When I started this blog, I had multiple reasons to do so. firstly, it should improve my writing and reading skills ; it should be useful to others who take out time from their busy schedule to read it ( also, so that .. they return to my blog after reading each time 🙂 ) and it should be interesting and not intriguing, it should be made simple since most readers do not want to get bogged down with data sheets, histograms, pie-charts etc. The section on ‘family/parental’ got merged with ‘poetry’ soon.. as I found that poems can effectively express my emotions, develop wit and induce creative process in me. Anyhow, I feel, a blog exhibits the writer’s thought process .. just like his or her speech does. Sure, this blog also serves to be a personal page or diary.
I am born into a large family .. we are five brothers and one sister in all. Papa migrated to Mumbai ( called ‘Bombay’ earlier) to find a better career opportunities for himself and did settle down here. Mama was his ‘able’ partner and guide, with duties primarily focused on domestic activity and raising kids well. She did a wonderful job at it, though unfortunately .. she died quite early .. at a young age of 50 years due to illness started by Rheumatoid Arthritis. In effect, I had no mother since my age of 14 years. Not having my mother around did make a big difference .. I realized much later. Papa passed away in 2008 at the age of 82 years, after having led a life built on self-discipline that would ensure him good health till his last day. He also instilled the ‘go-getting’ spirit and taught ‘good’ moral values to his children – all of these bound together with an unquestionable love for his children. Yes, he loved his life till the very end and I am inspired by this spirit of his even today. And, as it usually happens in any South Indian family (especially the ‘TamBrahm’ ones ), we as kids studied well to get our professional degrees in different disciplines ; got married and settled down to continue the legacy.
I would not say that I learned everything I needed to, before I got married. I learned ‘parenting’ from my wife .. and I am a ‘much better’ parent now ! how can parents build their child’s future ? Really speaking, We, as parents, influence our child knowingly as well as unknowingly. But, at the same time, children have also evolved to be better, with the passing of each generation. This is a truth which cannot be contested by anyone. They are brighter when compared to what we were at their age. The times have changed too. It is much more competitive world now – in education, in sports and finally in the job market too. So, do not expect that your teenager child will agree to whatever you say or suggest to him or her. Often, they need to be explained or our suggestions need to be justified. They will ask .. Why to do ? Who will do ? Where can I ? When should I ? What I can or What do I get ?
After 18 years of married life and as a father, I can share the following tips – and I hope it is useful to others !
1. Set out clear guidelines that are helpful to meet the set goals ( not ‘deadlines’, be flexible).
2. Understand the requirements and not expect any defacto or ‘to be accepted’ default methods .. because it varies with the situation and the child concerned.
3. Politely .. make it clear what is expected out of your teenager child. I mean, only the guidelines should be explained through a 2-way dialogue. If your wife can do a better job at it, let her do so .. you can just aid her in the process as a sincere helper. At times, I do that and there is nothing wrong or ‘less’ about it.
4. Treat your ‘teenager’ son or daughter with respect and treat others around you with respect too. Because you are being watched by your teenager son or daughter all the time.
5. In case of pursuit of higher education, let there be a consensus in the family. Discuss it out ! Do not try to impose your views on your child who is a teenager now .. normally many parents feel .. ‘ hey..I could not achieve this .. so let me achieve this goal through my child’ (sic !). that is not the right way at all. 🙂
6. Yes, habits vary with each individual. But, you can effectively guide and mentor your child in adopting habits. Suggest and Leave it at that. Do not be judgmental and never ridicule your teenager child. Your teenager son or daughter expects moral support, un-conditional love and parental affection from you. Do your best at it. Why not serve to be an example ? If you smoke, quit it ! If you drink alcohol, cut down or stop it !
7. Teach the value of money to your teenager son or daughter. But, do not be stingy. Do not try hard and avoid to spend ! Explain. Discuss. Re-visit the bothering issues after putting them on the back-burner for a while.
8. Cultivate life-style habits that will strengthen your teenager child .. whether it be eating, sleeping or sports. I believe in all-round development. Also, I strongly believe that .. Health is wealth !
9. Lastly, be an enabler as a parent to your teenager son or daughter !
I hope you enjoyed reading this. I do not claim to be an expert at parenting. I am just sharing my views with you. Happy ‘teenager’ Parenting !