In Today’s World which is consumer oriented, lawless and sexually permissive, parenting has become a challenge. Too much exposure to audio and visual media from a young age coupled with ineffective parenting has made kids selfish, self indulgent and seeking instant gratification. They’re given to spontaneous behaviour and may be frustrated.
Since the family is a training ground for preparing children to take their place in society as responsible adults, parents need to periodically evaluate their styles of functioning. They have to possess a progressive outlook while adhering to old world values. Child rearing principles are changing as the world changes and parental roles will also change as the child grows. From disciplinarians they develop into friends and teachers. It is good to bear in middle the Biblical adage –
“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6.
No one can boast of being a perfect parent. It is through trial and error that one learns how best to mold the character of a child, depending on his personality. Love, patience and negotiating skills form the basis of good parenting.
The love of parents is instinctive and must be unconditional. It’s best expressed in the way a child is nurtured. Patients should not be ashamed to show emotion. Open affection between husband and wife is most reassuring to the child. He will have confidence that he’s safe and secure in their love and they are always available to guide him. Good communication between parents and child makes for bonding. Only when there is a healthy relationship between them can discipline be inculcated.
Discipline is for the positive good of the child. Guarendi says”Discipline is among the most loving and durable gift a parent can give a child.” A kid needs boundaries and discipline teaches him to respect authority. Obedience should be expected at all times. Praise for good behaviour is important. But he must also be taught to accept’No’ for an answer. Discipline provides a structure for emotional and social growth. Discipline however must be consistent. Correction must be carried out in a positive way rather than by punitive measures. One has to be kind but firm in enforcing rules. The child should know that subject is like”a garland to grace his head and a chain to adorn his throat.”
Overindulgence and mollycoddling can stunt a child’s character. It will destroy motivation and make him slothful. There are several reasons why parents become over indulgent. Both parents may be working and feel guilty of not spending enough time with their child. They may be divorced and compensate by giving him a lot of liberties. They are anxious parents who wish to overprotect their child. So they give into their whims and needs. Some parents find a means of fulfilling their own needs through their own child. Helicopter parents do not allow their child to grow up and make their own decisions.
Permissive parents on the other hand let their child do what he likes. They’re non-directive and non-demanding. Anything that the child does is okay with them. Parents are so caught up in their own lives which they have no time to play an active role in the life of their child. Such a child is insecure and lacks direction. He knows that his parents will not bother about what he does. There are no guidelines or limitations. Such a child is confused, makes wrong choices and will drift into delinquency.
In the other extreme are authoritative parents who are control freaks and impose strict rules which need to be followed. They’re critical of everything the child does. They destroy his self respect by making disparaging remarks. There is never a word of praise. Risks and punitive measures are inflicted for minor faults. Because of this, the child becomes a nervous wreck, living under a cloud of fear. But as an adult he may develop an anti-social personality leading to frequent brushes with the Law.