A practical guide to raising responsible citizens

silhouette of man touching woman against sunset sky
Raising good citizens is a parent’s responsibility. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Great personalities like APJ Abdul Kalam, Ratan Tata, MS Dhoni, Sudha Murthy and many more from this league of extraordinary people were gifted to this nation in virtue of the excellent parenting skills of their parents. The qualities of honesty, hard work, patience, trustworthiness, patriotism, love and respect got imbibed in them by their parents which made them great leaders in their respective fields.

Parenting is an art and as parents, we have the responsibility to gift good citizens to our nation.

How overparenting dulls creativity & autonomy

Creativity increases in children when they study, work and think on their own for which giving them creative freedom is very essential. Seema, mother of Kishore, did all his school projects since he was busy from morning 5 a.m to 9 p.m with his tuitions, schooling, dance and piano classes along with IIT coaching in weekends.

He just scraped through his SSLC board exams but failed in 12th standard. Kishore is an example of “Jack of all trades but master of none” for the reason that he was overloaded, and the stress eliminated his creativity. He has become a cowardly person with poor self-esteem lacking self-confidence.

Children should be given the freedom to pursue the extracurricular activities of their own choice and the unfulfilled dreams of the parents should never be thrust on them. Each child in this world is unique having their own individuality and talent, which should be identified by parents.

adult affection baby casual
Setting boundaries is imperative to keep our children grounded. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Why setting boundaries is important

Just like allowing the kite to fly with its end being held in hands, parents should know where to draw the Lakshman Rekha or boundaries for giving freedom to their children. Since we cannot do away with gadgets completely, parents should emphasise on fixed TV time, with the program of their children’s choice, fixed mobile time with the game of their choice.

Why children misbehave

Here are some golden thoughts supposedly from Thirukkural written by a Tamil philosopher-poet Thiruvalluvar, more than 5000 years ago. Thirukkural is a book of 1330 couplets grouped into 133 topics about life skills and advice to people from all walks of life, be it rulers, men, women, and even for children. Some elements are summarized as:

  1. A child lies and remains secretive when parents reprimand harshly for their misbehaviour.
  2. A child has poor self-esteem and lacks self-confidence when parents criticize or advise them more than encouraging them.
  3. A child steals when parents are stingy or when they are not allowed to choose what they want.
  4. A child is cowardly when parents help them too quickly.
  5. A child is jealous when parents compare them with others.
  6. A child becomes openly defiant when parents threaten to do something but do not follow it.
  7. A child becomes harsh, arrogant and selfish when pampered too much.
  8. A child does not respect other’s feelings when parents have a dominant and commanding nature.
  9. A child is short-tempered when parents do not appreciate for good behaviour and show overreaction to misbehaviour.

All these could be corrected when parents raise their level by setting an example to their children and then explain to them clearly the ill-effects of their behaviour.

mother and daughter on grass
Be loving but firm. Don’t bend the rules. Photo by Daria Obymaha on Pexels.com

What’s your parenting style?

It is important to identify our parenting style to make a positive difference.

  1. Authoritarian parents are strict disciplinarians with less nurturing, less flexibility and high expectations.
  2. Permissive parents have limited or no rules and limited guidance with minimal guidance.
  3. Uninvolved parents give children a lot of freedom with few or no expectations.
  4. Authoritative parents are reasonable and nurturing. They are self-disciplined and demonstrate this style. Since they set an example for their children, this is considered as a better parenting style.

Be an Authoritative Parent

An authoritative parent devotes time to their children, explains clearly the rules to be followed at home, reprimands them when violated, appreciates them promptly and above all sets an example for their children. The best gift any parent can give to their child is spending quality time with them either playing, telling stories or sharing old memories with them. Then the child feels loved, accepted and shares its feelings.

Why listening to our children is important

In today’s nuclear families, we’ve lost the loving warmth-loving guidance of grandparents and while working parents who would love to spend time with their children are seldom left with any time for themselves, let alone their children. It’s time we ponder over it. If parents can strike a work-home balance, and try and become good listeners, then their children become open to sharing their ideas.

