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PARENTING: AN ART AND A SCIENCE

Syed Mustafa Ahmad

Since the institution of family, parenting has been one of the most difficult, challenging, painstaking and important but ignored subjects, which needs both science as well as an art to carry out this responsibility effectively. At the present time, when suicides are on rise, it becomes important to have an effective parenting. It is generally felt that the Indian parents are the most caring and devoted, who love their children immensely. But at the same time, their love and affection and their over enthusiasm to make their children the best, most of them become the enemies of their own children. They generally become overambitious and put their children under tremendous pressure to perform well in whatever field they choose for them. They expect them to be brilliant not only in academics and games but also be the number one always to achieve their goals. In nut shell, everything they failed to achieve in their lives, they wish to seek or get their success through their children’s efforts. Can all the children out perform in games and sports? Therefore, in view of high ambitions of parents, comparison, competition, jealousy, letting down each other, using fair or foul means to succeed are adopted by children and in some cases even by parents which tends to create a gap between the parents and children. It also proves to be harmful to the society in the long run as it destroys the value system and harmonious living.
You ask even a well educated parent as to what parenting is? The answer will be that give birth to a child and bring up him or her well, make a good citizen, etc. Most parents do not understand that parenting starts much before the child is born. When the couple gets married, it is time for them to plan their children. The couple has to be physically, psychologically, mentally, emotionally and perhaps spiritually prepared for bringing the child in this world, especially the would be mother. This is the first and foremost step in parenting. The pregnancy is the second most important step in the process of parenting.

The third step is the parental care during the nine months period of pregnancy. In Indian scenario, this aspect is generally ignored especially in rural India thinking that is a natural process and nature takes care automatically. It is the stage where a majority of the people commit mistake. The emotional support to the pregnant lady by all the family members, especially by the husband is extremely essential. This is a crucial stage, during which, if a mother is not given nutritious food, emotional support and she is not kept in happy environment, the child may suffer overall development seriously. This can also cause serious health problems for the lady during pregnancy as well as during and after delivery.

What Is Parenting?
The dictionary meaning of parenting is the process of taking care of children until they are old enough to take care of themselves. It can also be defined to do things to raise a child. It involves the sharing the responsibilities of parenting. Dictionary meaning is not enough as parenting is much more. It also means parenthood. Words related to parenting are raising, rearing, upbringing, maternity, motherhood, mothering, care giving, care taking, etc.

Characteristics Of Effective Parenting
Faith and trust is the base of every relationships. Every child should be trusted. Lack of trust may lead to a lot of arguments or misunderstandings. When your child is in his or her teens, they are at a stage where anything said or done against them invokes them to fight back. Therefore, do not be suspicious of your children in any situation. The values that you have imbibed in them will not lead them to do anything wrong. Understanding is another major quality that you must possess as a parent. Understanding leads to a healthy and smooth relationship between a parent and a child. You should be so much approachable that your children can talk their hearts out in front of you. Take care to assure your children that you think that what they say is important. They can discuss all their problems with you without being fearful. Many times it happens that parents don’t understand their children and simply make them feel reluctant in expressing themselves freely. This is a negative point and it affects the children mentally. Therefore, maintenance of balance in parent- children relationship is essential. Friendly and supportive is the third characteristic of effective parenting. Being parents you are the only support for the children. Children look up to their parents for everything.

From childhood, they seek support and friendliness in you. If they take good decisions, as parents we should be in front row to support them. Opposing them in the harshest way can prove counterproductive. In a friendly manner, we can reject or make necessary changes in their decisions. It paves the way for the normal functioning of the lives. A good mentor and teacher is the fourth step in this process. It is very well said that parents are the first teachers. All that you teach your child from the childhood itself nurtures their upbringing. You need to be a teacher as well as a good mentor. You have to teach everything to your child in such a way that it makes them sensible enough to deal with odd situations. Be assertive and kind when pointing out what they have done wrong. Children should be familiar with the consequences of their actions. Always remember your values can be seen in your children. Therefore, be careful while handling them. A child should find in parents, a friend, a philosopher and a guide. Patience is the fifth step in this long process of parenting. It is one of the most important qualities that a parent must possess. Whether you are the mom or dad, you need to learn to be patient. Dealing with kids can get stressful at times. But do not give up. Show patience and wait for the appropriate time. You have to learn calm and handle situations tactfully. Taking decisions in haste may lead to problems. You have to understand your children’s psychology. The last step in this process is to accept changes. We all are human beings and bound to commit mistakes in life.

As parents, you might end up making mistakes, but do learn from mistakes to reform. You should know what you have to change within yourself how and when. Make changes for the better. However, children look towards parents as a role model.

What Lacks In Indian Parenting?
All parents, with a few exceptions, seek the success of their failures in lives through their children. In other words, what they couldn’t achieve in their lives, wish and desire their children to do so. They become over enthusiastic and put them under severe pressure, which affects their quality of life freedom and overall developmental growth. They also start comparing their children with others and many times are very strict and at times cruel with their children. This makes the children adopt indifferent attitude towards parents. Many times, the children develop hatred towards their parents and in later phases of lives drift totally away from them, which mostly lead to deliberate neglect of the parents in their old age. The scary statements of the parents haunt the children through out their lives. They develop unsympathetic attitude towards their parents. Illiterate parents as well as educated parents never bother to take time to listen to their children. Illiterate parents are an exception but the educated parents teach their children only materialism. They preach others’ students one thing and their own children something else.

Conclusion
An important aspect of life, effective parenting, which ensures and affects the quality of off spring and inducts responsible citizens into the country, need not be neglected. The couple before getting married, should know what step they are going to take. They should not jump blindly. They have to know this fact that how far they can afford the institution of marriage. After a proper introspection on both the sides, the institution of marriage can go forward and yield what we want. From the beginning, the adolescents should be taught how to go forward in their lives. The ups and downs should be made clear. The solutions should be readymade in the most of cases. And the most importantly, your children are your children. Everyone is different in different aspects. No comparison should be made. Instead, everyone is capable of doing something. Give him or her opportunity to live.