Most of the parents today are keen to see their children doing well in academics and careers. Quite a few of them encourage, and at times, enforce participation in sports and art forms like dance. However very few realize the importance of inculcating good human values like a positive attitude. Positivity breeds confidence which in turn facilitates achievement and success; and as it is said, nothing succeeds like success.
THE PRESENT SITUATION
Children today are under immense stress. Peer and paternal pressure to achieve higher and higher percentage in exams has led to extreme steps like suicides. Inability to get admission in sought after college/subject results in further disappointment. Denial of choice job or desired brand of car or partner also leads to psychological problems like depression.
When a child is undergoing this metamorphosis, ironically it is the parents who are mostly responsible for the psychological state of the child. It wouldn’t be difficult to visualize a scene where parents are scolding a child for scoring lesser marks than the class topper or his/her own sibling, even though the child may have scored in nineties. Similarly, a lost tennis badminton match or a good dance performance that was not awarded first prize is frowned upon and the child, derided.
Atmosphere at home is another major catalyst for instilling negative attitude in a child. If parents are themselves not happy with their lives/each other, children in that household would show negative streaks. Since both the parents are working in most households, quality family time and effective communication is often missing from the lives in such homes. Domestic violence and child abuse further aggravates the situation causing the child severe and long lasting mental scars.
More often than not, there would be a deficiency in most of the factors characterising the social environment like economics, crime rate, and availability of civic infrastructure amongst others, which has a negative impact on the children.
WHAT CAN YOU DO ABOUT IT
Parents need to approach the issue in a comprehensive manner. It is critical to understand that each child is different from the other, MOST IMPORTANTLY from his/her sibling. It is therefore, best not to compare a child with another for any reason – looks, marks obtained or proficiency in any art form / sports activity etc. As part of motivation, citing of examples is not wrong; however the self-esteem of the child must not be trampled on, in the bargain.
At home one can do the following to inculcate positive attitude in the children:-
(a) Be positive in own outlook first and develop a happy and stress- free atmosphere at home.
(b) Have effective communication with the child and promote free thinking and speaking with the parents on any topic including sex, menstrual cycle, school bullies, relation between parents, academics and friends etc.
(c) Promote self-reliance and develop qualities of independence in the child by delegating domestic tasks gradually increasing the scope and complexity.
(d) Encourage the child to identify his/her positive points and core competencies and to work upon them. Ensure the child gets to learn as much as possible through various media and participates in optimum number of competitions to improve his/her USP.
(e) Make the child understand that failures are part of life by setting examples on your own, and being supportive at such moments.
A parent must also be able to influence the external factors towards building a positive attitude by following:-
(a) Provide access to appropriate facilities for development of mind (academics), body (sports) and soul (art forms).
(b) Isolate the child from negative influences of society while ensuring the child is aware of the factors causing them.
(c) Give freedom to the child to explore the life in thinking and actions, have trust in him/her all the while retaining the right to monitor it off line with a view to safety of the child.
It would be right to conclude with two relevant quotes: “It could have been worse” and “This too shall pass”. Parents must include these as part of day to day life of their children to make them positively thinking individuals who will succeed in whichever field they choose to travel – psychologically, physically, financially, socially and spiritually.