(This blog is an excerpt from Ramen’s book Effective Parenting: A New Paradigm)
“Stop trying to perfect your child but keep trying to perfect your relationship with him.” – Dr. Henker
Last year I was in the office when I got a phone call. It was from my wife, Madhavi. Her voice was shaking.
“Ramen, Mr. Tripathy’s daughter has committed suicide. Let us rush.”
Mr. Tripathy was Madhavi’s senior colleague in the Marketing Department. His wife was a physician.
Later we came to know that the girl, a student of class ten, had been exceptionally good in academics. She had not done well in the Math paper in the board exam and as a result her position in the school had slipped. The day after the result was announced she had killed herself.
We read in the newspapers or see on television, news of numerous cases of children seeking psychiatric help, resorting to drug abuse and even committing suicide. We are swamped with images of young, impressionable souls fighting to regain their sanity and struggling to survive. Who is to blame for this state of affairs? We as parents cannot absolve ourselves completely.
Many parents treat their child like a performing animal – someone through whom they can meet their unfulfilled aspirations, someone whose achievements they can wear like a badge on their chest, someone whose brilliance can enhance their status in the society. Today, competition is the key word and the so-called rat race starts in nursery itself. Every parent wants his kid to be not only the best but better than his neighbour’s or his colleague’s child.
Putting the entire onus on parents is also not quite correct. One should not forget that in today’s world of increasing population, decreasing opportunities and cut throat competition the law of the jungle reigns supreme. And in the concrete jungles this law reads: Survival of the smartest. Aspirations have risen and so have wants.
Yesterday’s luxuries have become today’s necessities. In this scenario all well-meaning parents want their children to do the best to get the best. However, in the process of aiming for the sky the ground realities are forgotten; as a result we have fractured hopes and unrealised dreams, with life itself becoming a nightmare.
What then is the solution? Obviously there are no quick-fixes. Like in all other areas of parenting, balancing the child’s work and play, the development of the personality with the growth of the career, the internalising of values with the pursuit of success, needs a dexterity, which would put the abilities of even the most skilful juggler to test.