Parenting – why are we so obsessed with our children?
Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They came through you but not from you and though they are with you yet they belong not to you. by Khalil Gibran
Parenting has evolved over a period of time especially in last few decades with nuclear family concept due to urbanization and one could argue if it is for good. We are probably the only generation which is beginning to be obsessed with our children and we are far more non-trusting in-universe else, as said by Gibran, life was taken as a journey where one does experiences and passes on the wisdom and heritage to children and leaving their journey of life to the universe. Why faith in-universe and less than perfect is not so easy for our generation when it comes to our children and why are we so worrisome, insecure and obsessive weekend driver for our children ensuring they get the best??
We are uprooted from our base ( village to large cities in last few decades and through few generations) and continued witnessing the erosion of society, large family and mutual compassion and respect for each other as we moved in with strangers in the new urban neighbourhood. We found totally new kind of work, making our parents obsolete and they could not relate with our challenges, job and stress and could not pass on their experiences and wisdom which we could directly apply in our work and relationships or our lifestyle. Having done disruption and lived in isolation from our loved ones, we grew worrisome for our future and old age. So as parents, we are right in making sure that our children do not feel the same level of disruption and worries as we grew up with. Decades back, acceptance of life and people without their achievements was easier as choices were limited and we felt rather helpless and often found a compromise in the concept of destiny and God’s will.With limited choices and need to be self-resilient being minimal and compassionate social fabric being strong, we worked in the same place where we were born and mostly took over the work of our parents. So there was always a yardstick of our progress that we are taking over a heritage and growing it further than our parents had left it in our hands and that gave a feeling of being appreciated and loved giving us the fulfilment of sense of purpose of our life. All of that is by and largely eroded by now as the choices are infinite, future is more unpredictable and money seems to be feel the only guarantee to feel safe from unforeseen circumstances. We as parents are now caught debating pros and cons of our transition generation and evaluating options for our children.
Career, money, secure future is just one aspect which in absence of robust upbringing in the form of emotional nourishment, sheer lack of social fabric, is pushing our new generation to do their own disruption to create a new identity where they feel loved and appreciated.
This article is not comprehensive, however, aims to provide some thoughts and a checklist of common mistakes, urban parents are likely to make.
1. As parents, it is our responsibility to ensure that our children are safe, healthy and growing up well to be on their own. However, this is the minimum we can do for our children. This shall not result in the child feeling caged and not being able to experience autonomy.
2. Children belong to future and spiritually are born to us to take the thread of evolution further. So, If you have struggled all your life to be a painter, and if you find your child doing the same successfully effortlessly, then you as a family is successful and evolving. If you are not able to manage your anger, and one of your children takes over this as a challenge to overcome and if he succeeds, then you are evolving as a family. Our shortcomings and limitations are the purpose of our children to overcome if we have not done so, hence, we pass on a lot to our children to suffer. Such habits of parents/grandparents when not dissolved and passed on to next generation gets coded in the DNA to become a disease and we call it a hereditary disease.
3. Children are right when they dream and dare. As parents, we shall not pass our limiting belief to our children rather pass them our experience from which they can learn and draw their own conclusion. So, if you are not happy with your marriage, it will be a gross mistake on your part to tell your daughter NOT to believe in marriage. Rather share your experiences and allow her to draw her own inferences. Your limitation shall become her strength and your failure, her success. This is how you can call your family, a growing family. This is how we can free up our children from our limiting belief and take pride in their success where we failed.
4. As families are becoming more nuclear and both the parents working and yet very involved with children, we are seeing different issues than the last generation. Children feel burdened by good work of their parents and feel suffocated due to lack of their own space.
5. It is rather as unfortunate as common to see children being distracted and developing energy imbalance which makes parents feel helpless, they have too much information but parents fail to translate it into a language, which children can relate to. It is about giving space, creating trust and ensuring children respect the concern parents have for their safety and happiness.