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As parents we assume that our whole and sole duty is to feed, clothe and send our child to school. After they come back from school, we make sure that they do their homework, study for the exams or go to the tuitions. When the kids have holidays or vacations, they are bundled off to hobby classes or games coaching. The little time they are with us, we try to make their lives as comfortable as possible. While we have our child’s best interest at heart, are we imparting them the most important life lessons?
A day in an average parent’s life
- When the child gets up from the bed, we do not ask him to fold the bed sheets and make the bed. We do it. After all, it’s more important that the child does not get late for school.
- Putting the tooth paste on the brush and handing it to our still sleepy child is our habit. Sometimes, we might brush their teeth for them.
- We iron the uniform and keep it ready to wear after bath. We won’t hesitate to assist our child in his bath and help him wear his
- We draw an immense satisfaction in feeding our child with our own hands so that we have the peace of mind that he is well fed
before going to school.
- We don’t forget to pack the lunch box with choicest of snacks.
- Once the child is home, hot piping lunch is awaiting. We pick up the shoes, school bag and the uniform and keep it in assigned
- We employ a tutor or send our child to a tuition centre to complete his homework and unfinished classwork.
- We won’t hesitate to carry the school bag or the cricket kit to the school or cricket ground.
- When it is time ferry the kids to and from school, tuition centre or the playground, we become the unpaid drivers.
And when our kids don’t fare well in life, we lament and question ourselves – where we have gone wrong in parenting!
Recently our friend’s son was departing to the US for his higher studies. When asked whether he can cook, the parents replied,
– “he can’t make even a cup of tea, forget about a meal.” The son is stepping out of the house not equipped to cook a minimum meal to fill his stomach. I really wondered how his brilliant academic achievements would help him to survive. A few months later, the parent confided that through long phone calls and chats, she is teaching her son to cook.
The children who leave home do not know how to take care of themselves, thanks to their parents. The same applies to when the now adult son or daughter gets married. Sometimes they have no clue to what groceries to buy, leave alone cooking. A parent or an elderly aunt tags along to help the married couple. To lead an independent life without hiccups, one should know the skills of cooking, house-keeping and taking care of their finances and health.
If the children acquire these skills in the childhood, the life becomes easy later. Keeping aside the pampering and protection which can be harmful for the development of the child, as parents we should provide opportunities for our child to be on his own.
A few steps in the right direction
- Keep a watchful eye when the child is trying something for the first time, but let him try. For example, cutting vegetables or when the child tries to put on the gas stove.
- Encourage our child even if he or she fails to do a neat hemming or roll out a perfect chapati.
- Allocate duties to the kids, and start early. Setting the table with glasses and plates, folding their clothes, and keeping their toys or books in assigned places can be a few simple tasks.
- The child should be allowed to serve rice and vegetables into his plate by himself. This also teaches him to assess his appetite and avoid food wastage.He or she should pick up the plates and glasses and leave it in the sink.
- The child should help the parents in cleaning. Drying the wet clothes, dusting and making the bed can be few tasks that a child can do easily.
- The children should accompany the parent to buy groceries and vegetables. This way they will learn to choose the right groceries and fresh vegetables and how to handle and calculate the money.
- Passion for cooking should be created in childhood. The rice cooker and the micro-wave is useful to making a beginning.
- Handling emergencies like bandaging a cut on the finger or replacing a fused bulb can be learned with parent’s supervision.
- Simple tasks like depositing a check in the bank, registering a complaint at a call center or booking a gas cylinder are few tasks which older children can be assigned to.
- Interaction with relatives and visitors is a must to develop inter-personal skills. Greeting them and engaging them in a
small talk until the parents take over is a good initiative. It should not be taken as a disturbance to academics.
Many parents may think twice to call their child to help them out or do an errand. They do not want to disturb their child and want him to focus only on education which is very erroneous. A successful career is not the end of the world. Career with good life skills will help to have a well-balanced personality ready to take up any challenge be it at workplace or home. He or she will have a good relationship with colleagues, a good family life and will be popular with friends and relatives.
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