How Far to Push Your kids: Part I

The perfect picture of a balanced childhood, in which kids come back from school, complete their homework, play outside with friends, and return home for dinner is a myth for most of the urban youngsters. This is because more and more children are just like the adults of today. They are involved in far too many activities. Earlier, hobbies were supposed to be done when you had free time, but now, children attend hobby classes, be it drawing, story-telling, or even reading. About fifteen years back, we never heard of kids going to reading class or story telling class!

These days parents are obsessed in creating kids who are happy, satisfied, and have the drive to succeed. Instead, they have successfully created kids who are stressed-out, burned-out, non-confident, unhappy, and depressed. The kids probably have the drive to succeed in life, but most of the time, they are tempted to take short cuts and unethical means to reach the heights they want to reach. Why is this happening in spite of all the efforts put in by the parents?

What we need to understand is that it is not the problem of the kids, but the problem of the parents. Problem is, people are parents, but do not really know how to be parents.

Nine-year-old Aparna feels sleepy though out the day. She was complaining that she was tired all the time. She was a well-build and a healthy child with no medical problems. Actually, the poor girl attended a number of extracurricular activities. At school, she was involved in team sports and dramatics. Apart from that, she also had piano lessons twice a week, dance class twice a week, drawing class 5 days a week, Karate class thrice a week, swimming class twice a week, and music class twice a week.

This indeed is a stressful schedule for a child, but her mother refused to agree to it. She insisted that Aparna did not complain about it or show any symptoms of stress and went for all these classes because she loved those activities. Then in spite of having no medical problems, why as she tired all the time, why did she feel sleepy, why as she irritated? Parents need to look out for even slightest of slight behavior change in children.

Some parents themselves do all the damage to their kids. In their effort of having their child appreciated by all, parents end up pushing their children into doing things they feel is good for the child. I have seen kids of some friends of mine running from one class to another—dance, music, keyboard, karate, drawing, dramatics, swimming, tennis, etc. The parents are still on the lookout for other classes where they can enroll their kids. They want their children in excel in all fields, and as a rule they want the kids to excel better in the areas they were good at as kids. Is it humanly possible?

Why can’t parents become a little sensible? Try to put in effort and try to discover what your child is both, good at and loves. Then channelize your energy and theirs too in that direction—you can help your kids enjoy their childhood by doing what they enjoy doing rather then what you want them to do. Most of the time, this can turn into something productive and useful as they can use as a vehicle to move them through life. Parents probably think their kids will grow up and remember all the wonderful activities they were involved in. Do you think so? In reality, the children will remember how exhausted they were and how their parents were constantly yelling at them to hurry up and get ready for the next activity.

You should encourage and challenge your children to perform well, and do better, at the same time, you should also know when it is time to back off and relax (chill as the kids say). Several signs of stress caused by pressure may include, but are not limited to, anxiety, withdrawal, depression, an increasing desire for solitude, outbursts of anger, and physical issues such as stomach aches and headaches.

The anxiety caused due to the pressure will in turn result in eating disorders, excessive worry, burnout, lying, and cheating. Do you want your kids to go through all these trauma? Time to give it a thought isn’t it?

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2 Responses

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    • Thanks for the appreciation! I am new to blogging. I already had a collection of articles I wrote when time and mind permitted. I am polishing them up slowly and adding them here. Cheers! —Sajitha

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