Don’t pressure cook your kid

By Julia Fernandes

August 26, 2011


“We worry about what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today.” -- Stacia Tauscher


Parenting is one of the most selfless and toughest jobs in the whole world. It is a job where the perks are few and the responsibilities high. It is job that you can never truly retire from as long as you are alive. Even when parents die they continue to care, love and guide their children. So, in a way this job extends even after your death depending upon how much you loved your job!


Every child is a special gift from God. As parents it is upto us how we treasure, value, and take care of this gift. Any one can become a father or mother but it takes years of selfless love, tender care and tremendous patience to grow as wonderful parents. You may become a father/mother overnight but it takes many years to become the parent that God intends you to be!


Many times while walking on the station platform I see insensitive parents dragging their tiny tots. I can sense the parent’s frustration in keeping up with the tiny steps of their children. They forget that their kids are small and so their steps will obviously be small too. It is a heart-tugging sight to see cute three to four year olds holding their parents hands and hurriedly taking double steps almost to the point of leaping to keep up with the large strides of their parents.


Often in the name of discipline I see parents producing terror in the hearts of their kids. Once I was sitting outside the church while the service was going on inside. A woman brought her child out and started to admonish her. I reckon that the little girl was playing or talking inside the church. The child must have been three to four years old. I was sitting very close to the mother-daughter.


The mother did not scream or shout since it was a public place. But she quietly and with great force pinched her daughter’s cheeks and with the most terrifying look and tone warned her daughter sternly that she will never ever talk in the church again. The normal reprimand with love was missing. The girl just stood there numb with fear. She could not even cry too fearing more backlash from her mother. I myself freaked out looking at the terrorizing face and tone of the mother, so you can imagine what must have been the plight of that poor kid.


I have also seen over zealous parents exerting pressure on their children where studies are concerned. It is so sad. Some parents think that their child is no less than a superboy / supergirl. They do not give them room for errors; they expect their child to be perfect and learn everything. Parents don’t realize but such kind of unreasonable behaviour affects the child as children do not have a mechanism to deal with such kind of pressure.


Few years back my nephew while doing his homework was sweating profusely. When I approached him I realized that the stress of completing a large assignment of homework not given by the teacher but by his dad -- was causing him the anxiety. Then I wrote half and told my nephew to write little and leave the rest. Only then his anxiety eased. Parents need to judiciously understand how much portion they should cover and how much they can leave. You need not have to make your child learn the whole textbook!


Children need to be handled in a firm yet gentle way. If you have to discipline, do so with love and not fear. Do not put pressure more than what your child can handle. Each child is unique; recognize the talents God has blessed in your child. Encourage your child’s efforts; your few words of encouragement mean the world to them. Give them the freedom to follow their dreams. They are your little darlings; please don’t pressure cook them!