By Dr Jyots Bhattacharjee
We often hear of growing students’ indiscipline in the whole country including our own state. Some of them have taken to drugs and other antisocial activities. Often we hear of crimil activities perpetrated by the students. Drug mece has swept over like an infectious disease. Parents complain against their children, teachers’ complaint against their students, elders complain against the youngsters. In earlier times children used to venerate their parents. Their word was divine command to the offspring. But today it is no longer so. For them it is not a sin to go against the parents’ wishes. For some adult children parents are outdated and their talks are valueless. The gap between parents and children is widening. This is what is termed as generation gap. To bridge the gap some kind of mutual understanding between the parents and children is necessary. Parents should realize that they should respect the views of their children, when they are sufficiently grown up to make their own decision. Mothers cannot possibly keep their children tied to their apron strings for long. Children too should understand that parents want only good for their children. Their only aim is to see their children successful and happy. If modern children think that their parents are domineering and want to impose their will on them, they should not take umbrage. There is no problem which cannot be solved by frank discussions. After all that is their interl matter. Parents love their children, despite all their faults. Children should also give due respect and consideration to the parents. At least they should try to make the last phase of the parents happy and I think it is their solemn duty.
Every child is born with some tural aptitudes and sufficient mental prowess. It is the responsibility of the parents to help in bringing out and developing the inherent talent of the children. They should make every possible endeavour to make the children self-sufficient and self confident. They should allow the child to put one step before the other without pointing out that he may fall into a puddle. Children should be allowed to learn by the method of trial and error. Let them make mistakes. They would learn to tread the right path only through mistakes. The children must not be wrapped in cotton wool. They must face the rough-and-tumble of life boldly and learn to overcome them.
Often we find young people drifting away like a rudderless boat. What is the root of this problem? And what is the solution? Inferiority complex and the feeling of insecurity are the primary impediments of persolity development. There are many reasons for these obstructing factors. Sometimes the young people are conscious of their shortcomings and instead of trying to overcome them, they behave in an atrocious way to bolster their ego. Their minds work in a negative way and they try to show the world that they don’t care as to what others say. These misguided youths behave in such offensive ways that the elders have to look at them in aversion. Their minds work in a negative way and they try to show off to attract attention as well as to show the world that they do not care for anybody’s approval or disapproval.
We can look with distaste on these symbols of rebellion — usually clothes, hair style and outrageous behaviour. But if we see all this for what it is the outward expression of youth’s tural desire to be different, to be independent, then perhaps we would not be so very shocked. We often hear of generation gap, and parents grumble that they have done so much for the children, yet children show the slightest respect to the parents. Though it is difficult to accept, yet we must admit that the times have changed. The commands of the parents are no longer regarded as divine commands; they are no longer accepted as gospel truth by the children. Perhaps parents are equally, if not more, responsible for the shortcomings of the young people. It is hard for any loving and caring parents to accept any misbehaviour or defect in their children . But it is also very true that they greatly hinder the development of persolity in their children. Sometimes they unwittingly compare the child with a more brilliant one, or they might perhaps rrate their own achievements and this saps the confidence of their child. The child becomes ashamed of his or her poor performance and it becomes disastrous for his development. He thinks himself to be a failure and to overcome this feeling he acts in such disagreeable ways so as to shock everybody and gets a kind of perverse pleasure. In this way he also takes his revenge on his parents for their poor estimate of him.
But in most of the cases we find that the parents prove obstructions in the persolity development of the children by over-protection and constant gging. They impose their wish on the children, thereby forgetting that their child is an independent person. I have seen parents deciding as to what they have planned for their children, as though the children have not any mind of their own. Some of them even do the home work of their children. So, apparently parents do most of the school work of their children. turally the children become too much dependent on their parents, and they lose their self- confidence.
All parents turally want the best for their children, but the children should be consulted regarding their choice of future career. Of course when they are young the parents should keep an eye on them, but not with an iron rod and ruthless disposition. Wealthy parents overwhelm the child with expensive gifts, thereby destroying their sense of economy and constructive faculty. Children are not clay models — they have unique features and various dispositions, which would develop only under the wise guidance of the parents. For the growth of persolity and a successful future what are needed are wise guidance, a loving home and a little poverty. That is children should not allowed to demand whatever they want. They must learn that the parents cannot afford to fulfil all their demands. Even affluent parents should teach the children the importance of economy. They should also know the implication of poverty.
Children are a vibrant part of the family; they are vociferous, independent individuals. I believe that the children are of vastly different inclitions and capabilities — they should not be treated as rubber stamps of the parents — rather they should be accorded respect and consideration, though of course the observation of certain rules has to be insisted upon. Children should be given sufficient scope for their development. It does need enough patience and tolerance on the part of the parents.
