Childcare and You

Childcare and You

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mom, Give Me a Break...…Please

In this dog-eat-dog world, parents want their children to be on the top of every activity they undertake and in order to achieve that, they enroll their kids into a series of extracurricular activities, in addition to school work and tuition, leaving the kids with no time to even catch their breath. In fact, their schedule looks more complex than a treasure map and just as hard to reach.

The driving force behind such parental behavior is in part, due to an uncontrollable selfish desire to get your kids outdo other kids that are engaged in multitude of activities and partly because you want to give your kids everything that you lacked as a child. When you discover that your kids lack the inherent talent or interest in pursuing these activities, you rage at them, comparing them unfavorably with so-and-so’s kid, who is so ‘bright and clever’. The great spiritual leader Swami Chinmayananda once rightly said and I quote “You are upset with your kid not because he stood second in his class but because your neighbor’s son stood first” unquote.

When my kids were younger, I put them in music, dance, drawing and keyboard classes without finding out if they had an aptitude for them. I had hoped they would develop an interest later on and perhaps do well. My daughter had joined dance perforce to begin with but soon developed a keen interest which turned into a passion later on, to my delight, although her involvement in music and drawing died a slow death on account of total lack of interest.

My son, as it turned out, was a different kettle of fish and was not interested in anything artistic, although I had tried to garner his interest in instrumental music and drawing. I had him take a shot at dance too, which turned out to be a disaster and an eye opener for me. Like most parents, I had wanted my kids to have an opportunity to try everything I had thought was good, without giving any thought to their inherent interests. I knew my son loved sports, especially football but at the time I would not be easily swayed. I had soon realized however, that it was pointless imposing my interest on to him and let him pursue his football dream.

Children love to play and do all the fun kid’s stuff that is so important to them but they are swamped and over scheduled with extra activities that are exhausting and probably boring (to them), followed by tuition and homework, leaving almost no time to indulge in playtime. They are turning into automatons and merely going through the motions. Today’s kids are more stressed out than you were at that age and studies have shown that kids have unnatural anxiety levels on account of family dynamics, pressure to excel in school and outside, peer pressure and other social issues.

During my childhood, I had all the time to climb trees, play hide-and-go-seek, get dirty and do loads of outdoor stuff that kids these days are missing out as these cramped-with-activities schedule are eating into their limited playtime. As a concerned parent, you need to stop and ponder about your feverish urge to put your kid through grueling schedules just because you had lost your chance and want to live your dreams through your child. Life is all about creating a happy and stress free life for yourself and your children. Prioritize and choose activities wisely and make your home atmosphere a beautiful place for you and your family.

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