Here I shall share my views on how effective communication with children is a must for nurturing happy families.
Today, while technology has shrunk our planet and earthlings are a touch (screen) away from each other, sadly it is this very same technology that has built invisible, yet almost in-divisible walls, within the family. TV, mail, Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Playstation – parents and children are so busy reaching out to people beyond borders that they neither have the time nor the inclination to connect within their homes. Family time which meant dinners, picnics, games (real not virtual) has been replaced by individual obsessions driven by technology.
I am not against social media or the other myriad uses of the internet. My only point is nothing should intrude into family time and parent-child communication should be seen as sacrosanct.
By communication I don’t mean just any kind of interaction but effective communication which would enhance trust between the parent and child, create mutual respect and ultimately lead to a happy family. Rather than defining effective communication, let me exemplify what effective communication is not.
Effective communication is not patronizing, talking down or being sarcastic. Once I overheard my colleague Jugal telling his 12-year-old son, “When I was your age I used to walk one mile to my school in the heat and dust, in the rain and cold and yet get the first rank every time. And look at you. You go in a chauffeur-driven a/c car and yet you don’t figure even in the top ten!” Our neighbour Sushma often tells her daughter, “I left a very nice job, so that I could give you all the attention you needed. I thought my sacrifice would pay off and get you into a top medical college. But my entire effort has gone waste. You didn’t even get admission into a b-grade institute.”
You can well imagine what kind of damage such insensitive remarks would have caused the youngsters. You will notice in both these remarks there is no sense of concern or respect for the child.
Respect? I see raised eyebrows! By respect I don’t mean you have to genuflect before your kid. I only mean that you don’t have to treat your child as a pedigree animal, someone you pet whenever you have the time, indulge in a bit of horseplay, pay through your nose for training/teaching, ask to perform tricks before an audience (“Beta recite the poem on your mother, which won you the first prize, before Chadda aunty”) and wear its achievements like a badge.