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Get Rid of the Parent Trap PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Deccan Chronicle   

New age parenting is a challenge as parents are constantly walking a tight rope between being friendly and yet firm with their kids Breakdown of the joint family system and working mothers further redefines the relationship

Mamma don’t be a pain. I told you I’ll finish the essay by evening, don’t go on and on…..” shouted a 15-year-old to his mother, in the presence of grandparents and friends.

A trendy couple in a metro apprehensively watched their 14year-old daughter leave home in a skimpy T shirt and short skirt.

Strong successful men helplessly try to find the perfect balance between being ‘pally’ with their growing sons, and getting the respect they were brought up to give their parents, elders.

Single parents on my show revealed that to compensate for the lack of the other parent, they over-indulged, being extra companionable, less critical of behaviour norms. Parents worry they may not be a part of the “happening” set, are not ‘cool’, our kids might become misfits! A young member of the Royalty in Rajasthan was brought up with impeccable manners and traditional conduct. He sadly mentioned that his friends at school made fun of him and called him a wimp.

Breakdown of the joint family system and working mothers further redefines the context of the parent-child relationship. Where’s the time and energy to sit down and explain to that 14year-old on the need to balance this new found back slapping togetherness, with the age old culture of standing up when your dad walks into the room? His frame of reference is that long haired kid in the new Hollywood flick and MTV music video.

I wonder if I’ve struck that perfect balance with my 18-year-old old daughter.

We hug, fight, go paint balling, giggle together in the coffee shop, even drop in to the disco on Saturday nights. She shares her innermost concerns and her toughest challenges. I empathise in an understanding and equitable manner. Parallely, I gently explain that it is important to have a respectful body language and tone, her irreverence must not hurt her parents.

I have an open mind when she speaks of taking a year off from college or come back home at 4 am because she won’t be meet ing her friends for a while. With difficulty I hold back the words of traditional wisdom, that quick harsh negative response. I find myself smiling and saying “go ahead. Have fun!”.

I’ve learnt that relationships go through ups and downs and finally find their balance. One has to be patient and not rush to drive the flow. I guess we will reach this balance with our children too. So we keep connecting with them with love and sensi tivity. Continuing to guide them in our behavioral culture, yet allowing them to move with the flow of the new world tide.


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