Parents should validate the child’s emotions unless it does not disturb others. When a child starts to share feelings and ideas with their parents, communication becomes easier and positive effects of good habits can be well explained to them. If a child fails to share anything free with parents, you have lost them.

young ethnic woman trying to work at home with active children
Set the rules. Children should value the rules. Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

Why saying ‘No’ is important

Parents need to indicate clearly that a “NO” means   a “NO” and an “YES” means an “YES”. They need to give things children ask for after analysing whether it is  required and learn to say NO  if  it  is  unworthy. Delay is absolutely needed in giving things children ask for. 

It is necessary to clearly explain the rules to children and if violated a privilege could be deprived of. Before going out shopping, Santhosh was clearly told that ice creams will not be given due to wheezing trouble; but he squatted on the floor of the mall crying adamantly to get him ice cream. His parents started to walk slowly from the ice cream parlour and he had no other option but to follow them. The next time he didn’t ask for ice cream while crossing the parlour and he was rewarded a toy car.  If parents give in too easily and every time,   then the next time the child is bound to throw more tantrums to get things done.

Children are a reflection of us

Authoritative Parents raise their own standard before parenting their children as they know that children are like a mirror reflecting their parent’s behaviour. If we expect that the child should not lie, we should not lie first.

How can we expect our children to stop watching TV or waste time on mobile phones, when we ourselves are not able to do it? We need to inculcate reading habits in them. When we read a lot, children too learn to read and it is necessary that we need to discuss with them what they have read says Sudha Murthy Founder, Infosys Foundation.

girl and puppy sitting on green grass surrounded with shrubs during daytime
Making children responsible for themselves, household work and pets make them better adults. Photo by Leah Kelley on Pexels.com

Life skills start early

Playing with the children in the neighbourhood, going to the market or shops helps children not only to socialise but also learn communication and life skills to help them deal with life in general.

Making children responsible for household chores

It is necessary that we train them to do small household chores like arranging, packing their own things, cleaning, gardening, taking care of pets, watering plants and so on and it is important to appreciate them when they do these on their own. We should never keep on reminding things that they have to do or take with them. Let them forget and learn from their mistakes. This helps them to have a good work-home balance when they grow up enabling them to lead a peaceful life.

Importance of gardening for children

Involving children in terrace gardening and cooking can help children to eat vegetables. Children like food from their own garden. Family dinners should be practised mandatorily in spite of busy schedules with the television switched off. It’s a time for family conversation. Let them have a choice over food but insist on having a bite of everything.

A parent’s gift to the nation – a good human being

Good parenting gifts a good citizen and a leader to the society and the nation. Just like how a strongly rooted plant yields good fruits, a happy well-disciplined child will be creative, good in decision making, successful and scale great heights.

As the great Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar had said, “It is the duty of every father (parent) to make him prominent in an educated assembly”, so “It is the duty of every son to make his parent proud by hearing others speak “What great penance his father would have done to bear him as his child.”

Contributor: Praba N (PhD)

About our Writing Program Student
Dr Praba N is an Associate Professor teaching Electronics & Communication Engineering at the Ghousia College of Engineering, Ramanagara, Karnataka. She is interested in content writing, as it is her long harboured dream to continue her passion of ’Essay writing ‘ which got left in school.

References

  1. What Is My Parenting Style? Four Types of Parenting

2. Inspiring Healthy Eating Habits for Kids

3. 12 Ways to Become a More Authoritative Parent

4. Important Parenting Tips By Sudha Murthy | Parenting Video Tips

5. Sudha Murthy Full Speech on Parenting| Sudha Murthy Inspirational Speech| Sudha Murthy

6. Challenging Parenting of New Generation – By Dr Sapna Sharma

7. Modern parenting

8. Know the Dangerous Mistakes of Parenting – Part 1

9. Children Are Not Wrong: Part 4: BK Shivani (English Subtitles)

10. 4 Thoughts To Increase Child’s Marks: Part 2: Subtitles English: BK Shivani

11. 1 Rule For Parent-Child Communication: Part 3: Subtitles English: BK Shivani

12. Solvendhar Suki Sivam Motivational Speech

13. Suki sivam Emotional Speech

14. Parenting: Raise Yourself Before You Raise Your Kids – Sadhguru

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