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Art of Parenting

Art of Parenting

Parents have a difficult time relating to their children. They bitterly complain about ‘their independent and impertinent behaviour’. That they have gone out of control and stopped relating to them. Almost all parents point their finger at the young and see no fault of their own. Little do they realise that the problem of relationship invariably emanates from parents. From their clinging attachment and possessiveness towards the children. In the absence of the intellect the constant emotional pressures exerted by them virtually strangulate the young. The first step to straighten relations is for the parents to realise their inherent weakness and make a careful study of the psychological traits of their children. 

Children are born with the capacity to absorb knowledge from the external world. It is called udana in Sanskrit language. Udana, the power of grasping fresh knowledge is maximum at birth and it diminishes with age. And when a person reaches ripe old age it practically disappears. That explains why youngsters absorb ideas and ideologies, trends and fashions faster while the older folks take much longer time. The disparity in time for such absorption causes what people term as a generation gap. With the result the old perceive the world differently from the young. 

This disparity leads to argument and altercation, confrontation and conflict between parents and their children. Neither of them is aware of this natural discrepancy. If either one understands that the other helplessly manifests his own nature then one would be tolerant and adjust one’s relation amicably. If both understand this simple phenomenon of nature and conduct themselves accordingly they would live in perfect harmony. But the problem humans face everywhere is the lack of such understanding on both sides which has strained, practically destroyed parent- child relationship. 

Moreover, children possess extraordinary energy. Effervesce with tireless passion and play. The older ones, parents lack energy and enthusiasm in life. They are prone to become tired, fatigued. And try to combat it with stimulants, weekend breaks and vacations. The reason for this contrast is the absence of worry and anxiety in children. While adults are plagued with worries of the past and anxieties for the future. 

Parents are not aware of this stark reality. In their desperation to exercise control over the children’s tireless activities they suffocate them with incessant restrictions and restraints. The solution to the problem lies not in stifling them thus. But in studying their natural tendencies and giving their energy a direction. This is possible when the adults possess knowledge of the higher values of life and practise them. By themselves living those values and educating the children, the parents should help the children’s energies flow in the right direction instead of stifling them. 

This procedure in dealing with family confrontations is akin to controlling road accidents. Where too many accidents take place there are two ways of avoiding them. One way, which is no way, is to reduce the speed limit of vehicles to a ridiculously low level. The other, sensible way is to provide drivers with proper road sense by educating them with traffic rules and regulations. So too, youngsters should be provided  with  value  education  rather  than  being showered with do’s and don’ts. The general trend in the world is that parents fail to set examples of right living but merely pester their children with ill-founded advices. To set the relationship right they will have to live the life they wish their young to follow and avoid giving them sermons. The late president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln had put this idea across succinctly: There is just one way to bring up a child in the way he should go and that is to travel that way yourself.  Therefore it is incumbent upon parents to set the standards through right examples for their children to follow.

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— Extract from “Governing Business and Relationships” book written by A. Parthasarathy.

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