'Your children are not your children. They are sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself. They come through you but not from you' writes Kahlil Gibran. But as parents we are obliged to protect, nurture and educate our kids. We invest our time and resources to provide a better life for our younglings. We are concerned with every aspect of our child's life including food habits, academics and their social networks. But there is an important question that we often ignore:
Are you sure our parenting is done in the right way?
I am sharing some important points regarding the parenting methods adopted by expatriate parents and how some of our actions are doing more harm than good to our children. It is essential for us as parents to be open to suggestions to ensure that we are nurturing our kids in a positive and holistic environment.
Every parent loves their children but more often it goes to an extent of pampering and the lack of positive discipline can be very harmful for a child.
Pampering can take different forms. Overprotectiveness, overfeeding, making the decisions for your child and all these forms of affection are an indirect setting for failure. Pampered children most often grow up into adult children who are demanding and more often incapable of taking care of them. They are totally dependent on their parents to complete even the most basic tasks. This kind of self-abasing parenting leads to a sense of entitlement in the child and which will be ultimately self-defeating. We have to teach our children to be independent and competent. Overbearing parenting creates a toxic environment for a child to grow up in.
2) Inconsideration to their age
Parents have the tendency to neglect the fact that their children are growing up. Most often couples will not have any long-term parenting plans but based on their feelings and emotions make decisions for their child. Teenagers are often treated as kindergarteners and parents ignore the fact that their child is going through many physical and emotional changes during this period. We don't have honest conversations especially with teens and this can have repercussions in the future.
3) Over funding
This is another mistake made by expatriate parents with children studying in a foreign country or faraway institutions. You have to teach your children the value of hard earned money. It is essential for parents to make them aware of your income and reject their requests for exorbitant amounts to sustain an extravagant lifestyle. Teach your children to be economically and financially independent from a young age. Help your kids to put money in a savings account and make them aware of your financial limits. You can spend less and still raise a great child.
So how are we going to tackle these issues? Especially in the Middle East, children are overfed junk food without any opportunity for physical exercise. Most young children are addicted to video games and seldom leave their homes. They don't interact with other people often hampering their social skill development.
It is important to encourage our kids to actively participate in various sports and athletic events at school and other events. Take the time to play a game of football or badminton with your kids and give them the confidence to compete in these games with other children from the same age group. This will improve their physical fitness and teach them important life skills such as leadership and can affect a child's development of self-esteem and confidence.
Instruct your children to do all kinds of cleaning jobs at home and assign them chores. Ask them to make their own bed and make them clean their room. It is important that we teach our kids to pick up after themselves rather than assigning a maid to do these tasks.
The most important factor that contributes to the sustainable development of a child is education and I don't mean academic education. Parents are the first teachers and they have a key role to play in molding the character and personality of their children. Be role models to them and encourage them with positive reinforcements and constructive criticism. A child’s mental, spiritual, emotional and physical growth is important in facing the challenges which they are going to encounter in their real life.
Education is developing the right attitude. If you teach your children to confront situations with a positive attitude, they will do well in their life. As per psychologists, academic achievement contributes only 20% of a person’s overall success and the rest 80% depends on his life skills.
Recently, I read a book on suicide psychology and in that book the author has narrated the story of a boy who tried to commit suicide but failed .That boy said to the researcher that ‘’ My father gave me so much to live with but nothing to live for”.