The race from one coaching centre to another and endless extracurricular charted out to fit into a kid’s daily schedule hints at modern Indian parents’ new obsession – raising perfect kids. It is just not enough to get first rank in class, or be crowned a spelling bee champion, or win gold medal in badminton. Parents want their kids to excel in every possible aspect of their lives, and display impeccable language skills, manners and obedience to their parents commands, while they are at it. How many kids are asked what they would like to do with their time? Do they even have any interest in sports, or dancing or art? Would they rather play in the park? Also, why are we so afraid of imperfections? Just don’t we want to raise our kids into regular human beings with their set of flaws and goodness? Isn’t that inevitable after all, no matter what we want?
- A lot of parents these days want their kids to be proficient in all aspects.
- They want their kids to be excellent in studies, sports, art, all the while being perfectly behaved.
- But does perfect guarantee a bright future, devoid of any misfortune?
- Do parents see shortcomings in their children as a sign of parenting failure?
I’ve come across a lot of parents who take personal offense when their kids exhibit signs of so-called imperfections. It’s not just about scolding your kid when she or he misbehaves.
They want their children to be able to read books and recite poems flawlessly by the time they are three! They fret if their kids display any traits like anger, laziness or stubbornness. But we are raising tiny humans and not machines. It is okay for them to not be able to strap their sandals by the time they are five, or not be able to tell time, or be angry, sad, afraid and even gullible. However, a lot of parents see apparent shortcomings in the form of poor scholastic performance, display of fear or anger, etc. as a parenting failure. They see “failure” to meet their parameters of perfection as a question mark on them as parents.
Perhaps parents today look back at their own childhood and see lack of exposure and money as the factors which impeded their growth into super successful adults. Someone wanted to be a dancer, but there was no dance school in their village. Others wanted to learn to paint, learn foreign language or pursue sports, but their parents didn’t have much resource. They feel that since they can provide training and opportunities, they are entitled to demand that their kids excel in all possible fields. In their heads such parents think that all round perfection will guarantee that their kid has a bright future, never gets into trouble suffers from heartbreak.
Perhaps parents today look back their own childhood and see lack of exposure and money as the factors which impeded their growth into super successful adults.
But alas, that is not how life works. Rich or poor, good in studies or otherwise, every person has to face struggles in her or his life. Childhood, the most carefree period in a person’s life, isn’t worth sacrificing on half a promise of a stellar future. Also, it is risqué to teach a child to suppress their emotions. If you do feel your child is unusually emotional, then consult with a child counsellor before taking matters in your own hand.
It is high time that Indian parents learned to embrace their kids for who they are. There is no such thing as a perfect person or a perfect life. No matter how much we provide to our kids, life will sometimes be unkind to them and thus they will have their share of struggles. We can’t train them for every situation. We can’t code them with goodness and weed out flaws from their personality at our will. What we can do is fill them with love and strength so that they can deal with their troubles and conquer their personality issues, instead of feeling ashamed of having let down their parents.