In this issue of Mom & Pop, we talk to two generations of parents to understand how parenting has changed over time.Parenting has always been a challenge, but the approach one takes differs not only from person to person but from one generation to another. What are the things that today’s parents do differently from their own parents? Here Shafat Naqshbandi, a businessman, his wife Ms Nashia Vakil,his parents Prof Saleem Naqshbandiand Mrs Saleem Naqshbandi, and his aunt Ms Jameela Naqshbandi, an educationist, share their views with us.
Shafat Naqshbandi (Father):
Today work is not as simple as it used to be, it’s too stressful and hardly leaves us with time for family. But then, I somehow manage to give time to my family and stay with my children on weekends. I also try to spend time with them on a holiday. When I am with my children I try to be a friend rather than a father. I think that makes them comfortable and helps me to make them understand things in a better way. Today children want space in their life and don’t want parents to poke their nose in their matters every now and then. But when parents behave like a friend, children share things freely, and we can guide them better about right and wrong.
As a father, I feel that moral values and ethics are very important and I always try to impart those to my children. I never scold my children because they can’t take scolding; rather it affects them in a negative way. I play with them, go for an outing and discuss personal things as well. I personally don't accept conservative atmosphere and I don't want my children to be fundamentally inclined to a certain ideology. I want them to be neutral and good human beings.
We have to prepare our children for competition as well. Today competition has made life way too complex for children. We should mentally prepare our children in a way that competition should not be a reason for stress, but a reason for success.
Nashia Vakil (Mother):
From managing household activities to dealing with outside influences at the office, working mothers have their hands full these days. It is harder to be a parent today – especially a mother – than it was in the 1970s or 1980s. Since I am a working woman myself, I have to face the challenge of keeping a balance between parenting and business (WORK). And I am glad to say that I have managed both things very well. I wake up early in the morning, prepare my children for school, do some household chores and then I leave for office. When I am back from office (REMOVE) I help my children in studies and make sure that they are doing well.
I have accepted this as my routine and I am happy that I am taking good care of my three children. Most of the mothers do the same, but the challenge lies in understanding today's children and bringing them up accordingly. Today Kids think in a different way than we did in our childhood, so we can't bring them up as we had been brought up by our parents. As a mother I want to be closer to my children, I want to groom them into good human beings and I know it can’t be done by being strict about everything, but in a friendly way. I always try my best not to foist my thinking over my children. I try to see things from their point of view and that’s why I feel I am successful as a parent.
Mrs Saleem Naqshbandi (Grandmother):
The methods of bringing up children have definitely changed. Earlier, children used to be submissive and whatever was told to them they would do the same, but today children are totally different. In our times, parents would mould children the way they wanted, but today it is not possible. We can't scold them again and again and impose our thinking on them because it can turn them into a rebel. But at the same time, they are more intelligent and it is easy to teach them the difference between good and bad. It is easy to bring up today's children but at the same time, it is complex as well.
We have to understand the needs of the children and provide for them accordingly. Few decades ago when I brought up my children I had to apply different strategies but now as a grandmother, I have to act in a different manner. Although parenting is same and will be same always, but the difference is that earlier children would listen to their parents and now parents have to listen to their children as well.
Prof Saleem Naqshbandi (Grandfather):
The parents are in charge of bringing up a child. But grandparents also play an important role in the child's upbringing. As a grandparent, I want my grandchildren to learn good manners and I want to pass on my knowledge to them. But the way I did it as a father is different than doing it as a grandfather. As a father, I would make my children understand things in a strict manner but as a grandfather, I have to be more lenient.
Today children should be handled tactfully and if we fail in doing that, it can lead to arguments. Parenting was much simpler before, but today parents are more concerned about their children. Due to the advent of technology and other advancements in the society parents have to keep the track of their children's activities. Moreover, the society has become so competitive that parents want their children to be at the top and they are so involved in preparing their children that it is not only a child's examination but of parents as well, which is quite different from old times.
Ms. Jameela Naqshbandi (Grandaunt):
Being an educationist I would say that there has been a huge change in parenting methods especially when it comes to the freedom of speech. In old days children didn’t have their individual opinion, for example, they couldn't choose a career according to their own will. They used to listen to their parents and teachers and select the subjects accordingly. But today the scenario is completely different. Children are free to have their own opinions and parents have to listen to them. Children know what they have to opt for depending on their interests, which makes their future brighter. Accepting the right decisions of child balances the parent-children relationship and helps parents to bring up their children in a better way. Andtoday if parents have to make their children understand the good and bad, they have to do it in a polite way. Today children are quite witty, active, confident and competitive - what they need is moral and ethical values. And if parents will incorporate all these qualities in their children, the world will be a better place.