Parental Responsibilities In The Upbringing Of Their Children By Ven. Dr. K Sri Dhammananda Parenting is not like any other 9 to 5 job. It is never ending and there is never enough time to do everything. No matter how old your baby is, newborn or toddler, it is never too late to put your baby first and enjoy being a mum or dad. Many parents think that they alone know what is best for the children and therefore expect too much from them. They force their children into tuition classes even though they can cope with their studies. At the same time they are asked to take up ballet dancing (in the case of girls), taekwando (in the case of boys), music lessons, computer classes and so on. On top of this, they insist that their children obtain straight ‘A’s in their examinations and excel in everything else. In this rat-race they turn their children into display objects; possessions which they can be proud to show off to their friends and relatives and for others to talk about. In the good old days, life as a child and a teenager was never stressful because there were not too many expectations to fulfil. But children these days, especially those in urban areas, seem to have so many things to do and compete in that they are deprived of a normal childhood. Many people fail to realise that as parents, they have certain rights and also responsibilities. The child has his or her rights and responsibilities too. What we have today are people who want to be super parents, but in many cases the children do not turn out to be super. Parents should therefore be realistic and reasonable. They should not set targets which they well know their children cannot fulfill, thus avoiding unnecessary stress and disappointments to the family. Building a happy family is a continuous process. Hence, parents must not only be fully aware of their roles and responsibilities, but also apply modern techniques in parenting accordingly. Remember the saying of the Taoist philosopher, Zhuang Zu; ‘if you have 6 fingers do not try to made them 5, and if you have 5 fingers do not try to made them 6. Do not go against nature.’ You are responsible as a concerned parent for the well-being and up-bringing of your children. If the child grows up to be a strong, healthy and useful citizen, it is the result of your efforts. If the child grows up to be a delinquent, it is you who must bear the responsibility. Do not blame others. As parents, it is your bounden duty to guide your child on a proper path. Although there are a few incorrigible cases of juvenile delinquency, nevertheless as parents, you are morally responsible for the behavior of your children. Parental support and control have to be adjusted as the child grows. The ultimate goal of parenting is to become a friend to your child but only according to his capacity to accept responsibility. A mistake some parents make is that they want to be a friend to their six-year old. But we need to be careful about what we mean
by “friend”. It certainly does not mean we treat a child as if he is an equal in maturity. But there must be love, trust and respect. At that age, a child needs a parent, not a friend. While building a loving and supportive relationship with the children, it is recommended that parents help them develop spiritually. Above all, you must have time for your child. Time to answer his questions, to help him understand the wonder of life. You have to bear in mind that you are stifling the creativity in your child when you do not answer the questions that he is raising. When a child is asking questions, he is indeed seeking to communicate, so the biggest challenge confronting you is to respond readily with love, and everything you do should be congruent with the natural inquisitiveness in a child. Being spontaneous is also important in getting children involved in things and the greatest scientists have been known to be spontaneous. If parents do not know the answers to questions they must make it a...
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