The day the child is born also results in the birth of a new set of parents; along with the birth of the child, a mother and a father too are ‘born’. The parents also grow, as the child grows, learning from their own experiences and from the combined wisdom of all elders and peers who keep guiding them from time to time. ‘Growth’ of the parents, or otherwise, affects the growth of the child most. There are parents who transform from being just a mother and father to being friends as the child grows whereas there is a vast majority which refuses to grow and as a result adversely affect the growth of the child; these are parents who never reach the stage of being a friend and continue to be just elders/ seniors. In my view parents can basically be classified into three types.
The ‘Hovering’ types….
The ‘hovering’ types who, like a helicopter always keep hovering on the head of the child, keeping a close check on every activity. They don’t allow any freedom of action to the child specially in matters of decision making regarding the child’s own future. They specialise in thrusting down decisions down the ‘throat’ of the child. Most of them in fact want to achieve through the child what they themselves could not achieve in their own youth. In the bargain such parents generally end up ‘stunting’ the growth of the child. Enforcing discipline is required but then empowering the child too is essential; freedom of action cannot be deprived in the name of discipline.
Partial freedom types….
The second type are the ones who keep a watch on the activities of the child from a distance, giving the child a bit of liberty of action but rush to ‘lay the bridge’ moment they see any obstacle in the path of the child. Thus, they deprive the child of opportunities to learn negotiating the obstacles life throws at them from time to time. Moment they see a child struggling in a particular subject in school, such parents in most cases without making much efforts to ascertain the reason of the child not doing so well, rush to arrange for a tutor or in worst case scenario change the subject at the first possible opportunity. Thus, the child gets used to changing the path moment he comes across an obstacle in his life journey.
‘Convince and not enforce’ types…
The third variety parents who are in a minority. These parents believe in guiding and not tutoring the child. They believe in empowering the child with the art of decision making and deciding his own future. They, instead of blindly enforcing, provide necessary inputs to the child to help him make his own decisions. I fully understand, there are kids who will try to take advantage of ‘soft’ attitude of the parents and try to trick them from time to time or emotionally blackmail them into accepting what they (kids) wants. That’s where the maturity and experience come into play. Giving freedom doesn’t mean the parents allow the child to go berserk (there are parents who do that and fail miserably as parents). The watch has to be maintained to step in at the right time to guide and convince the child; Enforcing is replaced by the art of convincing. Have patience, keep pointing out the mistakes and discussing with the child; aim should be to convey that the child ‘we know what you are up to’, and the moment the child understands that he/ she will mend ways.