Parents should encourage their kids to do their own work and give them some additional tasks as well.
By Divya Palaniappan
In raising a child, we pass on certain manners and practices, which we once assimilated from our parents during our formative years. It is this relaying of practices from one generation to another, which can go on to shape cultures and future societies in the long run.
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Parenting is not restricted to sending your kids to a good school and providing them food and clothing. This could end up giving rise to a generation of disillusioned people, with a distorted worldview and zero compassion towards each other. As these days, parents don’t get enough time juggling between work and kids, they need to go the extra mile to turn them into well-rounded and mature individuals. It obviously needs constant work and cannot happen overnight.
Here are some practices that can help us inculcate in our kids a sense of social responsibility and enrich them emotionally and intellectually:
Encourage self-reliance and a sense of responsibility
While parents strive to give their children the utmost comfort, it is not a good move to get all their chores done by their parents or others. Not letting the kids perform their own tasks and not involving them in anything can make them highly careless about their work. They would also start taking their parents’ efforts for granted.
Parents should encourage their kids to do their own work and give them some additional tasks as well. As the kids grow older, parents can increase the gravity of the task. This will make them self-reliant and instil a sense of responsibility in them.
Tell them about the issues concerning the world
Most of the people tend to underestimate their children’ s ability to comprehend news and thus don’t involve them in such conversations. Being unaware of the issues concerning the contemporary world, kids can become alienated from reality.
If parents tell them about national and international issues, children can gain a better understanding of the world they live in. This enables them to connect to the most relevant issues like water crisis, good touch-bad touch, global warming and develop the ability to relate to others who are directly affected. They can even develop a viewpoint eventually.
Counting their blessings
Parents can pump up the positive attitude among their children by encouraging them to count their blessings. Inspiring them to be thankful to all those around them, parents should also involve them in small acts of gratitude.
Kids should be encouraged to be empathetic towards others who don’t have the same facilities as they do. This can instil noble feelings in them and help them become better citizens and contributors to society.
Involve them in social activity
Once kids begin relating to others, parents should enlighten them about the importance of being connected to the society by giving back to it. Parents need to teach them that the value of helping others is priceless and that help can be in any form; from charity to planting trees in the community or even conducting cleanliness drives or water conservation drive. As they become seasoned with such social activities, they can take the lead eventually when they grow up.
Instigate selflessness through anecdotes/ real stories
Children tend to get highly engrossed in the tales and try to relate to likeable characters. Parents should read out stories to their children about selfless heroes/ noble characters to impart good values. Let the children outgrow bed-time tales as soon as possible as they might get cynical about the unrealistically selfless characters in storybooks. Instead, share some real-life stories of kindness with them. This will rekindle hope in them, and they will see the world in a more positive light.
Model responsibility and accountability
Parents should understand that their kids look up to them and hence they need to check what they say and do themselves. They should not forget that children would imitate them and as the kids mature, these values would get ingrained in their minds.
Parents should thus exercise the values that they intend to teach. They can teach altruism by talking politely to others and helping people. To inculcate truthfulness, they need to set their own example by not lying. If they promise their kids anything, they should show them their accountability by executing it. Seeing the consistency in their parents’ behaviour, children’s faith in the values being taught will get stronger.
All the aforementioned points are in line with creating an enabling environment, which will take sustained effort and time. But, eventually, it will nurture the children into becoming socially responsible individuals that are priceless to the society.
Won’t we all be the happiest when they lead the world to be a better, more constructive place?
(The author is Child Psychologist, Flinto R& D Center. Views expressed are the author’s own.)