Parenting is a Tough Job #ParentingThenAndNow

Indispire is discussing the following question, “Parenting is a difficult task today. Our generation had a different set of parents. Today parents are more involved with their kids. What do you think?

I think this complex topic involves two sets of questions, (i) are parents of today different from those came before them, and (ii) are parents of today more engaged with their kids?

Parenting is and has always been a difficult task, be it now or in earlier days. A parent is contributing towards building the next generation for the nation. It is important to have clarity what type of citizen a parent is interested in making – a good human being or a successful human being. A good human being needs strength of character built on ability to discern right from the wrong. A successful human do not necessarily have to be discerning, as long as he can see his interest getting fulfilled.

Whatever one may want their child to be, it was easier to obtain compliance in earlier times. If nothing worked, a spanking was not frowned upon. In fact a saying went like this, “spare the rod and spoil the child.” These days, children have become more aware and assertive. Unless one can explain to them the basis of certain action, it is difficult to elicit compliance. Beating a child has become a taboo in the social circle I move in. 

Coming to the question of involvement of parents, I think it may be difficult to generalize. In a vast country like India, there will always be different types of people. One may find parents who are much friendly, open and liberal with their children compared to others who tend to be more reserved and conservative. There were parents in the decades of fifties to eighties who were aware of socio economic realities and emerging opportunities. These people immigrated to greener countries like USA, UK, Canada, Australia so that they can give a better future to their kids. On the other, there were many other parents who were not even aware such a possibility existed and never explored.

 With time society is changing. Nowadays, parents are more aware of possibilities available to their children compared to their parents. Thanks to explosion of information. Earlier, there were not many TV channels, let alone 24/7 TV channels, not as many news papers and magazines, and there was no social media. Many families used to be joint families. So what parents lacked in their understanding, they could get it from family elders. It used to be common that grand parents would live with the son.

Then things started to change. People began to move away from their hometown. Family elders were not always with them. In a nuclear family, young parents had to get involved in childs development. As TV channels came up, many started advicing on parenting tips right from beginning of pregnancy to raising a child. Then came social media revolution, now one can find on YouTube how to coach a child for which education, what are the employment opportunities in a particular stream, how to write board exams etc. Parents had to simply download the information and explain it to children.

Many parents are actively engaged in overseeing studies of their children in the hope that a good grade may help him enroll into a good course and eventually land a good job. Families make sacrifice to send kids to an English medium school, and in specialized coaching classes, one for each subject of physics, chemistry and mathematics. In a way many more parents are more involved in shaping future of their kids today.

With increase in disposable income, and appreciation of potential career opportunities, many parents started allowing kids to participate in extracurricular activities like music, dance, sports etc. 

All said and done, in a country with a population of 1.3 billion plus, I would say hardly 500 million, a very liberal estimate, may afford to get involved in shaping future of their kids. A vast majority of 800 million population still struggle to earn a living and have no time for niceties of life. Unlike parents in the US and Canada, I think Indian parents by far are not as open and as involved with their kids. Afterall, these are different societies. But things are changing.

This post is written in response to Indispire prompt at Indiblogger. More posts on the same topic may be found here.

21 thoughts on “Parenting is a Tough Job #ParentingThenAndNow

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    1. Parenting vs effective parenting is the issue. I read Steven Covey’s book on Habits of Highly Effective People. Tried to implement. Could never persuade family to ease pressure and make kids take responsibility.

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    1. I would agree that parents are more involved. Even parents from lower income groups want their child to learn English. Those with better finances employ tutors, often multiple ones, to improve chances of better grades. Many also encourage kids to explore extracurricular activity. All to improve future prospect. But the question that I struggle with is effective parenting. If we have a great student, who obeys his parents, is he emerging a good human being also?

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  1. Really tough. I also feel we lack involvement, rather putting them in many things, in many competition. I am not opposing competition always but we have to understand our kids also, shaping them in a right way. What we lack? time, money, or proper understanding, motivation or something other? Feeling sad to say I also lacks full involvement

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    1. Yes parents are pushing kids to do things that is often traumatic. There is a lot of pressure. I think we need a balance. Parents may be involved but also respect what the child wants.

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  2. India is a big country, a village, a small town, a big city, and then a metropolis. Children whose parents are in the metropolis area, have been educated, earning good money and are living a good life, parenting importance is known only to them. For those parents who do not have much money, for them parenting means only Roti , Kapda and Employment for their children. I think parenting subject is far beyond from Roti, Kapda and Employment but in India most parents are think only about this. Well, beautiful article !!

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    1. Thank you for reading and commenting. I agree, in bigger cities parents are pushing kids for better opportunities. Though getting good grades alone may not be an indicator of good parenting. In the vast hinterland, many people are busy earning a living. Though many of them try to educate their children in English medium school, in quantitative scale of opportunity they fall behind. But there is another aspect how is parenting done. By force or by reasoning. I think many parents may still beat kids if they don’t listen.

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  3. I agree with you wholeheartedly.Its so sad that nowadays children and parents are forced to partake the ongoing rat race,to be in par with the society.As a parent I feel that our involvement is more and complexed compared to what our parents undergo during our time.Especially during primary age,when it comes to extra classes or activities we had no option but to follow what the school provided.And our parents never got stressed for our grades.Nowadays we take them miles away in search of the BEST for better performances and grades.Be there with them till it’s done and return home late, tired and exhausted with the satisfaction of providing a better future for the child.This has become the life style for parents as well as the children of today’s world.Unlike our times the present days children often need to be pushed and motivated and they very well know that we will support them at any cost.
    My betterhalf and myself underwent all these trouble with our three children upto a certain age and now we are relaxed and proud of all what we’ve done with God’s grace.
    Great post.!!! Thank you!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Glad you agree. First this phenomenon though universal, urban middle class is more affected. If we don’t try and the kid falls behind, we feel guilty. Besides it needs a lot of courage to stand aside from the crowd. Which we I tend to lack.

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