Parenting in this day and age has become quite an ethereal affair for many who find themselves in this crucial role. Sofia Syed explains what is going on and why it is really bad for the generations to come

tepping into 2020 holds a different meaning for everyone. For some, it might be a year of purposeful resolutions, while for others, it remains invariable in all forms and stance. While one fragment of our surrounding population divulges in a prudent line of thought, why does the remaining act heedless?To put it in simple worlds, it is because of neglectful parenting. You might argue that not all cases involve carelessness on behalf of one’s guardians and it does hold ground in some instances. But looking at the bigger picture, it remains largely questionable how modern parents perceive the very act of bringing up their children. 

Nanny Godmother

We live in a world of instant gratification. Do this and receive that. And with everything being a simple click away, we have resorted to a laid back lifestyle. With our household help facilitating us in every activity of ours, from fetching a glass of water to sorting out our wardrobes, we have somehow started to believe that the nannies or maids we employ for our children can also do the wondrous job of being their fairy godmothers. Every day, I see toddlers being tended to by nannies who do everything for the child. And while this doesn’t seem reckless at first, the bigger picture is a far cry from what meets the eye. Nowadays, children spend more time with their caretakers than their biological parents and because they’ve grown used to their parents’ absence, their presence doesn’t seem to make much of a difference.

We have somehow started to believe that the nannies or maids we employ for our children can also do the wondrous job of being their fairy godmothers.

In the long run, these children become pompous and rebellious towards their parents because they do not get the time or the opportunity to build stronger bonds with parents in the formative years. I see parents complaining about their children’s behavior, yet no one bothers to reflect on the past circumstances that lead to such behavior. 

Social Circle

In the era we live and breathe in – a world where being present and popular in the cyber world is way more important than the real one – I see mothers spending a significant portion of their lives socializing and attending gatherings. Children that need parents to be around are generally left home at the mercy of domestic help or an elder sibling. And the little time that is spent at home must be spent on catching up on the latest episodes of one’s favorite web or TV series to stay in the social competition and remain relevant in your social circle.And if that was not enough, there is always the trusted cell phone to resort to. 

Nowadays, children spend more time with their caretakers than their biological parents and because they’ve grown used to their parents’ absence, their presence doesn’t seem to make much of a difference

More often than not, the first reaction of parents of today when they see one of child cry or make a fuss over something is to offer the child a mobile phone, as bait just to end the nagging. But I ask, how in the world does that make the situation any better?Exposing a minor to something as elusive and age inappropriate as a smart phone not only resets their rational thinking, but also gives them the impression that handling such an intricate device is their one stop solution to all things good and bad. Nursery rhymes have now been replaced by YouTube jingles, play time is now daycare and extracurricular activities now mainly include gaming on expensive consoles or gaming-specific smart phones. We have shaped and reshaped an entire generation which now exhibits outward show and conceit. And reading books, unfortunately, has become as ancient a thought as the pyramids. 

Modern Parenting: How Bad Have Things Come To Be

Time Or Luxury? 

It’s the 21st century. Everyone has a race to win. And while we are so busy chasing after our dreams, ambitions and identities, something or the other has to take the back seat. With every race, there are winners and losers and the clear losers in this race for social glory are the children. 

With every race, there are winners and losers and the clear losers in this race for social glory are the children

Parents are not looking to earn bread and butter, but rather after acquiring the entire bakery. The children, meanwhile, can only pine for attention. The fact that our parents actually took time out to listen to our needs and walked with us every step of the way now appears almost the stuff of dreams. Education is best imparted by tuition centers, which offer various ‘crash courses’ to make up for the neglect of parents. Sadly though, there is no real crash course on offer to date to make up for the inattention of parents.

 

Spare The Rod 

Growing up, I heard this phrase often from my mother. It never actually made sense to me at first. Until I experienced it. The difference in today’s world and one that I grew up in is that during my childhood, this phrase had a distinct meaning to it. It referred to keeping a strict check on the child in an attempt to keep him or her from becoming impudent. But in today, it has become an act of subjecting the child to maltreatment or abuse in an attempt to cover up for their own shortcomings. The child failed to perform in exams? Hit him. The child got violent at school? Slap her.The child was caught watching inappropriate films? Cane him. Let’s take a moment to applaud ourselves. It must take a lot to reach this stage of belittlement. 

In a nutshell, we need to understand how our actions can affect our children, good and bad. Your child looks up to you and everything you do is a series of cause and effect for them. Lead by example because what you are and what you do, eventually sows the seed for what they become. And what you shall have to reap.

Sofia Syed is a dentist. She tweets @sofia_syed and can be reached at sofia.syed1995@gmail.com

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