Parenting or child rearing is the process of promoting and supporting the physical, emotional, social, and intellectual development of a child from infancy to adulthood. Parenting refers to the intricacies of raising a child and not exclusively for a biological relationship.
The above is the definition taken from Wikipedia about parenting. Notice how parenting talks about emotional development of child in parenting yet some parents fails to do that every now and then. That is what I'm here to write about.
1. Stop dismissing your children mental health and start listening
It's the year 2020 and it's fitting to say Take a look at their tweets to know what's running in their mind. I've been in Twitter since 2013, and I have to say I have seen a lot of people who would rather tweet their sorrows because no mature are there to listen for them. As we dig further we can see that, many parents denies the total existence of depression. I've seen multiple photos of teens doing self-harm due to depression.
I am seriously concerned about the fact many parents are denying the very existence of a very serious problem. I mean I've seen parents boast so much about their kids marks with their relatives and how they keep reaffirming the fact they are working so hard for their kids future. But what is there for the kid's future if their mental health is not being taken serious ? What future does it hold for the kid if the kid decides to take their own life ? WHO in their statistics has stated that Globally, close to 800,000 people die from suicide every year. That’s one person every 40 seconds, and mental health being one the reasons. Shouldn't we be worried about this ?
So parents next time your kid comes with you with a mental health problem, take a seat, ask them calmly what's wrong and listen to them. Learn how they feel. REAFFIRM that you got their back and will be there for them and actually be there for them. Don't make fun of their mental health. Don't dismiss it by telling Teenagers should only focus on their studies and not worry about others. They have feelings too.
2. Stop comparing with other children and start understanding everyone is unique
Now this something that is so prevalent in almost every household. Almost every single Indian parents likes to compare their kids to other as if parenting is a freaking competition between them.
A single success in Gomathi's(name only for example purposes) household and you should have seen Parames aunty's(again only for example) house would literally explode. For all we know, Parames aunty's kid may have gotten slightly lower marks in maths/science subject than Gomathi's kids and all hell breaks loose. I mean Indian parents have always thought being on Science Stream is much better because you either become a Doctor or Engineer. No one seems to think that being in Arts stream is no lower than Science Stream. Arts is as good Science just with different career path. How many parents actually thinks being a filmmaker is a good career choice ? I mean there are some who actually encourage their children dream to be a filmmaker but there are some who still holds a very lowly impression on career as a filmmaker.
There is a reason why we humans are made unique from each other. If everyone is made to be a doctor or engineer, Who would be a policeman ? Who would be a farmer ? Who would be a Graphic Designer ? Who would be a Janitor ? I believe that everybody has different type of purpose to serve in this society. Let the children be what they want. Guide them towards it, help them to set their goals and be by their side as as support as they achieve it.
3. Normalise talking about sex education, love and consent at the early age
Now this a big Taboo in pretty much every households we have seen. A single kissing scene while watching a movie with your family is enough to turn your head away from TV.
Now from where I grew up, parents rarely or strictly don't even talk about puberty, the changes in your body, your attraction towards other. We deemed the topic as a big no no. And as a result most of our sex education comes from the half-baked knowledge of our school friends. The worst part about it is that they learned how sex works from porn. And porn is the worst place to receive sex education because of what porn tends to teach.
Now with a topic you can't talk to a mature adult about, a very bad impression of sex and how consent works based on watching a porn video, one tends to make their own conclusion/theory on how things work. Why can't a father sit down with his son and have a man-to-man conversation about how it's super fine to have an attraction towards another person and it is totally normal in this age. Talk to them about relationships, talk to them about issues around sex and talk to them the the risks of sexual activity. I believe that children who receive sex education at home are actually less likely to engage in risky sexual activity. Tell your children touching someone without consent is totally inappropriate. Tell them your children every humans are created equal and to discriminate one is wrong.
Having this type of communication is healthy and very beneficial in the long run. It definitely will not be easy at first, there will definitely be some awkward moments. But having your children talking to you about a super taboo topic may help in the long run when they know they can trust you and talk to you about anything should a dangerous topic arises.
In conclusion, nobody is a perfect parent here. Let's learn to accept criticism, just because you grew up that way and turned out fine, does not mean you could do the same. Share ideas together when you meet other parents on how you could help your children, try to listen more to your children. I'm not here to say every parental method is wrong, we all make mistakes. Let us all learn from those mistakes bring together a future generation that will contribute to the society in a great way.
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