Good parenting is all about being friends with your children but not at the cost of discipline

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Dr Kouser Fathima

Parenting has become quite challenging. Gone are the days when we had option of both between being a strict parent and a lenient one. Neither appears to work now. Parents following both the methods fall short of parenting skills and , therefore, are left wondering where they went wrong .

As we grew up, we mostly had our good cop and bad cop strategy effectively functional in the family with one parent being strict and other being considerate.

Both the parents regularly shifted roles while they tried to discipline us. But, with time, the concept of befriending one’s own children gained popularity.  These parents now resented the strict approach and, instead, favoured a more friendly way of interacting with their kids.

Emphasis was now on bonding with their little ones and providing more freedom. Topics, which were previously not discussed were began to be openly discussed with kids. A very positive and giant step in parenting indeed.

But, there were still many parents, who simply found it hard to adapt to new concept of parenting. The mushrooming of electronic media and the subsequent impact of the West on our society were being seen as the culprits in this change of approach.

Counselors in schools noticed kids growing in a relaxed family atmosphere were more confident and compatible. While kids from a stricter environment, though were disciplined, lacked confidence.

There were merits and shortcomings in both methods of parenting, but we experienced a gradual change in the approach of the so-called “stick brigade.”

Perhaps they realised that a child, who is free to share one’s thoughts with parents and family was building an unbreakable bond with family. It also added to the safety as the child shared all good and bad experiences with the parents. Alert parents were able to pickup change in behaviour due to bullying in school and worse due to exploitation. It was a new phase in parenting and friendship with one’s child became the new style.

And yes, like all things even this did have its drawbacks. Due to relaxed rules, many kids began to move towards carelessness. They failed to see the responsibilities that came with the freedom. The idea of demonstrating discipline took a backseat and they almost felt they needed to reply back to or argue with parents as a matter of rule. Of course, this usually happened sub-consciously. Pitfalls of new-found freedom to express themselves before their parents.

This also led to increase in teenage tantrums, thereby giving rise to emotional blackmailing of parents. Soon, who were flying the flags for the friendly approach started doubting their conviction on the new concept of parenting.

So, in reality, it brought home the point that there’s no perfect technique for parenting. It is a blend of various methods, some amount of discipline aided with leniency goes a long way in achieving the desired results. No book or course can prepare you to face the task. Patience and proper communication are essential for good parents as they are required to spend time, discuss things but without becoming too casual should. You need to be friendly parents not just a friend. Friendly parents, who help their children(s) face challenges and make them disciplined and responsible in the process.

NOTE: Views expressed are the author’s own. Janta Ka Reporter does not endorse any of the views, facts, incidents mentioned in this piece.

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