This is a guest post from one of my previous managers, somebody who I consider a role model, mentor, guide and friend all rolled into one. Given that he has two daughters aged around 12 and 9 yrs old, his words and views on parenting are precious pearls of wisdom to me.
And his writing skills are second to none as this post proves.
The Parent-Teachers meeting just concluded for both my kids. The school informs us that they are implementing an IT system to display kid’s performance records over the net and we are supposed to log in and track the kids’ performance online. So, no more progress reports and no more meetings… I secretly hope the system crashes and we are back to the good old way of discussing kids’ performance in-person with their teachers.
The school my kids go to is a fairly conservative one with parents from all walks of life. Some of the challenges which the teachers face and report are –
a. Kids talking a lot in class because they have no one to talk to at home.
b. Kids who are hyperactive and who get distracted quite easily.
c. Kids using profane language with other kids and with the teachers.
d. Kids indulging in bullying, damaging school property & other such aggressive behavior
e. Kids who are super-competitive and who do not hesitate to hide other children’s note books during exam time, cheat in exams and will do anything to get a grade.
f. Kids making inappropriate and in some cases very offensive posts in Facebook.
We are talking about kids who are in primary or who are pre-teens! Teachers report that though these numbers are less, they are growing these days.
My most anxious moments are seeing my kids off to school and waiting for them to come back safely. I don’t claim to have figured out all about parenting. It is still very much work in progress! Some pointers from my journey so far –
1. Girls are as difficult to bring up as boys. In fact, things tend to be difficult with girls as they tend to cry very quickly!
2. Grandparents are good care-givers but very poor role models for the children. My kids return with a lot of currency notes every time they visit their grandfather. Their grandmother cooks whatever the kids want. So what if it is Maggi everyday!
3. Parents in IT industry beware! Many of the problems I have listed above are from families in the IT industry. We folks in this industry are generally awash in liquidity, foreign holidays happen like clock-work and frequent shopping visits are the norm. I am sorry to say this, but our kids know the price of everything and the value of nothing.
4. Put a budget or an upper limit on everything – dress bought for Diwali, a sleepover at a friend’s place, buying a new toy or game. Don’t make it obvious that you are earning so much!
5. Some parent tend to ask their children to mix with their own social class. Merc owning families with Merc owning families only! As long as your kids friends seem to be good kids, their background should not matter to you.
6. Too much of religion and fantasy is also a bad thing. My younger one had sleepless nights when she read too many stories about gods and goblins.
7. Avoid watching TV serials (especially Tamil soaps!) with your kids. After watching one such episode my elder one wanted to know if I have a second wife. (Managing one is good enough!) Families depicted in such serials don’t exist in real life.
Life @ office is a lot easier. Our company buses run on time, food in canteen is bland but safe, our promotion processes are slow but predictable and there is a method to everything. Life outside is a lot more chaotic!
When my kids grow up and raise families of their own, I will put my feet up and I will then write a book on parenting.