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Wednesday, May 09, 2018
By Lina Ashar

Twenty-five-year-old Gaurav is an engineering graduate. With a GPA of 10 all through his academic career, Gaurav does not know what it is to be the second best. Having moved three jobs he is unable to stick to any job for more than three months. He cannot handle criticism. Gaurav’s father, Rajesh just doesn’t know what to do.

Rajesh and Rakhi never had a ‘bad day’ at Gaurav’s school. Intellectually gifted, every Open House was a proud day in their lives. Report cards on how their son was the future of the country adorned Gaurav’s book shelves. Topping almost every competitive exam, entering the best engineering college in the country to being handpicked at the campus placement for the most lucrative job, Gaurav had done it all.

But today he is on shaky grounds. He rarely agrees with his boss and his juniors tease him. His name is synonymous with a loner. He is never a team player.

Where had Rajesh and Rakhi faltered?
Though they motivated him to study and excel, they never let him develop friendship. He never went for birthday parties. He usually got books and computer games as gifts. Never was he gifted board games or anything that he could do in a group. He spent lonely evenings as a child, pouring over his books when kids his age were out in the streets having fun. Ever confident that academic success will ensure success in life, his parents displayed all his medals on the showcase for all to see. Each time he saw the medals he was reminded that he had to deliver a perfect show next time around too.

Parents carry their own baggage while rearing their kids. At times they never grow up to be adults themselves. The child in them wants to take refuge in their own parents, the system and every external source of strength rather than their own inner one. They do not evolve themselves nor do they allow their kids to evolve. Evolution happens when you break the norm.

Parents who transfer their ambitions to their children and try to live their dreams through them do not realise how their actions can prove detrimental to the future of their kids. The pressure to measure up to the expectations of the parent plays on their mind. Once they begin to succeed, they begin to exert the pressure of having to rise up to their own expectations. Any failure lowers their self esteem.

Gaurav, today, is looking out for help to restore his self esteem

Are you nurturing a Gaurav in your house?
Three-year-old Nishith refused to go to school one fine day. Try as much his parents couldn’t convince him to go to school. The teachers also grew worried. As far as they knew, Nishith enjoyed school. He picked up things fast. And he really had a good time in school. What had gone wrong? So his teacher went home. While speaking to him, she realised that the day prior to the one he stopped school; he had made a mistake while doing his writing. Though the teacher had only corrected him, he was reprimanded by his mother very severely for this mistake. And little Nishith was upset and angry at himself and the school. The school had made Mama angry with him. He wouldn’t come to school. He wouldn’t make any more mistakes. Mama wouldn’t get angry with him and that was all that mattered in the life of little Nishith.

My next case spans three generations. Raghunath Singh, from the First Generation believed that children should only be seen and not heard. A military incumbent, he believed only in ordering his kids like he did his soldiers. His word was always the final. His kids had no say in any decision whatsoever. He never asked for their opinion. He believed that kids were meant to be implicitly obedient.

Rahil, his teenage son grew up an angry man. Angry with his father for never letting him do what he wanted as a child, he rebelled against Raghunath Singh. He refused to join the army, walked out of his home in Punjab, ran away to Bombay (as it was called in those days) and struck it out on his own. Slowly and surely he built up his own business and became a successful businessman. He lived life king size.

This second generation father was thrilled to see his son Tanay growing up into a strapping young lad. The rebel in Rahil ensured that he would do nothing that his father did. He let Tanay do what he wanted. Tanay grew up to be a free spirited boy who never knew any boundaries. No limits were set for him. The best schools, the best books, the best movies, the best toys, the best parties among his group of friends: Tanay had them all.

His father is the ‘coolest’ father in his gang. His friends envy him. Rahil never denies Tanay anything. He is constantly praised for everything he does.

Tanay today is confused. He is unsure of himself. He lacks a sense of direction in life. He doesn’t know if his father Rahil can give him any answers. He feels his father is a good friend but doesn’t know to whom to turn to when he needs a philosopher or guide. His father does not exude the comfort that he seeks .He lacks faith. His father failed to nurture faith in him.

The main issue which stalks all the above cases is the lack of communication. All parents, Rajesh and Rakhi, Raghunath Singh or Rahil, all failed to communicate with their children. They projected visions of what a ‘child’ is to their children. They tried to mould them in that manner. They never tried to find out what the kids wanted.

Gaurav is product of the parents’ misplaced pride in success and achievement.

Rahil is a product of misplaced regulations and discipline.

Tanay is a product of misplaced anger.

When was the last time you shook yourselves up and thought, “What am I telling my kids”?
Words have a major impact on anyone; children have an even more impressionable mind – it’s high time we take a step back and place our misguided emotions onto the little ones as it affects their education, mind and overall development.

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