I attended a parents-teachers meeting in Lungtenzampa Lower Secondary School last year. The teachers gave us a few papers on which are written questions that children usually have and what parents should do to groom them a good person. The following are what children usually have in their mind:
(I’ll give my views on each of the question and how we could help our children with respect to each question.)
- Mother, why are you not telling me anything when I am roaming?
=> Parents should know where their children are. If their children want to roam around with their friends for a while, they must say so to their parents and they should not lie to their parents and say that they are going to their friend’s house to work on homework. They should not be forced to make up stories. Parents should foster an environment where their children can talk to them face to face. They can do so by not always disapproving what they say. Children are not completely foolish. Our culture is such that, in a crowd of elders, children are not allowed – they would not be allowed to witness what they talk and if by any chance a child is among them and says something, they would ignore his view, totally.
- Father, why are you not listening to me when I am telling something to you?
=>Yes, parents should have time for their children. If parents thought they could have no time for their children, they should have given second thought of bringing them in the world. They cannot take sex as a mere forgetful accident-causing action.
- I always do everything on time but why don’t you send me out with my friends?
=>Today the world is so competitive and so parents tend to get worked up with the thought of how well their children may fare. This makes them want their children to work so hard, so hard that sometimes they forget human can work only so hard. Just as machines need rest, humans do too. Everything exhausts. So instead of making their children study, study and study, they should ask them to take rest. Middle path is what we always say.
- Why do two of you fight? Moreover, dad you always find another wife?
=>It is natural to have difference between spouses. But we should not think it is natural to bring the differences up in front of our children. Not that we should fake our demeanor. If we are frank with our children, they will understand us. But, I think, instead of taking it for granted that they will understand us, it is better to resolve the difference parents have behind the children, without causing them to have other multiple questions of whys and whats. Sometime it could be the husband who has an affair or sometime, it could be the wife. In either case, they should not make it an embarrassing scene. It is not happening to them alone. A father should not give his children the impression that he is a Casanova. He probably feels nice about it but his children don’t find it cool.
- Why two of you are always fighting and drinking alcohol and taking Baba and Doma?
=>I think it is extremely important to remember that what our children learn are what we show them. We should not indulge in all these intoxicating behaviors in front of our children. If you are already addicted to smoking for example, you know how addiction works. You should not let your children think that it is alright to smoke. Because you know it isn’t. Of course, your children ought to pick up the habit you show them, if you are not careful.
- Other parents, when their children come home from school, they ask, “How was your day? What did you do in school today?” But my parents don’t ask like this. Why is this so? I want to share all my feelings with them.
=>It comes down to saying the same thing. Parents should have time for their children. They must inquire how they are doing at school, what they did at school, who their friends are, what kind of things they do together, etc. It isn’t called nosy. It is parents’ responsibility to let their children feel that they are cared. They are growing up right now and it is important for them to feel cared. What is more important than many things is that, they must be encouraged. If they did something wrong, you don’t straight away get jumpy and shout. You have to tell them that, that was a mistake but they could do it better next time. They should tell them how though.
Note: These are random thoughts. The note has been lying in my ‘To Do’ file for more than a year. And as I sorted through my files, I thought I should get it done with and what I wrote here is a fast-run thought of a momentary parental role. Some might think, what I write is irrelevant because I’m not a parent myself but I think, I have been parenting many children already. I may not be doing the best too, but we can all try.
I will bring up a sequence to this on the daughters having different set of questions, mostly to do with cultural view on women.