6 points to help you raise better kids!

What I see these days it scares the crap outta me!!! I mean like really!! I am referring to these kids of the age of 0 to 10years and their parents. It like a whole new world to me. For over a year I have been observing families around me like new parents or parents of young kids and somehow I am baffled each time I see them handling their kids. and this seems like a generation thing. I know many couples who have kept the idea of having children on the bench for a while, just so that they get over their fears before they get there.

In my mind I had decided quite early that I am going to raise my kids exactly the same way me and my sister were raised, because I have absolutely great respect and appreciation with the way I was raised. I also thought that all my generation friends are going to be on the same page as me.
But what I missed out was – the Big difference being we were fauji kids and these were civilian kids. I do know a few civilian families matching the same standards of bringing up and background but that number is very little. But hats off to those parents who maintain the right balance, eventually it shows in your kids.
I am not bragging about my fauji background I am rather trying to highlight the basic fact that despite having many struggles and hardships fauji families face they raised their kids very well, with enough love, care and guidance, without obsessing about them.

Parents & friends please do not take any offence with this post, treat it as rather a helpful document (if I may call it so) or just a note sharing my experience.

Below are my observations, hope you can derive the best outta them. I see parents make the following mistakes today, and it makes me wonder 20 years later will these adults be able to contribute to the society or their surroundings fairly, when their parents have probably missed out on teaching them the basic of survival, just because they were busy providing their child what they never got as kids. Its a tough job I understand but don’t make it tougher by avoiding some basic life lessons that can transform your child’s behavior and personality.

1. Are you treating your spouse like a child and your child like a spouse??: So this is a very common one, most often I see young kids hogging all the limelight at home and at public places. They are the center of attraction of not just the people around but also their mother and father who have already spent all day with them. The kind of attention and warmth a couple needs to have for each other shifts to the kids and somehow they seem to think that is the good parenting trait. And all the ordering, stern looks and harsh pointers are saved for the spouse. Whether at home or outside I see couples exchanging flat, maid like looks and comments to each other. Somehow If I saw my parents treat me and treat each other this way I would have never respected their relationship, and would have probably always asked them to choose me over each other. I am sure I would have also become way more attention seeking, always dependent and looked after kind of child. If you do this then it time to relook at the way you are projecting your marriage before your child.

2. Teaching the lesson of ‘respect’ too late: Respect is not fear, its a feeling of regard for elders, younger siblings, servants , house helpers, others choices and opinions, our national flag or anthem. However I often see parents saying before a 4 year old kid, that he/she is too young to understand this. Which I disagree to, completely. You do not have to teach your child that word ‘respect’ instead teach him the feeling or emotion behind it. and the earlier you start the better they will grasp and relate to it. Suddenly when the child is 8 and you want him to understand all of this, he may not adapt to it and have ways to avoid it. It should be an integral part of his bringing up.   If you experience this, pls take a step back and re assess your parenting model.

3. Lack of discipline: I see kids getting away with anything and everything like slapping their mothers, to crying and howling in malls and public events and a lot more chaos just to get what they want. Put their foot down for every random wish they have. ok I understand you don’t want to be a strict parent but you have to teach the child the ability to abide by some rules. some day he will have to follow it right?? At school, at college at work. if you get him so used to free will he will soon not value it. Don’t be harsh, but at least be firm about the things or habits unacceptable by you. Your kids need that, trust me. I see kids grown into adults who did not have a hint of discipline while growing up, and trust me they are not a happy and averagely successful lot!

4.Rewards & gifts: Why are parents of this age mixing the two? Your child has certain needs like clothes, education and food. Now gifts are what he gets on an occasion but reward is what he gets when he accomplishes something. If you want you child to be a start performer  or become a result oriented adult. encourage him with rewards. Set a target, if he achieves give him that toy. if he does not, make him strive harder. remember you are preparing him to survive in the competitive, hard adult life. Don’t let your leniency take away his ability to set goals in life and meet them as well.

