Saturday, July 2, 2011

Of Being a Parent to Our Children: Parents, Are You?

By:  Gilbert M. Forbes

Who are saying that the new generation is difficult to tame and discipline?

Actually, this is the common impression of parents, grand parents, guardians, teachers of the children and youth of today.  We used to hear the saying that “iba talaga ang singaw ng kabataan ngayon,” or they are of different in values and character.

They are hard to command, direct, teach.  They are at times arrogant, lazy and irresponsible.   But have we tried to ask our selves why it is so?

Queena N. Lee-Chua  in her book, Learning: What Parents, Students and Teachers Should Know made mention of Permissive Parenting.

Unlike before, during the time of our parents and grand parents where there are sets of standards to follow and limitations to remember, at present, there’s almost none.  The result, particularly now among Filipino families as I personally observed—dependence—putting the extended families into new heights.

It is sad to know that most intermediate grade school children and high school teenagers don’t even know how to cook for themselves or wash there own clothes, do the marketing at the nearest wet market or groceries just because they were pampered—yet parents want their children to become successful in the future.

Award winning writer Michael LeGault  explains the importance of setting limits.  “Children not only need standards and rules for healthy social, ethical, and intellectual development, they desire them.”  Standards lead to good work and study habits, nurturing an outlook that aspires toward excellence, and acquiring a wide, eclectic base of knowledge.

What happens when parents set limits?  “Kids may sulk and be visibly unhappy,” LeGault says.  “Parents can feel their pain but know its not going to kill them.  Authoritative parents may appear “stodgy and uptight,” but they take comfort in the fact that they are doing the right thing.”

Filipino parents tend to be permissive or lax because of the wrong notion of love.  They don’t want to track the path of the parenting styles of the older generation because they have forgotten to look back, reflect and ask themselves if the experiences they had from their olds made them a good person.  If the answer is yes, then there is nothing wrong to do the same.

As a teacher and school administrator, I had managed to recall how my parents brought me up and analyze which were wrong in their styles of being strict and being demanding when it comes to learning household chores and teaching us how to take care of ourselves and younger siblings.  In setting limits and standards and so far only one thing seem to be improper and that is to never answer back though when we are already at our legal ages, we could already answer back to them but in a very polite and respectful manner.  Of course, in our young minds then, we tend to rebel but at the end of the day, we always realize that it is for our own good and yes it was and still until now.

LeGault explains that the fear of growing up, or fear or loss of child’s love and respect, or maybe just the path of least resistance, has led many parents to choose to be their child’s friend rather than their guide and mentor.  “Such an approach focuses on providing kids with material pleasures and comfort rather than demanding that they meet high expectations and do the work required to do so.  The net result is a generation of adults who have transformed the traditional meaning of the child-parent relationship by adopting the most lax and permissive parenting practices in history.”

In my recent parenting sessions with the PTA in our school, I ask them to look back.  I ask them if the requirements of our parents, grand parents to learn to cook rice, simple viands and delicacies and wash our clothes helped us as a person?  “Does the kissing of the hands, learning to pray, and following curfew, taking care of the younger siblings, doing errands and household chores helped us become a better person?”  The answer is astoundingly loud and clear, YES.  And so I challenged them in return, so why not teach our children then and make them a better person like you?

Genuine or real love is not about pampering our children with the things we don't have before.  It's neither about pity for have we loved our husbands and wives just because we pity or found mercy on them?  Love is all about teaching them all important characters and virtues that they will carry on through life.

LeGault must be right when he gives parents a rallying cry:  “Dare to try to let your kids fail.  Dare to say no.  Dare to use punishment when your child misbehaves.  Dare to turn off the television.  Dare to make them do chores.  Dare to kick them off the computer.  Dare to turn their world upside down.  Dare to set the agenda.”

Reference:  Le-Chua, Queena N., Learning:  What Parents, Students and Teachers Should Know, pp. 5- 8.

You may also want to see and read If We Need Great Teachers, Better Parents Too, Research Says
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