Parenting is an art and skill which needs to be mastered. All of us, as parents have our innate skills, however, with the passage of time, we realize that there are certain skills that need to be mastered and certain that need to go. It’s not just the kids who need to adapt as they grow, it’s also the parents who have to do the jobs of parenting in a very subtle way without rankling today’s kids.
Here are some trends which need to be followed:
It’s all about listening not talking. Communication plays a very important role. Communication is only 7% verbal and 93% nonverbal, which actually means body language plays a very important role. Most of us hear but we don’t listen. Listening involves body language and paraphrasing, which helps the child to feel acknowledged and loved. Remember just talking as a parent doesn’t work. Nobody just wants to listen. Today’s kids have their own minds and they want to be heard and nurtured as well.
Connect more in real-time than virtual. This has become very important in today’s world. A real-life connection can be done in multiple ways and family meals play an important part. That’s the time, you can communicate with your child, without feeling threatened. It is also the time when you talk about friends, activities, passions and hobbies and not about the report card. Your child can also help you in the kitchen and learn how to read food labels. Outdoor sports help to bond with kids and improve the physical health of both parents and children. Connect with them via hobbies, watching films, discussions on current events and many more.
Gender neutrality. In today’s time, girls walk the same road as boys and as parents, you need to give them that opportunity to grow and develop. There is no career only meant for boys or only meant for girls. Boys can learn activities which were hitherto meant only for girls and vice versa.
Giving space to your kids is important. Do not crowd them by always being around them. Give them space to grow and feel nurtured but not overwhelmed. Letting them grow in an environment which gives them the space to experience and make their own mistakes and learn from them is more important than telling them what to do.
Giving value to experiencing situations than gifts. Experiencing real-life situations is important so that one can learn the necessary life skills. This allows the child to grow and take responsibility in life, be more aware, and develop more adaptation skills in life. Giving gifts is good and has to be done on important occasions but restricting the child from experiencing situations will not help them to develop life skills which are necessary to exist in today’s world.
Now, here are some trends which need to let go:
Helicopter moms – This definition came up because mothers just could not let go of their children and continuous vigilance on the child actually makes the child insecure and self-esteem and self-confidence suffers.
Lining up multiple activities during the day or over-packed schedules may sound interesting to parents but is actually very tedious and boring to the child. Instead of that allow the child to do activities which they enjoy, not what you have lined up for them and thought were awesome. We all want our children to excel in everything but it is not practical and actually tires out the child physically, emotionally and mentally.
Social media parenting was very popular where many parents shared notes on social media and parents learnt from one another. However, this sort of parenting is not advised as some children may not be interested to do some activities while others may be. The aptitudes of children may be different. In such a situation, it can cause undue stress and trauma to kids on account of parents comparing notes on social media.
Bad competitive energy never works. Comparing your child with another child is the most deleterious effect you can implement on your child. It traumatizes the child, destroys self-esteem, and self-confidence and overall creates stress for the child.
Sticking to the child and not giving them space to communicate and have fun with friends. Many parents find it exceedingly difficult to let go of their children and try to micromanage their lives, even to the extent of controlling their friendships. This creates mental trauma and a sense of worthlessness in the child as the child feels incapable of doing anything including finding their own friends. It handicaps the child completely.
Dr Paula Goel is paediatrician & adolescent specialist, Fayth Clinic