THIS ARTICLE IS NOT A PERMIT FOR UNMANNERLY AND DISRESPECTFUL BEHAVIOUR
Due to the chaos of the modern world, each individual seeks a way to release the strangling struggles of corporate, domestic and social life. Many parents make the mistake of bombarding their stresses on their children.
Be it through cynical innuendos or lengthy lectures on the luxuries of wealth and lucrative career paths, every seemingly harmless and informative one-way conversation may be pressing your child deeper into their suicidal, despondent caves of introversion.
Instead of comparing academic results with the children of both your friends and foes, congratulate and console your kids for their efforts. Don’t threaten them with pessimistic possibilities of the future if they aren’t straight A students. Don’t condemn them as a disgrace for neither passing or surpassing their siblings. Don’t remind them of past failures; the mortification of memory is already enough salt on that wound. A fish cannot fly and a bird cannot swim- so why do you demand and expect them to triumph in all aspects?
Instead of dismissing their issues and insecurities, listen when they reach out, advise without overriding, support the bloom that they are desperate to achieve. Don’t feed their growing self-doubt by composing a low burlesque of their passions and aspirations. Don’t tell them to GET OVER their eating disorders. Don’t deprive and blame them for the extortionate expenses of education (the greatest gift of all)- ESPECIALLY if you can afford it.
Quick review: how many of you actually enjoy your jobs, are confident in yourselves, and are working in fields directly associated with your degrees?
Instead of trivialising the difficulties of our lives in comparison to yours, please realise that international competition has since skyrocketed, so much that excelling on paper isn’t enough to cut the mustard anymore. Head of school, state runner, national cellist, president of a charity event- with luck their university applications might actually be read! Don’t boast about your trophy children, as if their accomplishments are testaments to your own genius. Don’t live your dream life by robbing their childhood. Don’t be hypocrites who play mind games.
Instead of nagging about their vices, tell them what they’ve done wrong, why you think it’s wrong, who they’re affecting, where they can improve and how all of this has made you feel. If children are anything, they’re advocates of reason. However, most parents leave out the secret ingredient: hearing their kids out. Listen to their points of view: what they were thinking, why they behaved a certain way, who influences them, where they think they’ve gone wrong, and how all of this has made THEM feel (warning: groundbreaking content ahead).
A question to ponder: How does it feel to be told off aggressively? To be defined by perceptions, regardless of what is?
Maybe it’s just a big bundle of misunderstandings, or maybe they’ve lashed out deliberately- for your attention. Nevertheless, both parties must never ASSUME the feelings and intentions of the latter.
Communication is the key to any successful relationship, and as my mother always says, it takes two to tango.
Please be patient if they’re slow learners; one day they’ll be teaching you too.
Please accept the ridiculous choices they make without judgment, but also guide and encourage them along the way.
Please speak and act conscientiously, for children usually turn out EXACTLY like their parents.
Please understand that your children think about you, are grateful for you, and only want you to be happy.
Most parents never really know their kids, and most kids never really know their parents. It is my hope that I have confessed what could not be said, and delivered what could not be heard.
Whilst our hearts continue to beat, let us reconcile with lost loved ones, for today will never be too late to start restoring those broken bridges.