Remember the time when we were at school? Apart from our usual “I don’t want to study” or “I want a holiday” issues, it was a pretty easy time. We were told what we had to do, we did it, learnt few things in the process, had real friends, lost a few ; all in all, truly living each day of our childhood the way it was meant to be lived. And here we are, decades later, watching our children in school with half the amount of patience and double the number of issues. Victoria Prooday, an occupational therapist with years of experience working with children, parents, and teachers, acknowledges the fact that children are getting harder to deal with at school. A feeling of entitlement looms over classrooms giving teachers a hard time. A decline in kids’ social, emotional and academic functioning too can be observed!
What went wrong? Why are things so different? Fortunately or unfortunately, there isn’t just one answer. Many factors contribute to this kind of behaviour.
Again, like many other behavioral problems today, the roots of this issue too lie in technology! Often, parents are seen using technology as a free baby-sitting service, which according to Prooday, isn’t free at all. One will be paying heavily for it, sooner or later. A child needs adequate exposure to human voices and interaction to be able to communicate effectively. And most importantly, a child requires parental emotional availability! At all times!
Next in line comes “instant gratification”. The millennial kids would be familiar with the concept of “parental glare”; that one looks that would make us jump up and do anything in the world. We were made to wait patiently for the good things and perhaps we valued it more thanks to that. Good or bad at that time, as adults, most of us believe that it was appropriate to have been delayed gratification at a young age; something that today’s children are completely unaware of. Almost as soon as their wants transform into demands, they have been fulfilled!
Furthermore, parents today are dictated by children. Statements like “oh he doesn’t eat vegetables” or “oh she hates sports”, are not only ensuring that you are letting them rule you, but also reaffirms their faith in the same, thereby ruling out the option of them ever trying it in the future.
To add on, the ideology of always wanting children to “have fun” leads them to expect a certain fun pattern everywhere, maybe even in school. They need to be taught to work at home, even if it means doing a few chores around the house. Moreover, playing with friends or learning a sport could teach them more than just team spirit and togetherness. Increased social interaction only means decreased online interaction!
To change the way our kids see the world, it’s time we change our way of dealing with them! Leave technology behind and let’s get back to our retro style of parenting! It’s time we look up to our parents and see how they did it so our children could enjoy their childhood they way we did!
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