mummiefbDr. Sarita Bhargava – Pediatrician.
Qualified PALS by Indian Academy of Pediatrics.
Author of a very popular book ‘Your Precious Gem & You’.

kids & electronicsHamare bacche bahut shaitan hain , kisi ki kuch sunte nahin hain.Unko to chup karne ke liye mobile ya I-pad dena hota hai . We find them operating these electronic gadgets  quite fast with great ease “,are the words of parents who come with  their ailing children for treatment . The parents comment that they had not posed any problems for their elderlies like the children today . It is not the childrens’ fault , they are learning a lot by being exposed to the mass media as the TV , mobile phones and a lot more .

Todays’ children are being exposed to a great number of eatables , consumer articles , electronic toys , via the mass media .The salaries and spending capacity of the middle upper class parents is huge and they  can afford to buy a lot of things for their children as they are the only ones on whom they  spend their earnings in nuclear families .The size of the nuclear families has been restricted by adopting  the family planning norms. The children are mostly overprotected and given too much attention , parents try to fulfill all their demands   . The parents in the earlier days had many kids and due to their limited earnings hardly ever gave an ear to the demands of the children . In the joint family scenario the practice of SIMPLE LIVING AND HIGH THINKING WAS FOLLOWED and the children followed the commands of their elderlies without any resentment .
Click to BuyThe biggest challenge being faced by the parents today is  “parenting a child amidst  exposure to modern media technology , electronic gadgets , mobile phones ,electronic toys ,television ,pizza ,burgers     and the changing scenario of the society.”Parenting is the process of promoting and supporting the physical , emotional ,social and intellectual development of a child from conception to adulthood. On leaving the mother’s womb, the child enters the world in a physically helpless state . He is unaware of his whereabouts ,and the only means of seeking the attention of the caregiver is by CRYING .He is able to recognize the heartbeats and voice of his mother and so feels secured in her proximity. The child undergoes remarkable changes  after birth and at the time of entering the school he knows to communicate his thoughts and feelings , to recognize and remember people , places and actions. He is able to feed and dress himself and can run , hop , climb and jump .He can write , draw , read and tell stories . The child wants to play with the parents and can make them happy or can irritate them by his behavior . If the child is provided responsive care by the parents in his earlier years  he develops deep bonds with them and turns out into an intelligent , confident ,responsible adult with high self esteem  and good moral values .

parenting-classIn the olden  days the mothers wholly looked  after their off springs  in addition to the household chores .The men managed to fulfill  the basic requirements of the family members and so were seen doing jobs according to their ability .People lived in joint families .The women remained in the house, managed all the household work  , there was no question of going to work outside. The elderly women in the family helped the mother in upbringing the child . The old taught and guided the younger generation regarding the household chores and other aspects that the children would require in future life. The boys were sent to gurukuls (places of seeking education under the guidance of a teacher called as GURU in olden days ), renowned personals in the society and to schools for getting education and acquiring the moral values together with the basic life survival skills . The children played at home with their cousins ,they did as they were instructed by the elder family members .The men in the family taught the boys the art of using their professional tools ,the farmer’s son learnt the use of tools used to  plough fields  , carpenter’s son learned about using the hammer and saw. The  tribals  and the   hunter community made their children well versed in using the bow and arrow together with other equipments required for protecting themselves and earning their livelihood. It was presumed that the child will take over the profession of his father , the farmer’s son will become a farmer and so on. The girls grew up in the house learning creativity ,cooking and other house managing skills from their mother and other elderly women in the house. The children obeyed and respected   the family members .The parents never thought that the children can go against their wishes or can ever back answer them. The children had a strong bond with their mothers and women in family. They approached them for any help and suggestions .Due to poor exposure to the outside world due to the underdeveloped media the children as such had less demands. Fathers were  strict , difficult to be approached ,and children hardly ever talked to them about their desires. Female children were confined to the house and a very small percentage of girls went to school. Parenting was not considered difficult as there were no challenges from the side of the youngsters. They accepted all that was given to them happily. The family members dealt with the children according to their set pattern.

happy kidsWith the passage of time the education culture expanded. It became clear that girls too should be sent to school. Girls started going to schools and colleges .After completing their studies they even started   working outside and were seen assisting the family in meeting out the finances. As the girls stepped out for working with men the society started witnessing a number of changes. The extended joint families started decreasing   because the working women did not want to follow any restrictions imposed on them in the joint families. Nuclear families started coming into existence and increased in leaps.

With the advent of new technological gadgets which were to be used in homes  such as fans , coolers ,air conditioners ,fridge ,washing machines ,television and telephones the financial demands of the family increased. Prior to their advent for use in the houses , the family  required money for meeting out the basic necessities like food, clothing and housing.  Now they desired to bring the new gadgets in their homes. The women had already started to step out and assist their husbands financially. The education expenses had also increased as children became career oriented. Both working parents were able to manage the finances well   and so nuclear families started proliferating. The working mothers were not able to give  the quality  time to the children .Maids were hired to look after them and later on with the introduction of crèche culture children  were left in the crèches during the job hours. The fathers due to their busy working schedules met the children only on week ends because they came home in late hours and left early for work. The parent -child relationships started weakening as the tired mother was not able to attend the children properly after returning from work .

