As parents in the 21st century, we are dealing with the ‘2-minute noodle generation’ that looks for instant happiness and solutions everywhere. I don’t enjoy reading because I don’t have the patience to reach the last page to know whodunit. When I can Google the last episodes of Master-chef Australia before it is telecast in India to know who won the contest, then why should I wait ? I don’t have to suffer through the commercial breaks when I’m watching cricket because I can switch channels in the meantime and watch something else.
Delaying gratification is a parenting technique of the yester years that has lost coinage today. Parents of today almost never tell their kids that they wouldbuy them the bike or cell phone they yearn for, only if they did well in their exams. Today’s kids are seated firmly on that side of the negotiating table where they cancall all the shots.
Get it for me if you want me to do well, they say.
When Neha’s and Rohit’s parents can buy if for them, aren’t you ashamed that you cannot?
These are statements that they throw at you.
Kids today have their parents by the jugular. Do it or else! What if he does something to himself, is what parents live in constant dread of. Also shocking is, how the word ‘depression’ is used so casually by people of all ages.
“My daughter’s been going through depression for the past few months,” says the mother of a 16 year old. The girl flings the word ‘depression’around every time she feels that there is pressure on her to perform,or if she is feeling neglected.
Do parents of today realize how serious a problem clinical depression actually is?Should it be a term tossed around so flippantly by parents, children and yes, to a great extent even child psychologists?
‘Feeling depressed,’ again is a cue for the parents to give in to every demand of the child.
The question now is, is being happy all the time so important? Should the onus of keeping children happyalways beon the adults and people around them?What happened to the old practice of keeping yourself busy and occupied, to be content. Reading, having a hobby, playing a sport, going for walks… don’t these make people happy anymore?Whatever happened to the good ole’ ice cream treat that the family looked forward to on a good report card day?
Where are we going wrong with kids today? Definitely one of the culprits is what we do with them during this so-called quality time that we spend with the kids. The scenario in modern families is familiar… the mother of a toddler is busy with house work or on the phone with a friend and the baby who is not even big enough to sit on her own, is staring zombie-like at flitting colors on the television screen. A two –year old wants Dad to throw a ball to him and Dad promptly hands over his mobile phone to junior to fiddle around with, to get him off his back. No one invests in bicycles anymore, and family outings usually mean mall-crawling.Gone are the days when families proudly listened to nursery rhymes being belted out non-stop by the pre-schooler. Today it is not uncommon to see him gyrating to Bollywood songswith lewd lyrics which , of course the child does not understand, and the whole family applauding admiringly.
Happiness is equated with gadgets, gizmos, KFCs & burger treats, designer shoes and fancy clothes delivered at the click of a button.
But gadgets become obsolete and designer clothes lose their sheen after a few wears. What then?
Yes, that is when and why ‘depression-on- demand ‘ takes over.
Getting all the things they want,served on a platter is not a good parenting idea. No sir, it is not. Let them slog for it. They will value it more. It is not the end product, it is the process that is very, very important. That will bring them a sense of achievement, the joy of getting there at the end. The thrill of a job well done is a high, that all children have a right to experience.
There is no doubt that the children born today are more evolved than their 70’s counterparts, but hello! They can still be brought up to be smart and sensible with their values in place.In fact with the right kind of upbringing, they can be super- achievers with high self- esteem!
Self-esteem is the key. As parents that should be our target. Children with high self-esteem have a winning can-do attitude. They are ready to crack that tricky Mathematical problem even if it takes the whole day. They enjoy activities that require creative thinking, getting their hands muddy, synergizing with buddies. They have no time to be bored, can spendquality time with themselves, make eye-contact when talking to people. Such children find it easy to make friends, are raring to go trekking, hiking and are ready and willing to share what they have with others.
And how can we instill high self- esteem in kids?Praise in public, reprimand in private:
Urge them to take up challenging projects& complete them
Push them to learn something difficult
Teach them to earn money & save it
Give responsibility & make them accountable
Let your holidays be adventure journeys not luxury outings.
Early to bed and early to rise still means extra time to do great things!