Being better parents

The amount of time we’re spending with our children is shortening.

Understandably, this is because we’re working longer hours.

But what is worrying is that some of us are also spending more of our leisure hours with our televisions, laptops, tablets, and smart phones, rather than our children.

At a recent parent-teacher-child meeting held at a school in Thimphu, it was pointed out that some students had submitted essays wishing they were a social media platform like Facebook or a television set, rather than a child. They feel that only then would they be loved more.

Some students also said that these technologies and social media platforms were causing their parents to fight.

Alcohol abuse and divorce were other activities that disturbs the young minds of our children.

No society is perfect but when it comes to better parenting, there is much we can learn and do to better ourselves judging by the way some of us live our lives.

Better parenting is not possible if we are not there as parents in the first place.

Alcohol abuse and divorce are issues that have been around for some time. On alcohol, efforts continue to be made by the government and some non-government organisations in the form of education and awareness, counselling, and rehabilitation. Recognising that alcoholism is a disease that requires medical and family attention is a first step many of us are beginning to understand.

But when it comes to divorce, we can do more.

Getting divorced is an easy process in Bhutan requiring little paperwork. This is in stark contrast to some public services that can entangle applicants in red tape for days, sometimes weeks.

It is ironic that the one service that should rightly be cumbersome is not. A time consuming divorce process could give some couples who intend to split just enough time to re-think their decision. Not all breaks are repairable but a few are based on impulse and can be mended. There could be requirements added to the process such as undergoing couple’s counselling and other sorts of interventions before a divorce is approved by a court.

The requirements to obtain a marriage certificate could also perhaps get more stringent, not in terms of red tape, but in having certain conditions met like the number of years that a couple has lived together prior. There is a weakness in the system as made apparent by incidences of fake marriages taking place for visas.

Ensuring that both the father and mother are together is the first step towards achieving better parenting. We can achieve this by making sure marriages are built on solid foundations and that in times of trouble, both are open to repairing their relationship through counselling. However, this is not to say that single parents cannot do the same what two parents can.

Following that, tackling an issue like not spending enough time with children becomes a comparably easier task.

There is a need to begin educating ourselves on what good parenting is.

The BBS programme on parenting where a parent is interviewed along with their child is an initiative that deserves to be sustained.

Some schools are beginning to observe “parenting month” which is another important initiative. Through such programmes and events parents can be made aware of where they are lacking.

We have to learn how important it is, as a parent, to make time for our children, not just physically but mentally as well. We need to know how our actions, our behaviours, directly influence our children. If we can clearly see the link and be constantly reminded about it, perhaps, we will serve as better role models.

Studies have shown that good parenting helps to foster qualities such as empathy, honesty, self-reliance, cooperation, among others. It also promotes intellectual curiosity, motivation and a desire to achieve.

Which parent would not want their children to have such qualities.

It our duty to ourselves, to our children, and to our nation, to be the best parents possible.

2 replies
  1. Ihavepopcornyeah
    Ihavepopcornyeah says:

    There is no such thing as good/better parenting. One parent may let the child do what s/he wants while thinking they are doing right while another parent would be gatekeeper allowing only what they want the child to do all the while thinking they are doing good for their child.
    WE need to give awareness to Internet addiction & gaming addiction. Encourage people to engage in activities. I can understand why most would turn to the internet/gaming. Especially in Bhutan, no offense, but there is absolutely nothing to do there. There are hardly any programs to enjoy as children and absolutely nothing for adults to make them want to move out of their rooms. AND nada for activities that both child and parents can enjoy together. When there is a good place to enjoy there will be idiots who ruin it for the rest.

    WE might also need child psychologist or rather make aware of them so that parents especially new parents will at least understand what they should do for their child. Whether it be giving more attention or less.

    Encourage artistic outlets not just studying. Encourage children to express themselves, not just say it but literally allow children to speak their minds will reduce whatever stress they have back home and in school. WE have no clubs that do that. We live with that idea that studying is the only thing that is important. This is how so many peoples dreams die.
    I might have gone a bit out of topic. After all what else can we do to battle internet/gaming addiction aside from trying to get awareness and hopefully the family of theirs does something about it. Atleast we can reduce whatever it is that stressing the child out eh?

  2. irfan
    irfan says:

    It may not be considered a wrong advice to start learning a language with a book on grammar, a dictionary and a few methods to master. Same may be considered true when it comes to learning a new literature in any field of study. And still, we probably need a bit more than just that in creating new literature that can be considered our own.

    In education, creating methods for new literature is equally important than mastering older methods to study existing literature for repeating the older things in newer ways. But then, it’s not the only case always.

    It definitely needs a bit of soul searching at personal level to understand our environment in a way that involves both CREATIVE INNOVATION and THOUGHTFUL RENOVATION. But this is true only in my own literature and I can’t force that on anyone else.

    So if marriage and children or family in general can be considered as some form of literature in any way; who is responsible for creating it and who is for keeping it continuously renovated! Understanding in details about all the marriages in the family involved in the past may not necessarily make a new marriage happier and happier going into the future. But it probably has always been a matter of constructive debate anyway; hasn’t been so?

    If marriage and parenting can be considered a literature of some kind; the family remains responsible for the methods involved. And it needs to be some mutually inspired methodology in my simple opinion where each and every of such independent families holds the copyright to it.

    But the bigger question is…’where does a family start?’. Is it our grandparents or parents or us or our children to mark a beginning in parenthood and family! May be that it only starts with you and your marriage only. But we can only be just mutually married in parenting our children and there are usually no methods to be borrowed from elsewhere.

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