EnglishTo seek the attention of the parents children  have started putting demands which at times create stress for the parents. The children act according to their wish or are seen copying their friends .They are using the television , internet and other gadgets  as electronic toys and video games by themselves at home when they are under the supervision of the maid. This distract their minds away   from the school work. The mothers are spending less time in the kitchen .The availability of fast foods and other packed foodstuffs in the market has increased, as their demands has risen with increasing population of the working mothers .With the increase in income of the family, the spending capacity has also increased. Fast food consumption has become a common feature in the houses. The mothers fulfill the desires of the children for eating fast foods presuming that by doing so they will free themselves from the guilt which harbor their minds for not  giving quality time to children.

With passage of time parenting is becoming a issue as the energetic intelligent children are out of parents’ control due to lack of guidance . They have a lot of desires ,their career goals are different from those of the parents .They are very competent in using the internet  and are able to operate the mobiles with more ease than their parents . This gives them a feeling of superiority over their parents. They do not want to listen to their parents but keep on observing them at every step and try to copy them. Initially when the families had 4-5 children ,the oldest child helped the mother in looking after the younger ones ,but with the adoption of family welfare programs the parents have restricted the families according to the prevalent slogans. The number of children has been restricted to one or two. The single child is overly pampered and overprotected. These children face the adverse effect of not developing self confidence as  every act of theirs’ is under guidance of the parents. All the desires of the child are fulfilled , he is not able to  accept the”NO” and goes in tantrums  repeatedly, thereby  falling in the category of spoilt children. Parents try to teach them the values of honesty, speaking the truth and respecting others but are failing because they themselves have asked their children many a times to convey to visitors that they are not at home. They are not able to restrict the TV viewing time because they themselves spend their free time in front of the TV. The conflicts and arguments between the parents prevent the children from developing co-operation and respecting others .These habits of the parents are affecting the developing mind adversely. Parents  have started becoming concerned about the behavior of the children. They are not able to scold the child on his wrong doings as the child goes in rage .They have started looking for measures for managing and controlling their children .In the United States there is  a provision where the children can inform and  even call the police if the parent scolds the child.

HindiThe main reason behind the parenting problems appears to be the adoption of nuclear family pattern . Children go out of control because they are left under the supervision of the maids   who are unable to give love and affection as the parent or any other family member like  grandparents and  aunts as is in the joint families. In nuclear families parents are the only persons responsible for instilling   moral values, in contrast to the joint families  where the grandparents ,uncles and aunts guide the children .Children develop the values by observing the acts of all family members. The children feel more secured in joint families because there is at least one elderly person to supervise them. Children living in a joint family are seen to be  more competent socially , have better moral values and are co-operative. They learn co-operation by observing this attitude amongst the elders in the family and also by playing and interacting with their cousins. The explanations given by the family members to the children for their unnatural demands are able to convince the child ,whereas in the nuclear family  denying to fulfill a demand  leads the child  into a rage. Children from joint families are more creative , are well versed in different household chores and are more confident.

To change the behavior of the children and to raise them with good moral values parents will have to change themselves. They will have to be good role models for the children. They will have to follow the golden rule of “treating others as you want to be treated.”Parents will have to forget   their grievances  of  childhood. In addition they will have to understand the basics of all aspects of child development. They will have to follow the golden rule of “treating others as you want to be treated.” It is only then that they will know the understanding capacity of their children at different ages.

All parents want their children to be creative  ,helping ,respectful ,truthful, honest, confident and having good communication skills from  an  early age as toddlerhood. The child is empowered   by creativity as is seen by his attempts to assemble the blocks, mould the clay into different shapes , copying the mother while arranging the flowers and making other drawings. He has a good communication skill of greeting the parent by a non verbal powerful smile   before he is able to speak. The child develops confidence and feels secured when the parent plays with him and allows him to play with pets. Children are the precious gifts from God , parents should learn to enjoy with them and  not take parenting as a challenging job. Parents should adopt measures which will make the children academically successful .Children have the instinct to read and write. They should find out their inborn and acquired talents and help in developing them by appropriate stimulation ,rather than imposing their wishes on the child. Love and discipline should  be  balanced . Discipline the children  for the wrong behavior .  Condemn the wrong  behavior  and not the children. Parents should balance their professional and personal lives. They should give sufficient quality time to the children and try to instill good family values .The use of mobile phones and internet should be monitored and their use should be  permitted for constructive reasons. They should  teach  the children  our Indian culture and advise them  not to run after the Western culture by quoting to them that “Sun rises in the East  and sets in the West,” hence follow your Indian culture as it is similar to the rising sun .

parenting-adviceIt has been seen that parents today  are facing  stressful situations  due to the lack of knowledge and support at the time of raising their children. They may have financial problems due to the added economic burden of employing the maid   for looking after the children and helping in the household chores. The nuclear family parents   are more prone to conflicts amongst themselves. Security of their children is at risk when they are left with maids. Parenting  is difficult but parents should  take it as fun and help develop the  children making them achieve their full potential in a loving joyous environment .Play is fun and it can be  a means of making the children learn a lot through fun in a cool way.