I had gone to my younger daughter Mahek’s school for her report card. As we were walking back, we were joking with each other. Suddenly, I noticed, I have lost Mahek’s attention. She had stopped listening to my silly jokes and was watching her friend Sasha who was walking with down cast eyes. A serious looking man was walking next to her. I assumed he was her father.
“What happened with Sasha” I asked Mahek.
She replied, “Both her parents are working. She goes back to an empty home. Even on weekends her parents are on their laptop and phones. Both are very career oriented. They do inundate her with costly stuff like the latest phones etc. However, Sasha has stopped respecting her parents. She has also fallen in the company of insincere friends. I am concerned about her.”
“Did you speak with her about this?” I asked.
“Of course, I did papa” Mahek said. “But she does not want us anymore. She is infatuated with boys and just is wasting the incredible potential she is.”
The remaining steps to our housing society was in silence. As we entered home, Mahek went to her room to change. I plonked on our sofa and began wondering.
What is the main concern, parents from middle income or double income families have for their children? What mistake does this category of parent normally end up doing?
Here are my thoughts…when children do not see gifts as an achievement and yet we give children gifts as an expression of our love, it is tragic. Why? Read on to know what happens after a while.
- Children demand things even when they do not deserve them.
- The more they get, the less gratitude they have.
- Having the latest, is taken for granted.
- They put mediocre efforts and expect exceptional breaks.
- The more resources they have, the less resourceful they become.
Possessions without proper perspective can lead to BIG trouble. On discussion, many parents shared that if they were to do it all over again, they would give less things and more of proper perspectives.
What does this mean?
Parents would provide their kids with many more opportunities to build perspectives, to think better. This can be done by parents discussing with kids what’s happening to them, by delaying their gratification a bit, and by debriefing them after challenging times. This can also be done by parents sharing about the challenging times they are going through, how they are thinking during these challenging times, what steps are they taking to face and overcome these challenging times.
In short parents have to share and raise the BAAR.
Parents complain, when ‘things’ are not given to kids, it ends up as emotional outbursts. I ask these parents, how often are giving them things an expression of ‘sorry’ or an attempt to cover up ‘no time for you as I am busy’ or a way out from ‘deep meaningful conversations’?
Most parents accepted their guilt. Sadly, because parents didn’t have time to spend with their kids offering perspective, they tried to make up for it by buying them “stuff.”
A parent Ram Sinha, asked, “Children only want freedom. They want their ‘space’. They pretend to be ‘know it all’. And they want all the gadgets. How to handle them?”
Well, her is what we at ‘Wow Parenting’ suggest. Perspective comes when we furnish kids with both autonomy and responsibility. Whenever they request autonomy (the ability to act independently from adult supervision / guidance), we need to provide them an equal amount of responsibility.
One without the other creates unhealthy young adults. If my son wanted to borrow my car ‘Innova’ for the night, he needed to fill the tank with fuel. Teens who get lots of autonomy (and possessions) with little or no responsibility become irresponsible brats.
The best way to describe what it is to build perspectives is to quote Dr Elmore.
Dr. Elmore brilliantly says, “We, as parents, need to do one thing very well: prepare our child for the path, not the path for the child.” When we are able to do that, we will be ‘Wow Parents’.