Saturday, 17 September 2016

A guide for parents to help their child do his/her best

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.

12 comments:

  1. whta about live q/a.i think that u wld b free now thats why u posted this article.its good but we need live q/a .plz try to arrange it .its more imp

    ReplyDelete
  2. But what about the ruined childs? I myself is an engineering student and not a parent. But still it hits my mind a lot. What about those students who don't even know what is wrong and what is right? What about those who are more interested in Girls than JEE Preparations, Guitar, Art or anything? What about those students who mess up with friends and Drinks all day? If their parents don't beat up them, will they ever understand what they are doing with their lives?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Chayan Das! You are right that some students | teens get attracted towards drinks, girls etc. But again, as suggested by Aman that Parents should time and again counsel their children with the options of doing right things. And children should select the best one among the right things. Today's (some) students | children get spoiled due to communication gap between parents and children because of technological advancement | spending more time in social networks etc. Psychological counselling will be more effective than beating them up (which sometimes will have negative impact in future). Practically speaking, I used to beat my son before he was 7-8 years old (now I really feel guilty and sometimes I even cry thinking about that). Now my son is in 10th std. targeting 2019 JEE etc. For the last 7-8 years, I have been handling my son very politely, counselling him time and again, making him mentally strong etc. I do not pressurize him to get top JEE rank, instead motivate him to study well. Here, children also should understand parents' problems to some extent, as you have expressed. To sum up, both sides (parents & children), should be co-operative, adjustable and put themselves in other man's shoes. Then only, life will be smooth for both. PPN. echrway.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. Thank you for your thoughtful reply! I myself have been beaten up so hard many times even for many small reasons. For giving a ₹10 note to a beggar once, for breaking a thermometer,for losing my water bottle and not to mention other small things also. I have been scolded and bullied by my parents(Especially Mom) because I was continuing my cricket practice at our district club and I was not resigning though it was the 11th standard when I should have been preparing my best for JEE studies and board exams too. I did as they said and never felt bad about it. One night before the submission of a report at my school in 12th standard, I drank some hot coffee and didn't sleep well. By 6am on next morning my project was ready. Next day when I told mom all these she just kicked off my ass. Not considering that how much pressure I put on myself doing all this. For every single work, may it be hard or simple, my mom always told me that I am lacking the intensity, I am not doing well. But then I cracked our state JEE, i.e. WBJEE and I am right now at Jadavpur University, i.e. one of the best universities of India, studying Electrical Engineering. And now I don't know why my mom never talks rude to me. She's always polite to me, just opposite to my previous mom. I felt sometimes bad about it, and sometimes I think that they only continued beating up me, not teaching me the right thing at right age. So that's my concept. Thank you for negotiating with me. I think my child deserves a childhood with out any trauma of being beaten up. But it will take me some time to change my mind set that my mother and parents have already put in my brain. May I just need to know more about children psychology. And I think I have time for it.

      Delete
    4. Dear Chayan Das, Thanks for sharing your (heart-touching) life-experience. Yes it is true, some childhood incidents always roam in our mind throughout our life. Still we can learn from the past and improve our future, like you have quoted in the last 2 lines. My whole-hearted wishes for your bright future both in your career and in your married life. PPN.

      Delete
  3. Respected sir I m class 9 student
    U won't believe but almost every month I read ur story
    And now routinely ur blog
    Whenever I pass iitb gate...I m just like if just I could be there after 4 yrs like u four
    Superb post...thanks for this one
    All the best

    ReplyDelete
  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hello Aman,

    Sorry for such a big post .

    First of all I want to appreciate & thanks for raising a very informative and interesting topic. As a mother of 14 year old boy who wishes to be a iitian and he follows regularly ur blog and gets inspiration from u.

    Whatever u told is true about most of the indian parents who force their child to be an engineer or doctor without even asking their opinion. Every parent has right to dream about their child's future but plz don't force ur child to achieve what u couldn't. I saw this practically happening in my Friend's son's case. She made him joined in a very reputed iit academy cum school (I wantedly mentioned iit academy first and school afterwards as here in hyderabad good school means with"iit coaching from class 6th")where he needs to attend classes from morning 5.30 till evening 8, and now that boy is so frustrated with his school and even with his parents that he doesn't talk to his mother well.When his mother told me about his daily routine I was literally shocked a 14 year old boy who continuously needs to listen same classes repeatedly, now he is in such a condition that day by day he is loosing interest in studies and complaining that he is forgetting everything what he studies everyday.
    I wish my son to settle in his life but above all he needs to be a good human with freedom to choose his career.

    Thanks


    ReplyDelete
  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm in current;y taking a drop year for JEE 2017 ( both main and advanced as well as BITSAT and other exams). This year I could not do well ; only achievement being a sub 1000 rank in my state JEE (WBJEE). Can you give me directions as to how to maximize the 5-6 months left ? My basics in Physics , chemistry , mathematics are more or less there for JEE Main standard. I'm confused about what books to follow for Mathematics. For physics Ive solved D.C Pandey and HC Verma and revising them as well as doing Irodov now to develop better concepts. Chemistry is more or less sorted out. I want guidance in Mathematics.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I am a girl and my parents made it clear that if I don't get into an IIT, they will get me married and won't let me do engineering. Even though I've worked extremely hard I am scared and I hope my brain doesn't burst on the day of exam. They are very strict and horrible, if I open this article and make them read it, they'll first read the title, then shout at me and ask me to study.

    ReplyDelete