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Before It Is Too Late...

By Dr. Nandkishore Rathi | Updated on Aug 18, 2023

"I am doing all this for you (my children)", is often said by most of the parents who are not able to spend time with their children. Their 'personal ambitions' actually are their priorities. They hardly understand their children's world, and often forget their uniqueness in terms of their preferences, likes, dislikes, personality, passion etc.

When I approached various schools for a free talk to parents on 'how to make right choice for their children', the Principals almost unanimously said "it is very difficult to get parents for such talks/events, except during PTA (parents-teachers meet)". The issue is, few things are time-centric and can't be inculcated or developed as and when you want, (except the Hitler-way, where the results might be materially good but spiritually damaging). What I mean is, you may force a child through coaching & discipline to complete a degree at the cost of his low self-esteem.

However, if the objective is that 'I want to see my child happy & successful', then one shouldn't over emphasize on 'marks, money and comparison'. As far as a child's 'monitory value' (ability to earn by ethical means) is concerned, let the market (employers/customers) decide it. You can just do the following 3 things to achieve the above objective. In fact these are the only things you have control upon, if one starts early:

1. Nurture Right Values
Remember, your child imitates and gets influenced by you. They perceive your behaviour as a 'rule'. It is, therefore, important 'how you want to behave' based on 'how you want him/her to behave'. Give them the values (beliefs) that will develop their life - personal & professional. Once this is done, then they will be able to steer without landing in trouble. Some such values are:

  • a. Respect for every individual
  • b. Fairness & clarity on financial matters
  • c. Fear of the law in all walks of life
  • d. No-exploitation of the weaker
  • e. No undue favours & corruption
  • f. Gender equality
  • g. Helping/contributing for a good cause
  • h. Srong work ethics
  • i. Team work etc

If you nurture these kinds of values in your child, just don't have to worry about him/her. They will not land in trouble and will be well accepted members of the group/society.

2. Give Right Career Path
Please don't decide your child's career path through the lens of 'your own career' or 'scope for an X career', or 'a friend/relative's career'. Rather find 'where is scope for him/her' based on their uniqueness, behaviour, talents & passion. Consider these inputs to make right choices. If a child is not interested in, say, Commerce, then know the reasons. If he/she justifies it, then don't say 'Arts is not a degree', 'What will you do with Arts'. Also, don't force 'Engineering' unless he has the required talent & equally matching interest. You, as a parent, should 'help' him/her make right choices through right professional help.

3. Develop Great Habits
As a parent, one of the most difficult parts to develop among children is a set of 'good habits'. Today's children, as I understand from most parents are 'IT savvy', 'loners at home, but are very interactive with friends, very talented but not hard working and so on'. Developing good habits can start as early as 6-7 years of age, but don't overdo in those areas that they resist. You need to do it very emphatically and not forcefully. Some of the habits that come to my mind are:

  • a. Regular physical exercises & yoga
  • b. Reading/watching news
  • c. Meeting & interacting new people
  • d. Asking questions
  • e. Eating home-cooked & healthy food
  • f. Being neat & clean etc.