5. Set them free: why are you glued to your child 24*7?? You love them we know but overdoing this bores him. Trust me when I say this, I have had kids tell me how they want to do things with their own age group. Also it makes the child hungry for your attention and in fact everyone’s attention. You are making him a center of attraction invariably wherever you go but someday when he joins school or college and he does not get the same response from others he may get disappointed or even devastated. Hence its important you step back and let him lead his life with his things to do. Not everything he does has to involve you all day.
But to cut the chase short instead of giving them experiences, parents are choosing to shower them with materialistic gifts that they soon get bored of. you know why?? because you haven’t gifted the child something he cherished, something that changed in for the better and made him feel like a winner. Instead of letting him play on that phone or that swanky digital toy, send him out, make him join a dance class or karate or whatever? Where he interacts, learns and feels like an achiever. Don’t home bound him just because you think so. You want to raise you child well, balance his routine. with outside games, activities, interactions with all age groups and recreation.

6. Last but not the least, don’t shut down opinions or feedback from people who do not have kids yet, they may be better at analyzing or understanding child behavior, which can eventually help you make your child a better person in every way 🙂

How can we connect with the millennials?

Yes, we all have much to say about the millennial kids. But when we come to think of it, it is actually not their fault alone.
Those who were born in the 80s will agree with me that we had limited entertainment channels and a very focused / straight education system, yet we all lost the path sometimes but could get back on track faster because the socioeconomic growth around us wasn’t going crazy!!

But today there are 4 major problems the youngsters are facing –

1. Everything around them is changing: be it technology, things, trends, all of it. before they can get the hang of one game another is launched, to keep up with this pace they begin altering their behaviors for example not being too sure of one thing alone, getting bored too soon, etc.

2. Education is not growing at par with the technology: The education systems in India still have the same model of assessment and curriculum with minor introductions of technology here & there. In fact the 11th/12th std or MBA students are not even aware of many career trends today, so how do we expect them to be focused & dedicated. Did you have the subject back in school called “Moral science”. Do you remember anything about it?? Well I do, because it left a great positive impact on my mind, it made a huge difference in the way I treat humans, animals & plants. This is what our new age kids need.They need emotional education. They need to learn compassion, love, respect, how else will they grow up to be positive on any platform?

3. Money has changed the game: We only see spenders around us, Some spend on food, some on clothes, some on holidays & cars, and some on all. And how do we know that – Instagram/Facebook/twitter. Enticing, Inviting pictures everywhere, compelling you to spend!! to be there!! Maybe, parents are at fault somewhere but don’t you think we all as a society have a role to play here too?

4.Too much information: Yes with technology we have information on our fingertips but with that comes the risk of exposure to a lot of the bogus, distracting, demotivating information as well. And may be we haven’t prepared our kids/youngsters to handle that well, may be we have not invested enough time & efforts in establishing a strong belief system. A robust belief system that helps them differentiate right from wrong, or easy from worthy, or addictive from nourishing. May be as parents/elders/uncles/aunts we have not prepared them to handle this environment we have today. This is the reason why the cases of bullying and suicides are only going up.

 Well, as a professional and a human with 32 years of experience in life, Facing the good, bad & the ugly; I feel the need to interact, empower & enlighten the students of today. They need this. We cant stand on the sidewalk and watch the fun.
This will be my way of contributing to the society in a minuscule way.
I am daily looking for opportunities to work with students.
I have begun my journey on the subject of emotional education. 
With My book #UmeniTherapy I am reaching out to young teens & adults encouraging them to use art as a strong form of de-stressing, mindfulness and creative thinking. I feel as parents or elders we need to encourage people to experience & explore the joy of simple things.
Inspired by the book, I conduct art workshops with teens & adults, just like an additional fun activity, we all get together at a suitable venue and help each other to unleash our creativity on the canvas.

Apart from this guest lectures in Colleges and schools are on my list of things I am already doing. I speak on generic motivational topics to specific to my industry as well. If you are associated to any such educational institute, wherein I could step in as guest speaker, feel free to contact me.The link to one of my talks is here.

This is my way of getting out of the complaining zone of “what is happening to the world?” to “Let’s do something to make the world a better place!” Because Each time I interact with students, I come home learning a thing or two about my own self as well.

My suggestion to you is come participate with me, Join in or do your own bit to help our country’s young students, to find a path. You can help by sharing your work expertise online or offline, talk to the kids around you , Hire them as interns in your company or any other ways you can thing of. What ever it may be just try & work with them and start including them in your societies.