Teachers, parents, and their children come together to solve an emerging problem

Parenting: “Two things I dislike are alcohol and We-Chat. These make my parents quarrel,” read one of the quotes on a board at the Khasadrapchu middle secondary school (KMSS).

The school observed “positive parenting month” on April 9.

A number of quotes from students were displayed on a board in a hall in which parents and their children, all students at the school, had gathered.

“Please parents don’t get divorced,” read another quote.

“The most painful thing I have gone through is seeing my parents hate each other,” another student had written.

Department of Youth and Sports (DYS) senior programmes officer, Tshering Lham, who spoke to many of the parents that day, said the amount of time being spent with children is shortening.

“It is the parents compulsive engagement in social media such as We-Chat and Facebook or television, which seems to be taking away their time to be with children,” Tshering Lham said.

“We have reached an age where children are writing essays wishing to be either Facebook or television,” she said. “Because the children felt their parents loved these activities more than their own children.”

With such developments family members hardly have time to sit and eat together. Giving time to each other is becoming increasingly difficult for both parents and children.

DYS chief programme officer, Tashi Pelzom said parents can’t expect their children to study while they themselves are watching television in the next room.

“You don’t have to be educated to help your children with their homework, just be by their side to ask for water, tea or food,” Tashi Pelzom said. “Small things but it would help boost their morale immensely.”

The school’s counselor, Kezang Dukpa, addressed the gathering and said positive parenting month is being observed with the objective to improve the bond between the children and parents.

“Today is the day for the parents and children to understand each other,” Kezang Dukpa said, adding it is a day to celebrate little things. “Parenting day is to discuss together the issues and solve the challenges together,” he said.

The school’s principal, Karma Samphel said parenting is often forgotten or taken for granted. “Parenting every child is important till the completion of a university degree,” Karma Samphel said.

Many parents neglect parenting after their child has entered the teenage years, which is wrong, it was pointed out. Children are most vulnerable during their teenage years, it was added.

“In fact teenage is when the children need the most attention and care since this is the age when they would either choose good or bad,” Tshering Lham said. “When children aren’t given time, they can’t talk about their problems,” she added. “That is when parents can’t help prevent things that are regretful later.”

DYS officials also advised parents to monitor children’s gadgets such as mobile phones and information use from the internet to know the company their children keep.

“While it might be uncomfortable, parents must also make it a point to check their children’s bags occasionally as preventive methods to thwart untoward situations,” she said.

It was also advised to take extra care of daughters. It is important to educate the daughters about safety from an early age, it was pointed out. “For instance, to inform the parents if someone is trying to make an uncomfortable bodily touch,” Tshering Lham said.

Zhaynuritse from Dhangloh said parenting programmes should be held every four-five months. “Holding such activities often can prevent either child or parent from going astray before its too late,” Zhaynuritse said. “It would also strengthen teacher-parent relationship.”

Parent Rinzin Tshomo said the event was helpful because she discovered something new about her daughter. “I could learn a lot of things about my daughter, which I never knew before,” she said.

Her daughter, Sonam Pelden from class IX B said that such days actually help understand their parents better. For instance, Sonam Pelden found out her mother was good at drawing only after they both sat down for an art activity.

“I never knew she was so good in art,” Sonam Pelden said.

Karma Samphel said parenting is an indispensable part of every child. “Parenting therefore should be not only observed on an occasional day or in a month like this, but from the day a child is born to the end of their lives,” he said.

Tempa Wangdi