Pic: Shree D N
Being a mommy blogger and more importantly a mother for sometime now, I have realized how many parents find it tougher to raise a child than ever before. On one hand, one is supposed to monitor the child’s activities so that he or she is guided in the appropriate path in life. On the other, parents are supposed to allow the child to grow independently and let the growing one celebrate freedom.
However, to prevent abuse and to ensure that the child is not misled by people, social media and various other distractions, a parent has to be constantly vigilant and on his or her toes to be able to take immediate action, about anything that may be suspected to cause damage to their child.
A recent video of a man forcibly trying to kiss a young child in a mall on a toy car ride sent shivers down the spines of many parents who saw the disturbing video. It made parents question whether they could set a boundary on monitoring their child’s life?
Does it include every second or minute, until the child is completely aware of taking charge of life. And when is that appropriate age? Not everyone has answers, but sharing such information to make other parents aware of unpleasant activities that can be hopefully avoided, does help. Many seem to agree that parenting in the current times is not an easy path to walk through.
Shuchi Chokhawala, a mother to young daughters, aged eight and five, says, “Earlier parents would be concerned about a few things like education or health; simpler things. Today, putting the child in a prestigious school, cannot guarantee the right development or safety, and this is a major concern. Moreover, tremendous cyber exposure is available, where children get hooked to it from the time they are toddlers. While this undoubtedly opens doors for knowledge, parents need to be cautious about what the child is learning.” Children easily get addicted to various gadgets. The trick is in ensuring that they use them the right way.
Agreeing that parenting has changed drastically, Pooneh Shah, mother to a teenage daughter and a six-year-old boy says, “Earlier, parents had it easier. There was no internet or mobiles that bombarded us with unwanted information. Today, although parents want children to be independent, it isn’t easy. We hear of many unpleasant incidents and that makes parents more alert and anxious. We want to monitor every aspect of the child’s life. Like many others, I too am forced to do many things which actually make my kids more dependent on me; a sad reality of parenting in today’s world.”
Given the scenario, it is therefore important that young people who want to be parents be aware that they must embrace this phase of life wholeheartedly, and not just because of pressure from family or relatives. It is also critical to understand that this phase comes with responsibility and that it needs to be treaded carefully. This obviously doesn’t make being a parent a less joyous experience.
However, one needs to take care to avoid donning the role of being a helicopter parent. There is a fine line between monitoring, and the damage of overdoing the responsibility. It is also essential to remember that regardless of whether one is a mother or a father to a child, we have equal responsibilities to raise responsible children. It is also equally important to make children aware of how they can take care of themselves in the world.
Parenting is tough, but not impossible.
Written by Reshma Krishnamurthy Sharma
Published originally in Citizen Matters on September 18th 2015
Reshma Krishnamurthy Sharma lives in Bangalore and loves reading and writing on society and changing lifestyles.