In the older times, children in Indian households grew up on scarce resources with restricted personal spaces in the house. There weren’t many electronic gadgets – a shared TV with limited channels, a family radio or a transistor. With limited avenues of entertainment inside or outside the house, children played simple games in the neighborhood or board games at home.
Positive parenting skills were about leading a simple life, with emphasis on good quality of education at local schools. Households survived on meager family income. Fathers were the main earning members and mothers were either homemaker or had a minor supporting job.
The parenting style was mostly autocratic with no parenting skills checklist and parenting skills workshop. Children revered their parents’ wishes and conformed to their advice on career and personal life. They chose careers of their parents choice and married the person selected by the family.
The times have changed now and with changing times, new styles of parenting evolved. In the twenty-first century, the average income of a middle class household has risen many notches above that of their parents due to an emerging and developing economy, better job opportunities, international work environment and a surge in family income due to both the parents earning.
On the positive side, the rise in family income and higher levels of education of both parents opened up new avenues and experiences for the children. Families have comfortable homes to live in, spend more time traveling together, have access to better educational institutions and advanced level of studies.
However, in the fast-paced world, modern age parenting became an emotional rollercoaster with unique conflicts to resolve.
Erstwhile, the joint family system helped children develop virtues of caring, sharing, carving individuality and developing resilience, new age parenting of nuclear families with no immediate family support struggles to inculcate the value of sharing, appreciation, and gratitude for the materialistic fulfillment to the children.
The evolution of the internet in the past decade has changed the paradigm of living. Everything is available at a click or a swipe on smartphones or a computer. It has become a world of abundance and instantaneous gratification. The wider reach of internet has also opened up the world of knowledge and plethora of information is available to children as well as parents.
With both the parents working, children tend to get independent at an early age. Many children spend after school hours either at the day boarding or under the supervision of household help with unrestricted and easy access to the internet. This can rest in lackadaisical approach to studies and career by growing children. Also, peer influence at school can expose them to misleading information parents are not privy of.
Now, the question that arises is: how do modern age parents avoid the pitfalls of modern times and raise sensitive global citizens of the world?
There is no right or wrong positive parenting definition. Each family dynamic is different and so are their circumstances. The main aim of parenting is to be a guiding force, to provide, to protect, secure and mentor the children. Sharing some positive parenting skills here in the next article for “modern age” parents.
This commissioned article was first published on a school portal. Reproducing on the blog with due permission.This is Part 1. Part 2 is here.
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