Many would agree that parenting today is vastly different from our parents’ generation. In the past, mothers were the ones who stayed at home to take care of the children while fathers brought home the bacon. In today’s society with both parents working, most children are cared for by their nanny, grandparent or left at the childcare. Families are financially more stable but have lesser time to spend with their children. How do we nurture our children with such limited time?
Parent vs School
Caring for and protecting our children while they are growing up is every parent’s duty. When they reach the school-going age, they spend at least six to seven hours per day learning in school. Should we depend excessively on the school and let the school be responsible for guiding and nurturing our children? Academic and moral values are taught in every school. School teachers are well equipped with the knowledge in academy education. Although schools do teach their pupils moral values, how much personal attention would parents expect from the school? Are we depending on the school to be the moral compass?
There is an old saying, “it takes a village to raise a child”. Teachers help to reinforce what’s “right” and “wrong” – but we should not depend wholly on the school to inculcate moral values in our kids. Such education should go beyond the classroom.
Children pick up socio-emotional skills from their parents from a young age. Psychologists also came to the conclusion that the phase between three to five years of age is pertinent to teaching them how to discern right from wrong. The early experiences children have with their parents can shape their personalities and attitudes in later life. All these help lay a firm foundation upon which a mature value system is built.
Through his formative years, a child will set foot in numerous classrooms and learn from different teachers. Nonetheless, parents remain constants throughout a child’s life and continue to impart many important lessons at home as with in schools.
Therefore, it is imperative that parents build a strong bond with the child, such that they are in a stronger position to educate and inculcate values. Since parents play a significant role in a child’s development, it would be counterproductive if what is taught in school contradicts what children observe at home.
Parent vs Gadget
While you are at work, shopping, having dinner or busy with your housework, what is the best option in your opinion to keep your child occupied? Would you resort to using electronic gadgets? You might have the best intentions, however, the repercussions of it might not be desirable. Undeniably, distracting them with mobile devices is the most convenient way to stop your kids’ tantrum. During meal time, free time, or even family time, mobile devices have become the best companion to the kids. Mobile devices become their “soul mate”, friend, and sometimes a confidante for their deepest thoughts. For instance, if a child is experiencing troubles in school, they might turn to social media instead of confiding in their parents. This is a growing trend among kids and teenagers. However, shouldn’t parents be fulfilling all these roles for your kids? Should the responsibility of engaging kids belong to the gadget?
Children with excessive screen time may not be able to nurture their social skills such as communicating, compromising, or negotiating. Gadgets may seem like a simple way to keep children distracted, unfortunately, they reduce parent-child bonding time drastically. Should parents be the ones engaging their child instead?
Shockingly, while even under the same roof, families with children sometimes text one another rather than have an actual dialogue. Dining together is one of the best times to bond between family members. Instead, family members choose to use their smartphones. This results in much tension with children being distracted while parents try to communicate. Some parents also try to placate their child with a gadget instead of going to the root of the problem during tantrums or defiance. This should not be condoned and parents need to stop using gadgets as a form of bribery.
The negative impact of excessive gadget time can be deadly to families. Hence it is important to have “blackout” time by putting away all mobile devices to focus on one another. Read a book to your kids, bring them for outdoor activities like cycling, or talk with them about their future. These activities are much more meaningful than simply handing them a mobile device.
Parents vs Money
Perhaps you are financially capable to provide your kids with material means, but it is not wise to let your child treat you as his automated cash dispenser. It is easy to please our children materially. Some parents may think showering gifts on a child can make up for days of absence or lack of quality time. Others may think expensive toys help maximise the child’s learning and development. Truth be told, would spending mindlessly on our child really win their trust and affection?
Every parent hopes to provide their child in the best way they can afford. Sometimes this can result in indulging our child and giving them whatever they demand. Most of the time, these demands are merely wants and not needs. With wants so easily met, children do not understand the value of money. This information is key to financial management in future years. When children become “adult children”, many parents find it hard to let go financially. Some parents offer to help before they were asked to. This would hinder the child from solving his or her problems on her own. For instance, your child decides he wants to have the latest iPhone X, especially since his classmate owns one too. Instead of teaching him that he doesn’t need a new phone, you decide to get it for him since he asked for it. Would this result in your child taking for granted that demands are so easily met without an inch of effort on his part? Would we be encouraging habits of instant gratification?
Remember the first step your child took when he or she started to walk. He/She would learn to balance, how to break the fall and not fall in future. If he is living beyond his means and in financial difficulty, try not to handhold him too much. Instead, vocalise your concerns and let him figure out his problem and how to solve it.
Parenting is a lifelong duty. While providing for your child’s physical needs is a fairly straightforward matter, trying to provide for your child’s emotional needs can be tricky. Nurturing young lives take much time and commitment. However, outsourcing these duties may not help the child nor your relationship with him/her.
The school has a limited role to play in your child’s life while gadgets and money are tangibles that do not engage the child thoroughly. Take a closer look at your child’s holistic development and we are sure you can support them without relying on other resources too much!