This is an excerpt from my upcoming booklet by Guruspeak Self-Help series...
Every parent seems to know about raising kids - Simple - Just the way they grew up under their parents!! And in this process, most parents fail to understand their children and end up ignoring their kids needs, leading to a huge un-reversible disaster.
It's a wake up call for all parents with the Aryan Khan case of getting arrested for drugs. Its clear that there was a serious lag in parenting by celebrity parents - Shah Rukh and Gauri Khan. And that's not a singular case.
The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB)
data shows that 10,159 students died by suicide in 2018, an increase from 9,905 in 2017, and 9,478 in 2016. Post Pandemic children are getting more stressed. There are more than 28 suicides every day among college students in India. And this needs to be addressed and resolved immediately before its too late.
Guidelines for Parents:
- Children are very sensitive, and their childhood memories remain imprinted in their minds forever. Hence the most important responsibility as a parent is to ensure that only good and positive suggestions enter the minds and consciousness of your children.
- Your child is unique. And, has unique skills and abilities. So, always appreciate your kids for his / her best abilities but never compare your kid with the other better performing kids. This will generate an inferiority complex and cause a deep seated humiliation within them. And they will gradually stop doing what they can do best.
- Ideal Diet Management - The most important responsibility of parents is to ensure the child eats the right food, and at the right time.
- A vegetarian diet is an ideal diet without exception, as its non irritant and best suited for children's development, both physically and mentally. In vegetarian diet also, children should avoid spicy & oily food, junk food and maida based foods like burgers, pizza, pasta, white breads, noodles and packaged cola drinks.
- Fruits and nuts or a frugivorous diet helps in proper development of minds, understanding, will, temper and general disposition, as they get absorbed by the body completely and does not get deposited in the body as fatty tissues, and leads to clear bowel movements.
- And on the other hand, non vegetarian diet leads to low absorption in terms of energy within the body, leading to excess waste released from the body and obesity due to body also starts depositing the waste in the cells, leading to excess heat in the body. Excess heat causes imbalances in emotional aspects and leads to irritation, anger, frustration, impatience, jealousy etc. )
- Encourage Extra Curricular Activities - Get your kids to learn to play all types of indoor & outdoor games and participate in creative and vocational activities. The common ones are drawing, gardening, playing a musical instrument, singing, dancing, cycling, swimming and lawn tennis etc. This helps in developing a healthy body with an agile mind.
Time Management - Keep a check on your child's activities in their spare time, specially for the teenagers. Discuss with your child about the harmful effects of mobile phones, and ensure that they do not spend too much time on their digital devices i.e. smartphones, tablets, laptops etc. They should have limited access to social media - Whatsapp status updates, Facebook or Instagram reels, Linkedin, Youtube videos, or play video games for long duration or pick up bad habits which becomes difficult to remove later. For this, your kids should not be hesitant to share their mobile phones for parents to check occasionally
- Peaceful, Harmonious and Happy home environment - Minor fights and disagreements are common in all the families, but they should not be prolonged or leading to a terrified child, who finds it difficult to accept his / her parents and does not know whom to support and follow. Kids learn to be tolerant when their parents are tolerant to each other. Family Vacations are important for stress release and family bonding. Hence, at least one annual vacation is necessary for parents and kids to unwind and de-stress.
Being Responsible & forming good habits - You are a role model in most cases for your kids. Young girls are closer to their father, and young boys are closer to their mother. Your personal habits as a parent should be right in first place, to ensure that your kids pick up the right things which are mostly nonverbal communication. For example - if you sleep late and wake up late, can you expect your child to sleep early and wake up early? No. Similarly if you practice yoga and meditation, then your kid will also be interested in trying it. Kids do not follow you, when there is hatred or anger towards the parent. Unless they see you falling sick for prolonged periods and taking lot of medicines. If you do not read books, your child might not pick up reading books unless with other circumstances.
- Device & Gadgets Management - All the kids are glued to their laptops, mobile phones and tablets, and more so with online studies during pandemic. In most of Indian cities, there are little open spaces for kids to play. And to make matters worse, kids (of all age groups and socio economic class) were unable to move out of the homes to play, go to school or meet friends in 2020 and 2021. Usage of gadgets is necessary, but, also implement some house rules, for example -
- Implement a secure firewall (i.e. Dell Sonicwall is a good device) with your home WiFi connection which will not allow kids to browse or download undesirable content i.e. extreme violence, pornography etc. Ideally, your home Wi-fi connections can be switched off at night (i.e. between 10 pm to 6 am) so that all family members can peacefully sleep, leaving their PCs, gadgets and smart phones aside.
- Ensure your smart TV and OTT apps like Netflix, Prime Video etc are password protected for mature content (with 18+ ratings). This is important when you have a younger child below 18 years.
