We face a lot of pressure in this age of free flowing information, rising expectations and access to resources, especially if you are a parent! It is tough, to say the least, for every parent to keep up with the changing times. It is not just the technology and the gadgets that support it, it is the health consciousness, it is keeping up with the plethora of emergent hobbies and also the rapidly changing education system. It is overwhelming to keep pace with the change for sure but I would imagine every generation might have had its own challenges. Our parents had to deal with a ‘no computer seen ever’ to ‘my child is furiously chatting away on the computer till midnight’ generation. We have to deal with toddlers hooked on to tablets and 12 year olds releasing their music albums or a authoring a spectacular book! Overwhelming is an understatement!
So how does one deal with this overwhelment? Caught in the vicious cycle of ‘need to earn money’ but ‘need to be the perfect parent’, parents are really unable to do any kind of justice to the unstated needs of their children.
For starters, I will quote again the rule #1 of parenting – be present for the child.
If we are not there with the child, unable to listen to what they did through the day, what they learned, it is very unlikely that we will learn about how the world is evolving by observing the behavior of the children. We will only find ourselves repeatedly facing shocks and then hope and pray everything will sort itself out by some miracle.
There are, of course, some things we can do, to keep ourselves up to date with how the world is changing. These are really, ‘baby steps’ though, the key is to get started and be consistent.
a) Talk to your child once a day about how his / her day was and what he / she learned. I know this might sound silly but most of us know this is sometimes missing even with couples so perhaps with kids, many times, goes unnoticed. It could be the morning or evening or over the phone during working hours but the discipline is a must.
b) Subscribe to a good parenting magazine / website / blog or get on to some FB groups – whatever is your thing, do it your way, but do try and be hooked on.
c) When in doubt, consult an expert. I know our tendency is to go to family and friends but we all know that the best practices in parenting might not be adequately exhibited in these circles. What is the harm in reaching out for help?
d) Think about parenting. This can be a tough one, especially where both parents are working. We tend to do what comes naturally to us however best we know how to do it. However, being mindful about parenting itself will prod us into doing more research and being more aware about some recommended ways of handling a situation.
In a nutshell, be mindful of the fact that there is a change to deal with and make time to deal with it.
This blog post is a reproduction of my blog written for Parent Edge, one of India’s leading parenting magazines.