CHENNAI: With a vast array of information sources and tools available to children today, a panel of parenting and psychology experts said children nowadays were more assertive and more aware than ever before. Opinions on grooming children in the present society should be adaptive and consider children's views, they added.
Speaking at a conclave on 'Bossy Children, Rattled Parents', Dr. Irai Anbu, writer and motivator, asked whether parents actually listened to their children nowadays.
"Do parents listen to their children? Nowadays, most parents try to pressure their children into things and forget to understand that today's generation is a lot more aware of happenings around them and that they have their own dreams. In the past, children depended on their parents for almost everything," said Dr. ES Krishnamoorthy, founder, Neurokrish.
But society, technology and lifestyle were different in the 80s. "Unlike the older generation, the young today don't like to be ordered. They question everything we order them to do." If a child tries to throw things or raise his or her voice, Krishnamoorthy said parents must understand that the child was desperately trying to communicate.
"Unlike the older generation who were able to face failure patiently, the ‘distracted generation' has a destructive awareness as part of their natural advancement. Rather than being authoritative, nurture the child and they will grow up well," said Irai Anbu. It was parents' anxieties and expectations that led them to be bossy, he said.
Prof Jayanthisri Balakrishnan from PSG College of Arts and Science, Coimbatore also mentioned how parents forget to take their wards' opinions into account. "Family members don't think of ‘what is right', but only think about proving ‘who is right'," she said.
The panelists also said parenting nowadays had also affected learning. Parents, they said, tried to help their children in studies, hoping to educate them, but ended up spoiling their children and removing the scope for children to learn on their own.
"In the past, children learnt arithmetic from the street, but today parents don't let their children waste 'study' time," said Irai Anbu. Parents also create a picture that their children are 'larger than life,' panelists added, boosting the child's arrogance, rather than confidence.
Dr. Krishnamoorthy, however, had something else to say. "Recognize the bossy child as a future leader. Every child is unique. Celebrate the uniqueness, don't criticize. A child is like a mirror image of the parents. There is no right or wrong parenting, it's all value-based."