In my understanding never in the history of humanity there has been so much focus on parenting as it is in todays time. It is one of the most over spoken, over thought and perhaps the most under delivered area of life today.

And it has taken me more than 5 years and 3 kids to actually pause today and think about what is the fuss about parenting.

I have a daughter who is 5 years and 9 months, along with her I have the privilege of being guardian to by elder brother’s (who passed away last year) kids aged 19 and 16. 

My whole Idea of parenting was built around a structure where I need to put the kids under rigorous scrutiny and training so that they are able to fulfill the notion that parents build of growing up “perfect” teenagers and adults.

Let me be honest, I had been a lot inspired by reading the books on performance enhancement. If you go through autobiography of any successful person who has excelled in any skill like sports, music, painting etc. you would find that they started really early, were very disciplined in their routine, had a good coach around them etc. etc. 

As a parent this is the first mistake that anyone can do where in we start building an entire world of successful kids in our head and raise our bar of expectation. And this is where all the friction begins, the gap between expectation and reality builds friction and eventually we start nourishing an undesirable relationship with our kids.

Here are few challenges  that I would love to reflect on so that we develop an understanding of the challenges that the kids of todays generation face.

Too Many Stakeholders

“Ek Phool 6 Maali” – I use this phrase very often in my friend circle when we sit down to discuss the problems in parenting. It basically means that there are too many gardeners trying to take care of the same plant. You can imagine what happens to the plant when 6 people try to water it throughout the day.

Today most of the couples have single kid and live with their parents. The kid now have to process information from parents and grand parents. Each of these stakeholder has unique style and in most of the cases some sort of unrealistic expectation. 

Too much of pampering from maternal grand parents, expectation based nurturing from paternal grand parents and overdisciplined parenting structure from parents is the recipe for making of a confused kid.

The Distraction Bomb

The number of options that todays kids have to get distracted from their job at hand is exponentially increasing. 3 decades ago it took walking 1 km to cricket ground, waiting for 10 friends to join, favorable climate and adequate supply of bat and ball for a cricket game to start. I can easily recall the number of times I would sit down to study just because there was so much pain to start a cricket match. 

Today it just takes a device which is 10 m away and a single swipe to open the world of distractions. Apart from this, with the spending economy at its peak, the kids today have more than required toys to play with. To sum it up, there are more opportunities for distraction than to focus.

Expectation Overlap

Parents look upto their role models and try to emulate their success Mantra onto their kids. To be honest, it is good to understand what habits make people successful. But it is the associated expectations that pollutes the entire intent. I have faltered at the same hurdle. But thankfully I am able to pause at this point of time. I have seen how detrimental it has been to parent child relationship in some families.

Grand Parents want the kids to be at their Moral best. All the burden to act good, to pray on time, to eat on time etc. etc. 

When I look at an (not so) Ideal day of todays child, its filled with above challenges every moment. They have to navigate through so many people at home and outside. Leave aside the competition and plethora of extra curricular activities where the ranking system and winner takes all model builds further psychological burden.

To every reader, who is a parent, or will be in future, my humble request is to Pause, Step into your Kids shoes, and then act.

Thank you for reading.