The other day, me and my 14-year old daughter were returning from school after attending a Career counseling programme. I was mermerised by the engaging talk by the counsellors who were trying to paint a rosy picture about the prospects of studying overseas. I started a conversation with my daughter and began with casual happenings and events. At the back of my mind, though I was trying to read her mind, her intentions at large. Then I slowly proceeded on asking her “What do you want to become”? And she spontaneously said” I want to become a badminton player”.
Oh no…not again. This is not the thing which I was expecting after having attended such a highly charged Counselling programme. For once you thought that your child might be impressed with the wonderful talk and develop a liking towards an academics-related career. But, here we are at square one. When asked about academics, she invariably replies, “I like it, but I don’t love it”. I am the kind of mother who would turn the world upside down to allow my kid do what she loves to do. Are we creating unnecessary pressure on our kids? But, there is always a hidden desire, basically for most of the Indian parents, that their child excels in academics/profession primarily. The rest of the sports/talents are ranked secondary, maybe as their favorite hobby.
Just because you could not successfully complete your medicine degree, does not mean that you burden your child and coax him/her to fulfill your incomplete desires. It is fair to be ambitious, but as parents we need to be alert about the fine line between being ambitious and over ambitious.
With the best of intentions, we parents want our kids to be successful at the things they are involved in and we want to be supportive. This generation wants to explore- newer avenues and opportunities, and break the shackles of the old school of thought. We are busy pushing them to achieve better than the best
. Whereas, our concern should be to connect with them on their terms. We need to spend more time eating dinner together, listening to them instead of passing orders. Share a hearty laugh with them whenever chance permits, or take a leisure walk with them down the road.
The most important task of childhood and adolescence is a sense of self. Kids need room to try new things- do not be judgemental and enjoy them anyway. As young kids, we force them to study hard and reach the top. Don’t get me wrong. But is the pressure you put on them to study a little harder
or score a century in every match as necessary as you think it is, as often as you think it is?
Be it Sports Day or the school’s Annual Day, you are always there to cheer your daughter. But, when it comes to making it to the dinner table, many a times, the family as a whole fails in this regard. The message is clear: you care more about her extra curriculars than sharing a meal with her.
The Blue Whale game has rocked the entire world as every other day we get to hear shocking stories of teens resorting to the extreme step. Have we ever dwelled into the inside of this so called world-wide epidemic? It is totally a mind game, as we all know, whose first step is “alienation” – alienation from the outside world. Where the creature, the blue whale, intends to harm and finally consume the child. A child under constant pressure to perform, to achieve and to excel is already handling too much at home as well as at school. With an unstable/disturbed state of mind, such challenging games seem to be thrilling to him/her. As we all know a healthy body possesses a healthy mind, and vice versa. The need of the hour is to let the young kids breathe, let them explore new spaces and adventure into the known and the unknown. Parents should provide a backbone of support to their kids, and be their constant guide in their road to discovery. Too much pressure in any form is bound to take a toll on their mental health and physical well-being too.
Do you know that who are the happiest children in the world? Yes. We have an answer to it, and reliable sources to vouch for this statement too. And the answer is the Dutch children. As the findings of one of the top most organization UNICEF has pinned down the name of Dutch children to be living life to the fullest, in the true sense. The reason behind the success of the Dutch children is that their society is strengthened by home-loving people who place the child firmly at the centre. Possessing a healthy attitude towards the kids and treating them as individuals rather than as extensions of themselves. Much of this is pure common sense. Awareness to the fact that pushing kids too hard and suppressing individuality leads to anxiety is the need of the hour.
What should be our first step? Where do we start? Then, the answer is quite simple. Make their childhood more enduring than enjoying. You can be their constant guide 24*7, introduce them to new avenues, make them feel that you are their backbone. Make them feel that even a 6 out of ten in a test is fine, provided the concepts are clear cut in their minds. A relaxed, but fully informed attitude towards life, that includes academics and extra curriculars too, yields remarkably well-adjusted young people. There is a rat race out there, but does not necessarily mean that you push your kids too, let them become what they want to. Let us all understand that achievement does not necessarily lead to happiness, but that happiness can cultivate achievement. That is why I say it is time we go Dutch!
Kanchan is a doting mom to two angels and is passionate about writing. With over 3 years of experience in the content space, she strives to push boundaries and balance her personal & professional life well.