It is a sad fact of life that nine out of ten urban middle class or even rich families do not spend even thirty minutes of their time with children.  In some families there is a compulsory dinner time of thirty minutes, but even this is becoming rare, since the father is so busy earning money and the mother is so busy in the kitchen after a hard day's work. 

It is not at all uncommon to find a servant taking care of the children till the mother arrives. 

Whatever be the compulsions of the father and the mother, there has to be a compulsory dinner time or some other time, when the father and mother or either of them or jointly spends at least one full hour with the children.

in most families, there is only one child, or at best, two children.

What is seemingly impossible, because of the huge demands on the time of the parents, has to be made possible, through some stealing of time, and it has to be substantial on the weekends.  The following are the main reasons, why this quality time is important.

Too many distractions

Thanks to the media explosion, and thanks to the reach of the internet, children are increasingly becoming aware of sex, and what it means to them.  There are too many boys enticing girls at a very impressionable age, and take matters to the logical conclusion.  Violence against girls is perpetuated through even black mail, as they can easily capture intimate moments of girls on smartphones, with the most of advanced cameras.

All this can be nipped in the bud if only the parents know any small disturbance on the part of girl children.  The help of the police and the teachers can also be sought to tackle this menace.

Not only the physical intimacy, there are other distractions too.  Children want to experiment with everything, and wearing simply outlandish clothes, eating the worst of junk food, making it regularly to the shopping malls, and indulging in costly things is so common.  Since the parents do not have the time, they happily support the children in buying whatever they want, and this leads to further frustration of the parents when things go out of control.

Increasing permissiveness of children is also one huge distraction, and there is absolutely no way in which they can be controlled.  Instead, they need to be counseled on a continuous basis.

Very complex Education

Gone are the days when education was a far simpler affair.  Today's school education, more so, the school education in CBSE schools, has become very complex indeed.  No more of cramming, no more of "revision" tests day in and day out.  Excellence in academics is possible, only if the child is constantly on the move, understanding concepts in their totality, and the final examination is just one big exposure to the complete understanding of all concepts and their application.

Education is not only complex in terms of academics, the competition in the extra curricular activities arena, and in the space for gathering a huge amount of data about every single thing around them, is also not very competitive, but also complex.

For example, the foundation for later success in the IIM entrance examination is laid when the child understands the test of reasoning and data interpretation, and this always happens when the child enters the eighth standard.  If the child slips in one direction, he or she will be less competitive, in the later stages of his or her life.

All this can be easily understood when the parents get to understand areas of concern, and then address them in the most comprehensive manner possible.

The missing values link

Some twenty years ago, it was quite common to see a fourteen years old girl or a sixteen years old girl, helping her mother in all her household chores, and then becoming a trained person, which will hold her in good stead in the later years of her life.

Of course, no woman is expected to only cook, and with the most ridiculous talk of women's liberation being linked to cooking took its own toll.  It is not a  matter of cooking.

It is matter of "me and my comforts" and many girls end up being disastrous brides, who always question whatever their husband does, and demand, literally that he does at least part of the cooking.  This never happens, and ego problems, simply eat away the love and affection, that is part and parcel of anyone's married life.

This is a very dangerous trend, and the parents need to counsel the girl on the need for some minimum training in terms of cooking.

Values are totally missing.  The children do not respect elders at all, they are becoming increasingly self-centered, they are totally selfish in all matters of money, at a very young age.  They treat the poor with contempt, and children making fun of the grand parents is so common.

All this can be reversed and can be kept in check, only if the parents understand the need for giving them some good values.

For example, taking them to the old age homes, or any orphanages, will help the children understand that there are millions who are unfortunately placed at a disadvantage in economic terms, mostly for no reason that can be attributed to them.  They will understand that they need to do something for the wider society, and will even develop a good habit of keeping expenses under control.

Career counseling

Though it is not the responsibility of the parents to only do career counseling, it is very much in the domain of either of the parents or both of them, to understand and discover the latent talent of the children, and help them to reach the maximum of their potential, in whatever way they can.

For example, one child had a great interest in painting and drawing.  The mother, as usual, wanted to push the child into engineering, as many in her family were all engineers.

The father, a senior executive in HR, with a major company manufacturing a range of two wheelers, saw the merit in his boy's real interest and sent him to the USA to do an advanced course in the same field. 

Years later, the boy is a big success in life, as he is a good artist.  All it takes is to identify the latent talent, which sometimes never gets expressed by the child, in an open forum, or even in private.

Hence, it is very important for parents to spend compulsory quality time with children on a regular basis. This should happen very urgently in each and every family of India.


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