Freedom to pursue his or her own interest should be given to each child. One may be an intellectual, who wants no company other than his own reading; another might be an athlete whose ambition is to shine in sport, the other one might want to excel in music. The possibilities are endless — and the children should be allowed to pursue their own choice. A doctor might want his son to be a doctor. If his son does not want to follow his father’s profession he should not be labelled as a misfit. After all, it is his life — and he has a right to pursue his own chosen career. If he gets thwarted then there is every chance of his becoming frustrated and thus behave in a way, which might be ruinous to his future and persolity development.
I think the primary duty of the parents is to encourage the child to be self-dependent. They should be allowed to promote their self-confidence. Unless the child has self-confidence, he would never be able to become successful in life. In some affluent families it can be seen that the children are not supposed to do any work. There are servants to serve them and the pampered brats of the wealthy families behave like morchs of all they survey. I think they should not be allowed to develop a bloated ego. They should learn that self-help is the best help and God helps only those who help themselves. Circumstances may change and the children should be trained in such a way that they can face any situation, good or bad, without hesitation. After all, parents may not be always there to protect children from any untoward circumstance. So, it is important to build up the positive thinking of the children.
Wise parents never go criticizing their children. Parents may be disappointed if the child has not done as well as the neighbour’s son. But criticism is suicidal and it will only make him rebellious. To overcome frustration and the feeling of incompetence they might take to drugs, drinks and other evil ways. They may also indulge in anti-social activities to prove their worth in a negative way. In this way they perhaps take revenge on their parents, whom they consider to be unfeeling. We should note that we are not above criticism, why should we think that our way is the only right one which cannot be improved upon by anything new? Parents talk as if they know everything, which turally the children resent.
Only loving and wise parents can help their children in persolity development. If the child does something wrong, then of course he should be corrected — but with tenderness and love. They should know that whatever they do, parents love them. Parents should enforce discipline in their children from early age. They should also be taught the value of morality’ — but by example and not by precept. Only a person who leads a moral life can teach morality to others. If the father is dishonest then how can be advise his son to be honest? If the children are given the lessons on morality, then only they would become worthy citizens of the country in future.
In an early stage of life a child does need parental guidance. But when he grows up he develops a will of his own. Parents should not always, think that they know the best. Children must learn to think in a positive way. To encourage positive thinking children should be encouraged to follow their convictions. They must have some ambition. Let them choose their own career without interference. That will keep him busy and happy. An idle brain is termed as a devil’s workshop. If the young person is frustrated, he may discard positive activities due to depression. All wrong ideas come to an ictive brain, because he wants to do something whatever that might be. So, I believe that they should be given sufficient stimulus to keep the minds busy in a positive way. And last but not the least; I think parents should be aware of the disastrous influence of television on the persolity development of young children.
I don’t mean to say that it is not good for the children to watch television programmes. Some of the shows telecast are educative and very beneficial to the children. But unfortutely in many of these homes I have noticed children and the adults glued to the TV screen, enjoying feature films or commercials. The shows on crimes may have a very harmful effect on the impressioble tender minds of the children. I think these shows may give new ideas to some people. We all know that the situation in the country along with our state is very explosive. Various kinds of crimes have threatened the peace of the people. Young people have taken to crime like duck to water. Hence, the crime shows may do immense harm to the society. Long hair, dangling earrings, atrocious dresses sported by some of the modern youths may be viewed with indulgence and amusement. But if they take to wrong antisocial activities, it is not excusable. There should be a limit to their misdemeanour and it becomes the duty of the parents to show the misguided youths the right way. It is of course difficult to correct the adult children, as they may not listen to the advice of the parents. Hence it is in the early stage that parents should try to develop the persolity of the young child so that he never deviates from the right path when he grows up. Television is good in small doses, but too much addiction to it may be harmful to the persolity development.
I think it is important to keep the children busy with some constructive work. If they have nothing worthwhile to do they may indulge in any kind of devilry. They can pursue some vocatiol course after their examitions are over or in their free time. In some affluent families it can be seen that the children have nothing to do, as there are servants to wait on them. But I think it is very important to train the children to do their own work. They can keep their room tidy, keep the books in order and polish their shoes and things like that. Self-help is the best help and who knows what the future has in store for them. Circumstances may change in time and hence they should be prepared for any eventuality, so that they do not feel helpless when the parental protection is removed from them in future.
We should remember that today’s children are tomorrow’s tion-builders. Every effort should be made to boost their self-confidence at the early stage and it is also necessary to bring out their hidden talent. After all, every child has some special quality. In this aspect the parents and the teachers may play a big role. The prosperity of the tion and the country depends on them. So, the children should be helped and encouraged to think positively so that they become responsible honest citizen’s of the future. The country needs them. In building up the persolity of the child the contribution of parents is enormous. Let the children become good human beings so that the country can be proud of them.
(The writer is a former Head, Department of Philosophy, Cotton College, Guwahati)