Most of the time, parents have some expectations about what their child should do or be. And it is assumed that it is the child’s job to reach his/her parents expectations and fulfil their ‘dreams’ about him/her. These expectations usually turn into rules and the parents’ job has become ensuring that the child follows these ‘rules’.
Usually, when children are born, their parents have ‘dreams’ about how their children are going to be. And they think that their children should fulfil their dreams. Hence, from the beginning of their children’s lives, usually parents try to mould their children’s minds in the way they want. However, it is said that it is for ‘their benefit’ (the children’s).
Parents should guide their children, but not try to limit their thinking. That will affect their independence and stunt their growth. It is natural that the parents have ‘desires’ on how the child should be but parents should not force their desires on the child.
Two important things which children definitely need from their parents is proper and constant guidance and the freedom to think, act and question.
Children definitely need guidance but parents should not limit their thinking and actions unnecessarily. Parents should not catch hold of their child’s minds in such a way that the child cannot even think freely. Parents have control over the child but they should not operate a child like they would a robot. If parents just want somebody who functions according t them, they should get a robot!
Parents think that if the child listens to them and does whatever they say, the child will be good and happy in life. But how then will the child learn to think independently?
Parents force their desires on their children and want to make them great because it will be a ‘very great achievement’ for them if they make their children successful.
If parents want their children to be ‘good’ and ‘civilized’ human beings, the children should be guided properly and constantly and they should be given the freedom to think and be encouraged to learn to think.
Some of the things which parents constantly worry about is whether their children can prove to be better than other children; whether they will become great, have name and fame, about their occupations, the way their children should think, whether they can get attention from others and much more.
Parents usually have some expectations from their children on most of the above aspects and in order to reach those expectations they themselves try to force these aspects on their children: give fame and name to their children, try to make others pay attention to their children. Because they want their children to stand out from the others, parents themselves try to ‘make a good life’ for their children and they do not give the space to their children to learn and live independently.
If you are parents, please think about giving your child freedom to think, question and act; and also proper and constant guidance. If you are the child, I think you have the right to ask your parents for your freedom along with their guidance.
Ganesh (2010, student of The Peepal Grove School, an alternative residential school in India)