- Implement Google Family Link for your android phones or iPhone family settings parental controls to keep track of the usage of your child's phone. You can set family settings to ensure they have downtime on their phones, and they need to ask to buy or download any app on their phones. Set time limits for specific apps - for example Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp can be set for a maximum of 60 mins per day and then the app will stop working for that day. Gaming apps are disabled etc.
- For desktops and laptops you can implement - Microsoft Accounts ie. MS 365 with Word, Excel, PowerPoint etc. offers family safety settings for Xbox and Windows activity, You can add your child in the family group online and then you get Web and Search filters for Edge browser.
- Sex Education - During initial years of education, the kids should focus on education only and not worry about pleasing and attracting the opposite sex in their classes. Hence, for primary and secondary schools prefer an "only boys" or "only girls" while planning admissions for your child. You will notice, especially girls of co-ed schools class 9 or 10 are more self conscious about looking attractive than girls of only girls school. 18 + students can go to co-ed colleges for undergraduate and post graduate studies. Ensure that he / she has adequate information about sex and they do not clear their doubts from wrong sources on the internet or friends. Fathers can talk with teenage son and Mother can talk with teenage daughter about sex, masturbation and STDs (Sexually Transmitted Diseases). The teenagers will be uncomfortable and hesitate to ask sex related questions to parents, but you as a parent should be able to guess their questions and be ready for an open discussion with your teenage son or daughter.
- Unconditional Support - As a parent, please allocate atleast 30 to 45 mins everyday with your child
discussing his / her friends, studies, hobbies & interests. Parents can plan sleeping with their teenage kids on weekends also to discuss intimate issues with them. You should know their best friends name and phone numbers. Also friends parents' phone numbers too.
- Career Guidance - Uncertainty of the future prospects was always there, but with Pandemic lot of professions and careers have become irrelevant and with lower success rates. For example - event managers, live performances, etc. Pandemic has caused the maximum damage to the kids, and have forced them to rethink their career goals and options. And to make matters worse, there is no assured guidance to secure their uncertain future. The solution is to spend quality time with kids and you would gradually know the competencies and skills of your child.
- Avoid default career concept - If you are a Doctor, its not implied that your child should also pursue medical science to be a doctor. Allow them to have their own choices, only guide them with the right set of information and access to proper coaching or professional guidance. To start with you must ask your child to watch documentaries of the lives of successful sportsperson, musicians, actors, and business person etc. And, you will be able to appreciate the role of their parents who inspired their kids to pursue their dreams. For instance - Discovery Plus has lot of documentaries
- Performance Anxiety - Higher studies have become so stressful. Its the parents' pressure to fulfill their missed goals through their kids, and then the peer pressure. And thus leading to suicidal attempts and other depression issues among young adults of age - 18 - 25 years. To prevent these mishaps with our families, we need to have good parenting skills. And unfortunately there are courses and videos for everything except right parenting. I remember, I never followed my fathers' habits, as my father never had time for me and rarely discussed my studies, careers, or problems or offered any solutions to them. But he did not stop me from doing things I liked and happily funded for all my interests. For example - buying me comics, books from Kolkata Book Fair. Just because we had little conversation, I was never able to forget and forgive him for his aloof and unconcerned behaviour. Ideally, both parents should talk to the school teachers and co-ordinators if they find any unusual behaviour or it could be an above average genius ability which could be further nurtured for excellence.
- Pocket Money - Teach your child early on that nothing comes free or without effort. Hence, you should always decide to give slightly lesser pocket money than they ask you for, and this is a subjective thing which depends on the standards of life each family leads. They should not spend money on any additions like smoking, drinking, drugs, or tobacco etc. and that's the reason you should also know where they have spend the money. (broad details would be OK, minute details may not be asked) But, the overall objective is your child should understand the value of money and the effort it takes to earn it. And, this is more important for families where they are very rich and have access to the best cars and home, gadgets etc. Everyone needs to earn it by right actions.
The above points can now be classified into various socio-economic lifestyle scenarios. Some of the scenarios are: -
a) single parent child raising (when either one of the parent is separated or expired)
b) both parents working full time (with a joint or nuclear family)
c) One parent working and one full time home maker
d) either parent is disabled or sick with chronic disease
Although the above tips sound easy, but they are not easy to implement in the family.
We will be producing parenting workshops in association with schools and educational institutes, on the challenges faced by them in managing their kids, and ways to implement the above tips successfully.
For complimentary invites to the parenting workshops, please email us at email@example.com
with your parenting & specific child related issues. We will cover the advice in our workshop and offer consultations on one to one basis.
These were tips for parents, now the other side of the coin - kids also need to have their checklist, below are the tips for children too...
The Skilled Profession of Child-Rearing - By Sri Sri Daya Mata
How your child can win in Life? by Matthew Raggett
Bringing up a dream child - By Juhi Aggarwal