about my school days, I remember the time I spent with my mother and father discussing about many many things. I had the right and freedom to talk and express my feelings.
How many parents spend solid time with children, nowadays, to discuss about their childhood, their experiences in life and narrate stories that teach kids our culture and ethics? With nuclear families on a high trend, kids do not have anyone at home when they come back from school, with both mother and father working.
Can money be a substitute to the quality time, the parents spend with the children? Parents also have this misconception about what being friendly is, with the children, is it giving unusual amount of freedom to children or is it about being a real friend, to be there, when the child actually needs their presence?
Only when parents have habits like reading quality books, watching informative things, will the kids develop the same habit. Mothers nowadays do not have patience to deal with babies and make them watch TV so that they just do not have to put up with them. How many mothers know how to engage a baby in a productive way? The kid channels nowadays show a lot of crap, including the cartoons, the language they pick up from these cartoons, the violence, what not!
Again, unable to put up with the toddler at home, parents send them to schools at the age of 2 itself and expose them to the competitive world when they are not actually ready for it.
Also, the selection of schools plays a major criterion here. Put them in a school that is way above your class, so that they get exposed to a different culture, which in turn is just a status symbol for the parents! Earlier, what you own was seen as a status symbol, whereas now, even your child's education is a status symbol!
What they actually learn in the school is the art of how to get marks and how to make money, apart from other not-so-required things! Yes, I do accept the world is moving at a great speed, but it is not necessary that you should run along! Wanting your toddler to run at that speed is highly ridiculous - swimming class for 3 year old, music class for 2 year old who has just started talking, tennis class for 5 year old and the list is endless!
Instead of loading them with entertainment in different forms, how about spending quality time like reading books together, playing board games as a family instead of PS3 or any other digital version, narrate stories from Indian history that make them think and get a grip on the culture, have dinner together etc.
Parents have the responsibility to make their kids responsible citizens of the country imbibing the history, culture, ethics and integrity of the country. Refining the educational system is way beyond our limits, when great people like Rajaji could not do it, but, reducing the pressure imposed on children by the system can definitely be done by parents.
Making them understand that marks and money are not everything, by living by it is the first and foremost step that should be taken by parents. As the old saying goes, Actions speak louder than Words!
* RAJAJI - Former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu (a state in South India)