Guest Post : Bringing up children nowadays


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.

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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.

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Separation Pangs


 

SeparationPangs

As parents, all of us are so accustomed to having our kids (especially little ones like mine – 23 months old) around all the time that we just don’t realize how time flies by us on a day to day basis. More often than not 24 hours in a day is simply not enough with a hyperactive toddler running around begging for your time, energy and attention.

That being said, the one off occasions where my wife S takes my daughter R to her maternal home are the times when I really and truly miss both of them a lot. Funnily enough R is at an age where she adapts beautifully to her surroundings and circumstances and doesn’t miss me even a little. I wonder if kids are like that only with their fathers, as they are used to their fathers being out of their sights for longer periods of time. I remember this one week where S left R in my charge and went out of town. After 3 silent days, R started missing her mother and frequently started asking me where Amma was and it took all of my imagination to come up with answers to this question for the next 4 days. However, this time around R is with her mother, who informs me that she has not asked for me at all for the last 5 days now, and that makes me wonder.

This is probably what is termed the ‘maternal bond’. After all R was in S’s tummy for a good 9 odd months and still heavily relies on her for all of her daily needs like food, water, safety, etc. God does give the fathers a raw deal in such cases, doesn’t he? Almost all the good qualities that a child has is almost always attributed to the mother of the child. If a child is healthy, funny, active, smart, all the credit goes to the mother. It is assumed that the mother has taught and conditioned her child so well that she displays all of these good qualities. It is extremely rare that the father gets the credit for any of these qualities in a child.

I really don’t blame people for not recognizing the father’s contribution to a child’s development. After all, we live in a country where most fathers deem their primary responsibility to be the earning of enough money to keep the mother and child happy and contented. I still have to see too many fathers who actually contribute in any other way to the upbringing of the child, and this observation of mine holds good across all economic and social strata of people that I have interacted with. That being said, I have also had the privilege of having interacted with more hands-on fathers as well who step up, take the responsibility of the child so that the mother can take some time off from parenting.

In any case, I digress. The point of this post was to highlight the fact that even as children we probably are more dependent and reliant on our mothers than our fathers. The ‘maternal bond’ that I spoke of earlier is so strong in the mothers as well. I personally have had instances where S has realized that R is in trouble in the next room or downstairs when she was playing with her grandparents. And on more than one occasion, S’s intuition about things like these has proven right, which clearly explains the existence of the ‘maternal bond.

Wonder why God or nature didn’t come up with a similar ‘fraternal bond’. It would be awesome if fathers also had this natural intuitive sense when it came to gauging what their children wanted. That way I wouldn’t end up giving R biscuits when what she actually wanted was just a tight hug from me 🙂

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This post was originally published on Parentous.com