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Thursday, Feb 13, 2020 13:15 [IST]

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Parenting – a Delicate Balancing Act

SWAMI SWAROOPANANDA 
There is no fine line between strictness and leniency when it comes to disciplining one’s children. As a loving parent, there is a time when you have to be considerate and a time that you have to be firm. It is important to understand that children fall under different categories. Some know the difference between right and wrong; some need to be told; and yet others have to be firmly and lovingly disciplined. Along with firmness, one must know which category and what stage the child belongs to.
As young children, they are easy to guide and discipline. But when they turn into teenagers and start feeling independent, guide them like a friend. It is infinitely better that they share their doings – right or wrong – with parents, rather than do them in secrecy. That way, if they sometimes err, they can be guided and are open to parental advice to find solutions to their problems.
When children are growing up, the best thing way to spend quality time is to tell inspiring stories. Tell them the stories of great people and base your tales on values. Our epics and Panchatantra parables are a rich source of beneficial material. This helps them to bond with parents, grandparents, and teachers, and inculcate good values. As they grow, they must learn not only to inquire, but investigate and research. Elders, on their part, should guide them through logic. Later, older children, through quiet meditation, will come to discover the wonders of the universe.
Many parents wonder how to stop their children from spending too much time with gadgets. We cannot stop modern trends, but if we want them to learn the right way, we have to begin with ourselves. First and foremost, our own lives should be a demonstration of how to deal with modern devices. If parents are constantly engaging with gadgets and expect their children not to handle them, their expectations are misplaced.  Parents are role models and children are sure to emulate them.
In addition, parents should refrain from buying useless gadgets – just because others have them! On the flip side, there are no easy solutions because today education is delivered through gadgets. So, we cannot completely ban them. Youngsters will get carried away, but if we give them right values, they will go a long way. Inculcate in them an understanding of the need for a life of self-discipline, moderation and, most importantly, of gratefulness. They will, by themselves, develop a strong sense of discrimination between right and wrong living.
If discrimination is lacking, we have to establish certain guidelines on the use of these gadgets; time limits should be put in place.  A few things are very important not only for children, but even adults: don’t switch on your gadgets first thing in the morning; spend quality time with your family face-to-face, not on Facetime; walk into each other’s rooms rather than calling or texting each other. When you begin to enjoy human contact, children will also prefer it to a virtual presence.
Constructive parenting is a delicate balancing act. It is better not to give in to anger, just because one does not like certain habits the children have or something they have done. However, as a parent, it may become necessary to show anger when a child is doing something wrong or harmful. When one expresses anger by showing anger, not by becoming angry, it benefits the child. But when one loses one’s temper then one may, in the heat of the moment, subject the child to an unpleasant experience. Parental wisdom in dealing with children will go a long way to establish a lasting and harmonious relationship.
(The Author is the Global Head of Chinmaya Mission)

Sikkim at a Glance

  • Area: 7096 Sq Kms
  • Capital: Gangtok
  • Altitude: 5,840 ft
  • Population: 6.10 Lakhs
  • Topography: Hilly terrain elevation from 600 to over 28,509 ft above sea level
  • Climate:
  • Summer: Min- 13°C - Max 21°C
  • Winter: Min- 0.48°C - Max 13°C
  • Rainfall: 325 cms per annum
  • Language Spoken: Nepali, Bhutia, Lepcha, Tibetan, English, Hindi