The way parents and guardian are raising their kids with various technologies and comfort is not empowering them to tackle challenges facing the world.
--BY DR. VIBHUTI JHA
We all want young generations (those who are attending colleges and universities and those who have freshly started their careers) to take up the responsibilities to usher in positive changes in various segments of society ranging from culture, politics, business to education for the speedy development of the country. However, a million dollar question arises, whether young generation is prepared to take up the responsibilities. And are we grooming them rightly?
Is new generation really prepared to tackle the challenges? Frankly speaking, the new generations of youths attending colleges and universities have not become mature in heart and mind. They are not ready to meet expectations. Parents and guardians are primarily responsible for such a scenario. Todays’ youths are spoiled by parents and we are shifting blame to society, schools, western culture.
Why are children becoming irresponsible?
Where have things gone wrong?
What needs to be done to correct the wrongs?
These days, parents provide their kids with all the facilities, including comfort, material goods, etc., which the parents themselves could not avail in their childhood. They do so because they feel happy and satisfied when they provide children with all the amenities they were deprived of in their own childhood. In the name of good parenting, parents are pampering and spoiling their wards. Today’s youths have comfortable place to live, and are surrounded by laptops, gadgets, internet and other modern amenities.
Since these parents have a lot of resources, they are handing them to their kids but not inculcating in them the moral values, importance to time, crisis management skills, discipline, value of education and learning, ethics, and civil behaviours. Over-protection and pampering in the name of good parenting have stalled the youths from growing naturally and becoming independent.
Overprotection and over-care are becoming popular because a couple these days has very few kids and commercialization has made us treat kids with specialty. Because of the impacts of marketing, branding, positioning, advertising activities all around us, parents start believing that whatever marketers are suggesting is good for kids to grow healthy and wise.
The special treatment to kids especially by “established, successful or capable parents” which starts even before arrival of kid continues to make them feel like kids even after they have become grown-ups.
With growing age, a kid accomplishes maturity, says Sigmund Freud’s theory. Parents, however, continue pampering their wards, preventing the natural development of the children. Youths spend their times in cartoons, video games, clothes, laptops, and gadgets when they should be venturing out to experience real world to grow and mature.
When children reach the ages when they should be experiencing harsh realities, parents display too much love and too much care making them feel small girls and boys. With information at one’s fingertips, “modern parents” confine their kids to houses, making them self-centered and anti-social.
Modern parents want to correct mistakes of their parents through their children. They also wish to accomplish their unfulfilled dreams from their children.
When children reach the ages of 10-12 years, they become confused. They behave like small kids to get favours from their parents. Due to their access to the free flow of information and ideas, they tend to believe that they have grown up and matured. At this age, parents want their wards to behave and act responsibly and maturely. Parents start comparing their kids to other kids saying that other kids are responsible and behaving well. This comes as shock to their kids. Due to changing societal scenario, growing in ages, educational expectations, work pressures, lack of proper parental mentoring, changing priorities of life and careers, changing engagements, parents will have “no time” for child at his crucial ages of 12-14.
This change in parents’ behaviours and expectations becomes alarming for a growing boy/girl and his/her behaviour starts to change. Psychologists say that parents should stop treating kids like children when they attain latency stage of personality development. Natural change in treatment is always good but the abrupt change in treatment is never good. We are making this mistake without realizing the adverse impact of such change of treatment to the children.
Between ages of 5-6 years (Phallic stage), there is no problem when the kid is really a kid, totally dependent upon parents. This is established in Freud’s theory of 5 developmental stages where in each stage – the oral, the anal, the phallic, the latent, and the genital are required to be taken care of by parents to avoid problems.
But things start going wrong when parents treat the boy or girl like small kid even at the fourth stage i.e., the Latency stage (which is from age 6 to puberty) leading them to confusion. In fact, the 5th stage – genital, actually reaches well before the 12 year due to prolific access to every kind of exposures, leading/misleading marketing communications, right/wrong references, and not the least, due to correct/incorrect internet bombardments.
Early exposures to the world and childlike treatment at home simultaneously harm the developmental process, self-confidence and attitude of children. This gives birth to questions the kids’ minds.
Between 8-10 years, the child gets exposure to all kinds of stuffs but is unable to differentiate right from wrong ones. This makes children muddled about their own capabilities, liking, disliking, competencies and their sexuality. By the time children are at grades seven and eight, parents feel happy seeing their kids accessing the internet and operating electronic gadgets. But, they hardly take time to check if their wards are into undesirable contests such unrealistic games, porn and adult contents and others.
Addiction to seducing contests and virtual world pushes children away from their studies and everyday world. Since boys and girls spend their times in virtual world, they barely talk to their parents, causing loss of faith in them. Rather, children trust their peers and start turning away from their parents.
In such a situation, parents suddenly start expecting their kids to grow, behave differently and become mature on their studies, extracurricular activities, competitions, and social activities. When children reach grades 6 to 7, parents who were once helping kids in projects, assignment, learning etc. in junior classes find it difficult to help them anymore due to limited intellectual capacity of their owns.
Not receiving help from parents puts children in trouble. They start feeling that “parents have changed now”. Slowly, kids begin to distance themselves from their guardians and parents. Children open up with their peers but maintain distance at home. At this stage, kids need the real help and support as they are in the puberty, the fifth stage of Freud’s theory. Parents do not make efforts to understand children’s likes, dislikes and interests but press them to become what they want them to become which often does not match to the kids’ choice.
Then the blame game starts, the child finds alienated from parents, and parents find him behaving strangely and a teacher at schools find the child problematic. Parents think that their kids have now grown-ups. Kids, however, still feel little. As a result, they fail to grow mature and responsible human beings. They demonstrate erratic and strange behaviours in schools.
Many students lose their concentration in grades from nine to twelve as they are confused about their roles, responsibilities and parents’ change of behaviour. Bad parenting leaves the kids confused and incompetent to cope with the real world since they fail to develop and learn skills to grow independently.
Many studies and observations lead us to believe that parents have the onus to groom their kids as per kids’ interest, liking, talents and potentials. Parents have the responsibility to help kids grow naturally. Parents have to abandon over protection and over care so that children start growing naturally and don’t expect their parents to do everything when they grow up. Over pampered and overprotected children disdain the idea of teaching and learning pedagogy at high schools and colleges as they prefer to go back to their comfort zone built by their father and mother.
Despite being physically grown-ups, children avoid parents, teachers and study and professional careers. They still prefer to behave like kids. Devoid of qualities such as teamwork, sharing, collaboration, accountability, today’s youths will have a big trouble to become responsible professionals, good citizens and good leaders. Bad parenting robs children of principal qualities such as team work, being responsible, discipline, values and ethics which they should possess in their adulthood.
Kids must be taught such qualities at the right age so that the development of child occurs naturally. Parents have to play the role of facilitators. Parents must identify interests and potentials of kids and help them groom accordingly. Parents must help the kid to recognize his core strength areas, interest areas and competency areas to develop confidence in him. Parents should set examples for kids to learn good things, values, and morals in life. Children should be given quality time to develop faith and trust. Good bonding with them helps dispel the confusion at the right age. We have to be in children’s shoes to fathom them and groom them accordingly.
Raising new generation rightly is extremely vital and parents have to play their parts sensibly. Right upbringing and good parenting will groom the kids and youths to grow into responsible citizens. Such responsible people will contribute to the country’s development and prosperity.
(Dr. Vibhuti Jha is Professor of Marketing & Director at School of Commerce and Management at Assam Don Bosco University, Guwahati –India)