The times are changing, society is changing. Children are being the most influenced by these changes. This is becoming a concern for most parents. Many parents think that they are at a liberty to beat or rebuke their children anytime as per their whims.  This notion is slowly changing but in the minds of most parents it is still there. Parents still think that children should not be given too much freedom. They think that the child should fear his or her parents at all times, should concentrate on studies more than fun etc. Parents think that the teachers of their children should be trained to deal with them and that they themselves have nothing to learn. The fact is that parenting itself is an art and today it has become a challenge in itself. Parents should change themselves from dictators to friends, philosophers and guides.

Why are parents worried

Parents have many questions on their minds related to their children which is very natural. Some parents think that children should be dealt strictly and to made to fear their parents so that they do what the parents want.  Other parents think that elder children should be treated like friends. But very few parents understand that there can be a way in between these two extremes.  Children should be treated as friends by parents but the parents should take a strict stance if they feel that their child is taking a wrong path.

Difficulties faced by parents

  • Children today are getting stubborn, angry and mischievous.
  • They do not respect elders.
  • They talk bluntly and in a disrespectful manner.
  • They tend to be interested in sex at a very young age.
  • They believe in short cuts.
  • Talks about culture and traditions are boring to them.

Teenage parenting is more challenging

Teenage parenting is more challenging as teenagers engage and do things that challenge family values and culture of their parents. This creates friction between parents and teenagers. Parents are confronted by the following questions when dealing with teenagers-

  • How much freedom should the child be given?
  • How much pocket money needs to be given?
  • How much restrictions need to be put on girls?
  • How much restriction needs to put on the child once he/she becomes an adult?
  • Should teenagers be permitted to stay with friends over night or to come home late?
  • Should teenagers be allowed to mingle with friends of their choice?
  • Should they be scolded on making mistakes?
  • How much should they be pressured to study?

Technology has also made parenting difficult

  • Internet- Internet has created as many problems as it has solved. Many children cannot be fully stopped from accessing the sites they want and censorship has its limits. many children are addicted to chatting, social networking and Internet pornography.
  • TV and movies- Children who watch too much TV and movies tend to be more influenced by violence.
  • Rising suicidal tendency-There is mouting pressure on children by parents. Parents don't want their children to fall back on studies which are constantly challenging. Parents often forget that children have their limitations. It is best to understand these limitations.

Improve your parenting skills

There was a time when parents used to shout and children or slap them and everything used to be all right. That doesn't work now. These are old steps at parenting. Times have changed and so should parents.

  • Stop Judging your child's behavior all the time. Listen carefully to what the child says and understand what he or she feels
  • Don't talk about studies and homework all the time.
  • Make the child feel that his or her viewpoints and thoughts are heard.
  • Many parents take the time to do homework with their children but most parents do not take time to play with them. Spend some time playing with your child too.
  • There are many websites on parenting. Explore them. These days there are workshops on parenting too.
  • It is not true that children only need counselling sessions. In case of a problem child, parents should attend counselling.
  • Many parents scold children when they do something wrong, but how many parents gift or reward them when they do something right? Gift your children for the good things they do from time to time.

How to reduce difficulties

  • Parents should keep an open attitude and not cling to taditional thoughts and attitudes.
  • Each child has a different nature. Even the behavior of every child is different. This is determined by genetics which cannot be changed. What can be changed is the external environment. Strive to make it a happy one.
  • From the time a child is born till the age of 8-10 a child is very attached to his/her parents and does not want to leave them. This explains why children don't want to go to school when they are first introduced to school. Therefore from the time a child is born till the age of 8-10 don't put excessive pressure on him or her.
  • Never beat children to discipline them. It can have adverse effects and unwanted personality development which can remain till a lifetime.
  • Don't just inculcate the habit of listening in children alone. As a parent you yourself should inculcate the art of listening and understanding your child's problem.
  • Let your child take some decisions on his/her own. This will also enable him/her to develop personality.
  • After the age of 12 children start getting mood swings and confusion. No need to worry, it is a part of the personality build up. Children after this age also get easily attracted to members of the opposite sex and enjoy the company of friends more than parents. Parents should not make the mistake of thinking that their child does not need them anymore. The time will come when the child is drawn back to his/her parents.
  • Don't need to unnecessary spy on kids. Just be sensitive. If you feel that your child is doing something wrong tell the child without being angry and show him/her the way. If the child does not comply, contact a counsellor.
  • Do not encourage your child to access the Internet alone at a very early age. He or she can be tempted to misuse the internet. Keep the computer at a place where the child can use it in your presence.
  • Don't scold the child at not getting good marks in exams. Some children have inherent limitations. Getting 95% in the board exams may be easy for you to say, but your child may have difficulty in reaching that goal. 

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