I read an article in Times of India that left me heartbroken. It was about children feeling ‘orphaned’ despite having parents as their parents barely paid them attention. The article stated parents’ busy schedules as a primary reason for this. While the article highlighted some extreme cases it would not be a long shot to assume childhood neglect is becoming more common. Due to many global developments, which I am not discussing, both parents work in challenging and time consuming jobs. The world is constantly rolling out opportunities for us to explore and people have taken advantage of these to follow their goals and up their lifestyles. The downside is the stress that amounts from working long hours and hectic schedules with little time to devote to matters other than work.
Even time spent with one’s children has to often be scheduled with no room for spontaneous exchanges. A trend I have observed is the overdose of love and material things parents shower on their children. This behaviour partly stems from the guilt of having limited time with the kids and not wanting to use that time to constructively guide and correct their offspring. Unbridled praise and affection towards your child can be harmful too! I have also noticed the opposite where due to abiding feelings of stress and tiredness, parents constantly admonish their kids.
Parent-child attachment begins in the womb. An unborn baby registers her parents voices. After birth the bond continues to grow as parents hold, nurse and care for their newborn. As the baby grows he begins to form a deeper bond with his parents through social interactions. A young child learns to depend on her parents when they are repeatedly there for her when she needs them. A teenager trusts his parents who devote their time to listen to his concerns. When parents are too busy to present these opportunities for developing a bond problems are bound to surface.
Children are entitled to their caregiver’s attention and care. Many psychological problems in adulthood can be traced back to childhood incidents. This only underlines the importance of having a stable childhood. Of course, it is impossible to be a perfect parent or ensure your child never faces an obstacle. However, as parents and caregivers it is imperative we understand the importance of childhood experiences and do our best to create a safe and enriching environment for our kids.
Leaving children emotionally unattended and neglected is a grievous matter. A support system of nannies, housekeepers, grandparents and relatives definitely helps a working couple. But access to paid services is available to only those who can afford it and leaving children in the care of hired caretakers holds its own risks. Nuclear families living away from extended family do not have the option of relatives helping out. As a result children are increasingly left unsupervised and uncared for.
Despite the challenges of parenting that a modern lifestyle presents us with, parenting need not be about miscalculated actions. Couples planning to have children must understand the responsibilities that come with being parents. They must also be aware of the adjustments that come with an addition to their family. It’s recommended that couples discuss how they plan to share their duties as parents and whom they will rope in for help. While life may not always turn out as expected, planning can help ease bumps along the way. Parents struggling with child rearing must seek help to get back on track. Parenting is a challenging responsibility and no one should have to deal with it alone.
Children infuse a cornucopia of happiness into the lives of those around them. In my opinion, it would be a special honour to provide them the time and care they deserve.