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 anti-social activities. Frequently we hear of crimil activities perpetrated by the students. Drug mece has spread out over the entire country like an infectious disease. With their wrong activities the young people have brought much suffering not only to their parents, but to themselves as well. They are following a ruinous path to disaster.
Parents complain against their children, teachers complain against their students, elders complain against 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 modern children, it is not a sin to go against the wishes of parents. 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 the children is necessary.
Parents should realise they should respect the views of their children, when they are sufficiently grown up to make their own decisions. Mothers cannot possibly keep their children tied to their apron strings for long. Children too should understand that parents want only their success and happiness. 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 amicably with frank discussions.
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 effort to make the children self-sufficient and self-confident. They should allow the child to put one step in front of the other without pointing out that they 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. Children must not be wrapped in cotton wool. They must face the rough-and-tumble of life boldly and overcome these by themselves.
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 deficiencies 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 do not care regarding what others say. These misguided youths behave in such offensive way that the elders have to look at them with disapproval.
We can look with distaste at these symbols of rebellion—usually clothes, hair style and outrageous behaviour. But if we see all this for what it is—the outward expressions of youth’s tural desire to be different, to be independent, then perhaps we would not be so very shocked. Parents grumble that they have done so much for the children, yet they never show the slightest respect to the parents. Though it is difficult to accept such rude behaviour placidly, yet we must admit that times have changed.
Perhaps parents are equally, if not more, responsible for the behaviour of the young people. It is hard for the loving and caring parents to accept calmly 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 their child with a more brilliant one, or perhaps they might rrate their own achievements and this saps the confidence of their child. The child becomes ashamed of his or her poor performance and gets inferiority complex. It becomes disastrous for his mental development. He thinks himself to be a failure and to overcome this feeling he acts in such disagreeable way so as to shock everybody and gets a kind of perverse pleasure. In this way he also takes revenge on his parents for their poor estimate of him.
In most of the cases we find that parents themselves put obstructions in the persolity development of the children by over-protection and constant gging. They impose their will on the children, thereby forgetting that their child is an independent person with a will of his own. I have seen parents deciding as to what they have planned for their children, as though the children do not have any mind of their own. Some of the parents even do the homework for their children. Strangely enough, the parents do not realise that by doing the work of the children, they are destroying their intelligence and confidence.
Parents turally want the best for their children, but they must not be over-protective, which hinders the mental progress of the child. The child should be helped by the parents to make his own decision, so that he can develop self-confidence. The children should be consulted regarding their choice of the 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. Young children may be guided by wise parents, but they must not be pushed too hard. Wealthy parents overwhelm the child with expensive gifts, thereby destroying their sense of economy and constructive tendency.
Children are not clay models—they have unique features and diverse dispositions, which would develop only under wise guidance of the parents. For persolity development and a successful future, what are needed are wise guidance, a loving home and a little poverty. That is, the children should not be allowed to demand whatever they want. They must learn that the parents cannot afford to fulfil all their demands. Even affluent parents should teach their 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 stamp of the parents—rather they should be accorded respect and consideration, though of course the observation of certain rules have to be insisted upon.
Freedom to pursue own interest should be allowed in case of each child. One may be a future intellectual, who wants no company other than his own looks; another might be a would-be athlete, whose ambition is to shine in sports. Another one might be interested in painting and some might want to excel in music. The possibilities are endless and the children should be allowed to pursue their own choice.
I think that 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 be 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 the children 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 their children from any untoward circumstances. So it is very important to build up 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 the child rebellious. To overcome frustration and the feeling of incompetence they might take to drugs, alcoholism and other evil ways. They may also indulge in anti-social activities to prove their worth in a negative way. In this way perhaps they take their revenge on their parents, whom they consider to be unfeeling. We should note that we are not above criticism. Why should we think that own way is the only right one, which cannot be improved upon by anything new?
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 and teach the value of morality —but by example, not by precept. The prosperity of the tion and the country depends on its young citizens. So children should be helped and encouraged to think positively so that they grow up to be responsible and honest. In building up the persolity of the child, the contribution of parents is enormous. Let them become good human beings so that the country can be proud of them. Positive thinking is essential in the persolity development of the children.