What ails our Children? Are we Parenting Right?
Have you ever wondered if you are parenting right? Are you one of those parents who do not interfere much in your child’s growth and allow them to find their way, or are you one of those who help their children in everything and guide them to perfection?
Whatever category you may be, here is something for you to chew upon. You may thereafter make whatever corrections you feel right.
In the past 4 years I have had the opportunity to train nearly a thousand students from ages 7 to 16. I have met them in all ages, sizes, shapes and nationalities. The best among them as far as satisfaction level are the young ones from 7 years to 10 years who are bubbly and open. The older lot of are far more inquisitive and a bit guarded. One has to earn their trust before they open out unlike the young ones.
Recently I was involved in a Training where children had to build and program Robots. It was a 7 day 4 hour per day course. I had two batches to handle in a day. Across the batches I noticed some common behavior traits. And this got me thinking.
Robotics as you would understand in a mix of technology, hardware and software along with oodles of logic and reasoning. This means that what can go wrong will go wrong. The things that go wrong are usually very simple and can be easily resolved or overcome with a bit of patience, reasoning, logic and thinking.
Every day we did encounter such issues. As a policy I never went forward to resolve the issue when it occurred. I used to ask the children to resolve the issue themselves. One child even went to the extent of complaining to his parent that I wasn’t helpful when they faced a problem. The common behavior that I noticed was that they were a very impatient lot. They wanted the Robot to work in the first instant almost like the ATM giving money when we insert the card. Failure was not acceptable in their rule book. They used to blame the kit, blame it on their group, blame it on the software, but never ever took the blame on themselves. Very few had the patience to go through the process and rebuild or reprogram to find the fault to understand, why something that ought to work, did not work at all. Many just gave up. Few lost interest in no time. Some children wanted to do everything themselves as they did not trust their peers. Only few displayed true leadership and good communication to get everyone to work as a team. I kept observing the various reactions, day in and day out.
I only stepped in when I felt there was no progress. And very soon the issues were resolved and lessons were driven home. My observations about the behavior led to some revelations regarding how we bring up our children in today’s world where inter personal interaction has become more through gadgets than face to face. Where material things have taken over human feelings.
Most of these behaviors stemmed from the fact that parents in our enthusiasm to protect our kids, to save our time, have been delivering ready-made solutions to our kids rather than they discovering it themselves. Kids have been over protected because we wouldn’t want them to be disappointed. That has made them wanting to win each time. There seems to be a refusal to accept that they could fail once. There is a need to drill home a lesson that failing is not a bad thing and what is important is to try again and be patient to get the work done or reach the goal.
Single kids, being brought up in neighborhoods with even lesser kids, hectic schedules of books and homework, have caused kids to remain at home instead of going out to play. This had led to lack of communication skills to resolve issues, to work as a team and get things done. This behavior could be a cause for a big failure when they grow up.
It is time therefore for us to be less of a parent and more of a guide allowing them to explore, make mistakes, learn the consequence and get hit by Life, rather than giving them Life in a platter. It is essential that we do not help them out every time they get stuck. We just need to show them the way and they need to walk that way, rather than we doing everything for them. We need to be tough at times, so that their life becomes easy later.
Little did I realize facilitating a Robotics Class would involve much more than mere technology. Along with Robotics I ended up imparting the much needed Life Skills and learning from them as well.
What is our parenting style? How well equipped are our children with the Life skills crucial for a Happy , Successful life?
Let’s pause and reflect a moment.