Every parent has an aim to see their child succeed in life. Sometimes, they fail to understand that instead of binding their expectations to their children, they rather enforce their expectations. Having spoken to a lot of parents, I feel that there was a need of an article to guide the parents.
Note: in this article, I will assume a child to be a male. I am not being gender biased. I am doing that simply to avoid the article looking ugly. Imagine I am writing ‘he/she’ everywhere. I tried that and that looked ugly and so, I am writing this disclaimer. Please don’t take it to your heart.
How a typical Indian parent’s mind works
India is in itself a huge society. These days, most people care about showing-off.
• Oh, I own that fantastic jewelry that my cousin brought from USA
• Oh, I went to a trip to Laddakh with my friends
• Oh, my son is a topper in his school, which is the best school of the city
• Oh, my son studies at IIT Bombay. Where does your son study? Private college? mmm…
We want to prove our supremacy. We want to show others that we are the best. Our aim is to prove to our neighbor that we have better amenities as compared to them.
I have spoken to several parents. I have seen that most of them simply want their son to crack IIT JEE and be an IITian. They want their son to be the topper of the class. They expect their son to follow as they (parents) say.
They fail to ask what the son wants to do. They never sit with their child and discuss what he likes. Dear parents, have you ever heard from your child about his likes/dislikes? Is he really interested in engineering? Is he enthusiastic about learning Physics, chemistry and maths? Does he see himself at an IIT in the near future? Does he want to be a guitarist? Author?
How happy are you to hear this from your son – mummy, I want to write books. I want to write poems. I want to write. I don’t want to be an engineer.
If the first thought that comes to your mind after hearing the above thing is – ‘what will society say? What will relatives say?’. Then dear ma’am/sir, you are not doing it the right way.
As a parent, your primary concern should be to understand the desires of your child. You know your child better than I do. You know what his potential is. I totally accept that. But, you should also listen to his likes and dislikes. Don’t, I repeat don’t enforce your expectations on him. He is barely 15 years old. Let him make a choice. I understand that he is not much aware of the best career choices. But that doesn’t mean you can enforce it on him. As a parent, it’s your duty to guide him make a better career choice. Ask him to speak to people in that industry. I am sure you have contacts who are engineers or doctors or whatever. Let him know the pros and cons – money vs happiness vs job security.
I seriously feel that there is a lack of communication between parents and children when it comes to academics. Students want to enjoy life. Parents want him to study and get better grades. The whole process is very unidirectional because in most cases, eventually the parents win and students have to bear it.
I am not being harsh. I am trying to lay the fact as they are.
You don’t have a right to enforce a career choice on your son. You rather have a duty to help him make an informed decision.
Educated vs not-so educated parents
I feel very sad to say that I have seen that no-so educated parents are apparently better than educated parents. I have observed that in most cases, educated parents are the ones who tend to enforce a career choice on their child.
My parents are among the no-so educated category of parents. They haven’t completed even graduation. In fact, my father couldn’t complete his schooling due to financial problems. But I proudly say that they are the best parents. They never forced me into engineering. They never burdened me with any career choice. They always supported me in whatever I wanted to do.
You don’t have a right to enforce a career choice on your son – They did the right thing of leaving it on me. They trusted me and they didn’t care if I could earn or not. My happiness was more important for them than telling the neighbor that their son earns 2 crores a year.
You rather have a duty to help him make an informed decision – My parents were not-so educated. Still, my father used to suggest me various options – ‘Aman, how about a chartered accountant? These days they are in high demand. You can consider this option’. ‘Aman, you can try being a neurosurgeon. Medical science is an excellent field; you will learn a lot.’
We are from a middle class family. Still, they never wanted me to earn a lot of money. They always told me – ‘be happy. We don’t need money. We are happy seeing your happiness.’
Expectations, expectations and expectations
I have seen that once the child starts his JEE preparation, all their parents want is that their son should be an IITian anyhow. They want nothing less than the IIT tag.
My question to all the parents is – why? Why do you want that IIT tag for your son? What’s wrong with a private college? Are all the successful people out their IITians? Is Satya Nadella an IITian? Are YOU an IITian?
Your duty should be to motivate your son to crack JEE and become an IITian. But simply forcing him to crack JEE by hook or by crook is wrong. That’s wrong parenting! You are simply injecting poison for your own self in his mind. I have talked to so many students who have started hating their parents because their parents are mad about IIT tag.
Why do students commit suicide? It’s because of your expectations ma’am. It’s because of you. It’s because your son loves you and he feels ashamed that he wasn’t able to meet your expectations.
Read the above paragraph once again.
It’s the time to wake up and understand that your son’s happiness is way more important than that IIT tag which you are mad about.
Motivate. Inspire. Help him become an IITian. Listen to that 15-year-old soul about his wishes. He will be happier to see you as a friend.
In the end, I would like to thank my parents for being by my side during all times of my life.
I remember how my father (who is an extremely short-tempered person) listened to all those sarcastic remarks from my school’s principal only for me. Believe me, he is just class 7th pass but he is more educated than you.
Let’s make this society an expectation-free society. Let’s teach our students how to learn. Let’s teach them how to compete with themselves. Let’s teach them that the best way to succeed is to be a better person than what you were yesterday. Let’s make this society a suicide-free society.
If any of you needs any guidance in this regard, feel free to contact me. I can try my best to give a deep insight into engineering and help you decide if engineering is the right career choice for your son or not.