In today’s information-overloaded, competitive rat race, many feel that children are growing up way too fast. Is your child losing his/her innocence too soon? Do a reality check:
1. Does your child have time to simply play? Or is his whole day spent in career-building pursuits?
2. Are his/her friends good or bad role models? Does he/she feel peer-pressure to follow the latest trends?
3. What movies, websites, music, books, TV shows are he/she interested in? Are they age-appropriate?
4. Does he/she still have his/her child-like enthusiasm and wonder? Or is he/she always ‘bored’?
5. Does he/she always want to dress up and imitate much older kids or adults?
Social influences force children to face grown-up realities before they are emotionally mature. As a parent you can take certain steps to prevent this:
â€¢Â Â Â Don’t force your children to be super-kids. Let them have enough time to play and have fun.
â€¢Â Â Â Listen to your child. Don’t give excuses like “I’m busy now”.
â€¢Â Â Â Educate your child about ‘grown-up issues’ like puberty, sex, drugs, rape, sexually transmitted diseases, sexual harassment, alternate sexuality, violence and terrorism. If needed, educate yourself and then teach your child. Remember – knowledge is the best protection.
â€¢Â Â Â Keep lines of communication open. Have a heart-to-heart talk at least once a week, if not daily.
â€¢Â Â Â Know your child’s world. Meet his/her friends. Watch his/her favorite shows, listen to music or read the books that he/she likes. It’ll help you to know your child better.
â€¢Â Â Â Maintain contact with your child’s teachers, as they’ll be able to advise you about his/her behavior.
â€¢Â Â Â Do not always criticize his/her choices or preach about correct behavior. However, enforce discipline if the need arises.
â€¢Â Â Â If your child comes to you with a problem, encourage the kid to ask questions and guide him/her to find the right answers.
â€¢Â Â Â Seek professional counseling if required.
Be a thoughtful guide-cum-friend, and help your child to grow up into a well-balanced, responsible and happy adult.