Parenting The 21st Century Child

by Mr. Ishwar Parmar | Chapter 5, Act 1

Parenting is an acquired skill. As your parents did with you, you too will also learn most of the skills to be an effective parent on the job. This experience is especially eye-opening for first time parents. The standard rules of parenting also keep on changing with each generation. When you grandparents raised your parents, they had the entire family to help and guide them. When you were born, despite moving towards a nuclear family structure, your parents still had your grandparents to help them out. However, with the life styles today, the value systems, and life priorities, all this has changed.

Today, a mother is no longer confined only to the home but is also focusing on her career, in addition to raising a family. Today, grandparents are replaced with nannies as caretakers of the children. Then there is the exposure children get in today’s information filled world, both from schools as well as from other avenues. This exposure is both positive and negative for the children. On the positive front, children now do not accept everything on the face value and question what they do not understand. This not only expands their knowledge horizons but also helps them develop a logic based approach in life. On the flip side, over exposure leads to increased peer pressure as well as finding practicality in everything, even customs and traditions. As a result of this, parenting also needs to evolve to keep up with the 21st century children, who may be connected with the world online but may not know how to speak to a fellow human being in-person. In today’s technology fuelled world, your role as a parent becomes that much more important. You need to help your children gain the life experiences important for them while protecting them from the evils that are prevalent in the always connected world. You need to act as a facilitator for today’s children who believe in living life in the fast lane.

All this starts with first understanding the personality of your child. Is your child shy or having trouble at school, is he or she an overachiever with whom other children cannot keep up? Is your child mischievous who frequently gets into trouble or is he a bully who is troubling other children? A close introspection into your child’s personality will help you decide your parenting style as well. Since the initial few years are the foundation years for your child, figuring out your parenting style at this stage itself will help you guide your child in the right direction. A few examples will clarify how you can adapt your parenting style based on your child’s personality. Let’s consider that your child is shy and finds it difficult to open up to other children. A closer analysis may reveal that your child just has unique tastes and does not find the right group to express himself. Therefore, as a parent, you may want to find out what your child enjoys doing and encourage him or her to pursue those interests. You can also find out from other parents about children with similar tastes and then arrange for all such children to get together. On the other hand, if you have a mischievous child, perhaps getting angry with him and punishing him may not work. Instead, you should understand that children do this to attract attention. So, perhaps your child is not getting the attention that he or she deserves. These are not the only ways to solve the challenges you face as a parent and not the only challenges you will face as parent. What these signify is that knowing your child’s personality will help you effectively devise your parenting style.

Another key aspect of parenting it to create the parent-child bond that is both strong and based on honesty. A strong bond is created when the parents and children spend time with each other every day, sharing how their day went, and what they plan to do the next. These simple acts become a routine, which in turn helps parents and children stay connected with each other. With nurturing and the right dose of love, this connection becomes stronger with time. On the other hand, to base your relationship with your child on honesty, two things will be of paramount importance. First, the value system that you teach your child should not only promote honesty but also reward it. Second, give your child the freedom to make his or her decision as well from time to time. This way, he or she will learn how to be independent as well as apply the value system that you have thought.

Today’s children require you to be Active Parents. Active does not mean overly controlling and monitoring each and every aspect of your children’s lives. It means being involved in different aspects of your child’s development. Be it at school, at home, or even outside the home. Be the support base and the mentor that you children need you to be. Today’s children also require you to keep up to speed with them. They can get all the possible knowledge from the Internet and other sources today. However, in addition to the knowledge, what you can add to them is wisdom. This is something they can only acquire with life experience.

Help them with their physical, mental, and even intellectual growth. Help them build a strong character and equip them with the skills that will help them succeed in life. If you do this, you will be able to create a healthy environment at home. This environment will not only foster love and a sense of belonging, but will also create a feeling of reliance on each other. As new parents, you will learn and experience a lot of things for the first time. However, if you ensure that you learn and act quickly, things will become much easier for you. This will also allow you to spend time in strengthening your bond with your children,

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