If you are a parent reading this, remember how easy the world was when we were kids? We could ride bikes in the neighborhood unsupervised, we could climb trees, we could play the whole day without a care in the world; we could be kids. But today’s world is different and these are tough times for kids. There’s too much of pressure on kids, performance pressure, peer pressure, harassment & bullying, cyber bullying, drugs, fear, social media compulsion, and so much more. It’s actually painful to see little children suffer from acute stress, depression, anxiety and severe emotional and psychological problems.
That said, there’s a whole different world on the other end of the spectrum. There’s so much to do, so many career options to choose from, and so much of information available that kids can actually choose to live their passion.
Those are two ends, far apart. Average kid is usually somewhere in the center, drifting from one end to the other and back. Parents get anxious when they see their child on either edge, and rightly so. If the kid is too sensitive or anxious, there are chances of the psychological or emotional condition affecting the overallpersonality of the child, and on the other end, if the child is too blithe, chances are she might get too carefree to get a real career that can financially support her in living a fulfilling life.
The situation is real complicated and parents’ anxiety is justified as well, but the way most parents try and deal with it, isn’t. Most parents feel that to discipline their child or to make their kid care, they need to compel or constraint the kid. But actually, that does quite the opposite.
Kids cannot be coerced to care or become carefree for that matter. Instead of trying to get into your child’s shoes and trying to see things from their perspective (because in reality that hardly happens), it is essential that you clearly demark your child’s life from your own. You need to clearly define what are your child’s goals (and not your goals) and what are your child’s responsibilities (and what are yours). This will sort a lot of confusion for both you and your child.
Some parents feel morally obligated to advise their children. Parents should instead talk to kids rather than lecturing them because that is mostly where they lose them. If you want your child to be friendly and reasonable with you, you’ll have to be the same too. Talk, listen, laugh, share some real moments with your kid and it’ll change the relation the two of you have.
Lastly, but most importantly, if you want your child to act in a certain way, set the right example. Be inspiring and influencing for the right things. Most of the times we ignore our behavior and try and correct the same things in our children. We don’t realize where they are coming from.
Here are some important questions you need to ask yourself (and the answer lies in the questions only):
- When you are anxious or stressed about something your child has done wrong or differently as you thought she should have, how do you react? Do you nag, compel, push, punish or yell at the child?
- When your child is not doing something you want her to, what do you do? Do you cajole, insist, beg, bribe, yell, threaten to punish, motivate or give up on the kid?
- Do you have loud discussions with your spouse in front of the kid regarding the way the kid is growing up or regarding her flaws? Is the kid often the topic of the fights?