“Most things are good, and they are the strongest things; but there are evil things too, and you are not doing a child a favor by trying to shield him from reality. The important thing is to teach a child that good can always triumph over evil.” –Walt Disney
Aptly put by Walt Disney, the above quote clearly defines the core of good parenting. Being a good parent does not mean protecting your children from every hurdle they may stumble upon, instead, it requires you to step aside and make your children independent enough to tackle their problems themselves, coming to you only for help and guidance. However, this stepping aside has to happen gradually, in alignment with a child’s physical, mental and cognitive development.
A child’s development takes place in four stages: infancy, pre-school, middle school and adolescence. Besides the physical and mental growth, these stages also facilitate the growth of the parent-child relationship. With each stage, there is a change in the way children look up to their parents. For a healthy parent-child relationship, it is very essential for parents to change their outlook towards their children as and when required. For example, an infant will require the presence of its parents most of the time, whereas an adolescent will expect privacy from his/her parents. It is necessary for parents to give their children what they need at a given time. However, it doesn’t mean sitting by an infant 24×7 or having no clue about your adolescent’s whereabouts. That is equally unhealthy. While the former will grow into a highly dependent individual, the latter, most often, leaves you with a “spoilt brat”.
Remember, children are highly influenced by their surroundings. Hence, providing a healthy environment for the child is as important as giving it food. A house with very strict restrictions will lead to the child breaking rules, a household which survives on conflict and constant quarrelling will give rise to child having an aggressive behaviour, a pampered kid will always remain a “mama’s boy”, an ignored child will thrive for acceptance and fall victim to bouts of self-doubts. However, a child who is given adequate love, encouraged to follow his dreams, brought up in a family with healthy relations and taught to deal with his own problems will succeed with flying colours.
A classic example of childhood environment affecting adult behaviour is the English TV show F.R.I.E.N.D.S. We have a great variety of characters having very different childhood experiences, in a way affecting their adult behaviour all the same. There is Ross, the pampered kid, who thinks he is the best at everything; Monica, extensively ignored and bullied as a child, who strives for acceptance from her parents; Chandler, who saw his parents split up when he was merely 9 years, thrashing all his beliefs in love, and making him afraid of commitments; and finally Rachel, who was brought up with so much pampering that she turned out highly dependent on her father for almost everything. Well, these guys met each other and made their lives into a ‘happily ever after’ by helping each other. But it is our responsibility as parents to ensure that no child goes through such a harsh childhood.
This Children’s Day, let’s take a step towards understanding the needs of our children and providing a healthy environment for their growth.
HAPPY CHILDREN’S DAY!!