Thursday, November 27, 2008

A PRESSURE COOKED LIFE : A Potful of Parenting Goulash

The children of today and their parents are subject to innumerable stressors and pressure-cooker circumstances of a competitive-crazy world. Managing daily life itself is a stupendous task. There seems to be no time or patience for any thing or for that matter any person out of control or even out of the careful alignment with our regulated lives.

The careless and carefree child, both real and the one in all of us, must conform or convert to a sedate straight-jacketed adult.

Living on the leading edge of life in today’s rushed and rough times, involves both parents being actively engaged with careers that turn in the money to fund the household and lifestyle economies. Growing awareness of competitive careers and advancement vistas in the great big span of working life, has helped cast the dragnet over even the most the unsuspecting home-warming individual.

Bounding out of the couch of comfort, both men and women are brandishing degrees and skills that lay claim to jobs and careers that demand an all-consuming attention absorbing time and life like a gigantic blotting paper.

Regulation, regimentation, rigour are the watchwords of a timetabled life , driven by the need for bringing certainty and predictability to an anticipated incredible combo of a see-sawing roller-coaster life.
Instead of creative-constructs we seek regulated-regularity. The happy lull of mediocrity is the way to an undisturbed life. But ever so often Life has other plans….

What happens when we are faced with uncertainty , when our time tables have no meaning, when our plans find no place to unfold, when our carefully crafted lives are ripped apart by reality ?
What happens when all this happens because of our children ? Or the pressures put on our children ??

Such as competitive social lifestyles, expensive gadgets & gizmos, tuitions, peer-pressure, overly competitive exam pressures, study-load, rivalries at school / college, victimization by teachers, failure, fear-of-failure, success itself, substance abuse like smoking, drugs, alcoholism, absenteeism, sickness – real and imagined………… ???

Parenting can be a bizarre experience for both the parent and the child. Almost all parents, teachers and tutors expect the child to develop in to a superhuman composition of talent, knowledge, skills, competence along with vision, foresight, clarity of purpose, ambition, all neatly folded and pressed into the sharp edges of the shining blade of the sword of success. All this must of-course fit into the pre-constructed timetable of the mentor, unfortunately soon to be tormentor !

Parenting from afar, remote controlling results, financing concern, and funding the future is the order of the day today. But where is the Love ? Where is the Care and Compassion ? Where is the Connect between lives ? Where is the Soul of the family ?

The expected brusque answer you invariably get is : Where is the Time ? Aha ! Find Purpose and the Means usually follows. Alas, the Means is oft the End !

So here is a potful of parenting goulash for the modern family meal:

1. BE INVOLVED : Decide to set aside time to connect with your children every day. Get to know your child and let your child discover you. Give the gift of togetherness, it is far more precious than any other.

2. CONNECT : Be a parent and a friend – and draw the line clearly between the two. Shuffle the cards and no matter which falls first, you will always deal a good hand. This makes the transition easier as you both grow.

3. VALUE : Always value the child. The messenger is sometimes the hapless carrier of an incorrect message.. Reinforce your belief in the person even when you have to admonish the behavior.

4. CO-CREATE : Take a personal interest in shaping, not shoving, the child’s knowledge, skills and abilities, on a regular basis.

5. BE PATIENT : Do not expect miracles to happen. Give the child time to grow and learn. Do not rob your child of the delightful process of growing and learning, just as you cannot hasten the metamorphosis of the caterpillar into a butterfly.

6. SUPPORT & GUIDE : Be available to nurture the growth of your child- mental, physical, spiritual and emotional. It is important to move from choking controls of the regulating parent to performing as a nurturing parent within the footprint of the controlling parent. Which means while setting clear and enforceable rules, throw yourself into enabling and supporting performance within the rules.

7. COMMIT : Make a promise and keep it. Let you child see your commitment to the family. Demonstration of commitment is a sure fire way to build trust. Commitment means never giving up on promises, goals, dreams and especially people.

8. LEAD BY EXAMPLE : What you want your child to do, is best reflected in what you do and how you do it too. Role modeling is one of the most powerful ways to help your child grow by your own demonstration of the “right” way. We all remember what we see and practice. So give it a go, it will help you too !

9. FORGIVE : Learn to be generous. Bearing grudges and wielding the club of reform is hardly the way to conduct life. If you have to threaten , be prepared to carry out the threat, and bear the consequences. So wherever possible, forgive the messenger, and correct the message.

10 HAVE FUN : The bottom line here is so often in the red. What is life without a good dose of fun. Let your child grow in the sunshine of love and fun. Let the children of this world want to live on.

The Menu is the Meal. Bon App├ętit !!

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