Changing attitude of the parents

Mousumi Kalita Sachdeva
With the increasing competition among the students and more challenging paths for career, we undoubtedly see more concerned parents to guide their children for their success. The concerned parents may however be seen in two categories. And these two different attitudes somewhere and somehow create confusions to one class of parents who are seen to be influenced by the one or the other due to their inability to realize the needs of their own children. Moreover, with the growing concerns of the parents, the terms ‘stress’ and ‘depression’ have undeniably gained heights in the life of the so called ‘educated’ class of our society.
Gone are the days, when we used to hear parents narrating stories to their children as a part of education. Parents term themselves to be very ‘practical’ today.  We also cannot deny the fact that practicality is the need of the hour where we find most of the families with working parents. But, while choosing to be practical, are we not somehow failing to impart the right kind of education to our children? Are our working conditions so severe that restrain us from adopting the old yet the best methods of imparting values to our children? Are we somewhere and somehow failing to learn the art of time management which is again a common term (Time Management) we want our children to embrace? Having talked to a working mother, I was compelled to carry my research further on the changing attitudes of the present day parents. She expressed, “I have put my child with the best tutor available. I have just a Sunday with me in the entire week and I don’t want to stress myself.”Now, are we concerned about the stress level of our children in reality or are we concerned more about ourselves than our children? However, views change from parent to parent. It would never be correct to group everyone under the same umbrella. Having taken part more into such discussions, a wider and varied picture could be seen making the definition of ‘concerned parents’ more complicated. Some of the heard statements were, “I do not care about the marks of my son. I don’t want to stress him,” “I never sit with my daughter while she studies. She is independent. Let her do what she wants or else she will be stressed,” These conversations indeed become absorbing at times. A young mother queries, “My child is five years old and she is adamant. She leaves blank paper in her exams and answers only when in mood.” Fortunately she receives a ready answer from a parent, “Don’t stress her. She will learn with time.” Whereas a parent seemingly strict interferes by saying that she cannot withstand her child scoring less. Thus we find a platform to categorize the different concerns or attitudes of the parents.
From the present day talks, ‘stress’ has certainly become an alarmed issue. We have the threat of stress having chances of attacking right from a five year old child to an elderly person. Parents in the fear of stressing their children choose to accept the path of silence than confronting with the issue of stress. After examining the scenario of the concerned parents of the modern generation, we highly feel that the parents today need to be firstly trained to manage and cure stress before dealing with their children. Stress Management is the dire need of the hour today. Shouldn’t we learn to train our children to manage stress rather than fearing from this negative term? Shouldn’t we find out ways and means to make our children so strong that the terms ‘stress’ and ‘depression’ have no existence in their life? Letting the child be happy with the blank pages in the examination is never a solution to avoid stress. Letting the children go according to their whims may help to get rid of the momentary stress but, it may be the greatest cause of depression in the child in the future course of time when they have to face a more challenging journey. Waiting for the right time for the child to learn may be too late when things may go out of control. Letting the child independent is really appreciable; but sitting with her may help in giving her moral support. And, also a child’s marks should not be the sole criteria of success. Sometimes, parents must control their emotions and let the child gain knowledge rather than mere marks.
Now, what actually do we mean by the term ‘stress? The term ‘stress’ was coined by Hans Selye who defined it as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change.” However this definition could not last long leading to many confusions. With more use of this term, stress was viewed in the negative picture ignoring its positive impacts. Research also shows that stress to an extent can be helpful to know an individual’s capabilities and stimulates people to accomplish more. In this highly progressive modern world, stress is indeed a challenge and not necessarily a ‘threat’. It is therefore essential that we train ourselves and equally train our children to manage stress right from a beginning stage by adopting a positive attitude and never using the term ‘stress’.  We must reframe this term with ‘challenge’ so that the growing children become strong to fight and challenge their difficulties. The children, if given an easy and relaxed ground to grow may fail to face challenges in future thus falling prey to the term ‘depression’. It is how we teach them to react to a challenging, the so called ‘stressful’ situation. Moreover, if we denounce the school or the college curriculum and the syllabus for the upswing of stress, it would never be justifiable. Way back, if we look at the old curriculum, the syllabus seems to have been hard-hitting than the present day courses.
The final examinations covered the syllabi of all the terms, whereas today, stress being again the concern, the education board has lightened the burden. There were also the days where our seniors had to cover the syllabi of two classes including the ninth and the tenth standard, eleventh and twelfth courses in their High School examinations and Higher Secondary respectively. But little had we heard about the terms ‘stress’ and ‘depression’ in those days. There were no Air Conditioned Classes or buses nor smart classes. Yet, students rarely had taken shelter under these negative terms. Over a period of time, with technology being more advanced, facilities heightened, parents more concerned, the children seem to be more aware of the terms ‘stress’ and ‘depression’. Aren’t we allowing our children to become more involved with these terms by our over concerned attitudes? Today the parents fear to turn down the demands of the children while dreading to see their children revolt and suffer from ‘depression’. But aren’t we allowing are children to take advantage of these destructive terms? Instead of training them to face and manage the difficult situations, we are making them faint-hearted and delicate failing to understand the fact that this delicacy may give birth to depression in future if they fail to achieve what they desire.
It is high time we realize the need of the hour. Our changing concerns and attitudes must be analysed and checked before we preach our approach to grow our children. It would be worthwhile to make our children strong to meet challenges of life rather than give them the space to take shelter under the terms ‘stress’ and ‘depression’. The books, examinations and the entrusted tasks must not be welcomed as pressures of life but as duties and responsibilities. Let us develop healthy responses to our children’s needs and queries and prepare them for a challenging future.
(The writer is a novelist and a trainer of Soft Skills and English                     Language at United College of Engineering and Research, Allahabad)