January 24, 2021

Raising children in today’s world – A learning from a workshop by Antara Ganguly

Antara Ganguly , a mum who lives in U.S shares her insights on raising children in today’s global world that is often getting masked with colours of racism, religion and other biases.

She says, “Recently I attended a workshop on parenting. Parents from different country and speakers from different countries were there. I wanted to share my experience and learning with the mom’s in the forum.

We always want to raise our kid’s right and always be with them whenever they need us. Today the world is a global village. Especially for me when I am raising my kid in the US.

US is a land of immigrants with diverse parenting. Different countries have different notions of “most important “ lessons for the kids.

In the workshop, a UK parent said that communication and manners are the most important for them to teach their kids. In North America, kids are encouraged independence from a young age with feeding, dressing and socializing.

In India and China parents are more involved in children’s education and achievements, and believe in pushing kids to go as far as possible in life. They have more of a formal relationship with the child where the child defers to them as an elder, and shows respect. As almost everyone works in Norway due to expensive living- kids are in daycare. Hence children are raised in a community

In India the extended family and community is thought to have the best ideas for rearing children to be happy, healthy and well-adjusted adults.  They also always have many other children to play with so loneliness is not an option. In US culture, there is not a lot of privacy, people think it is necessary space and alone time that is so important to family members in the US and for children in the US. Kids learn to like alone time.

We cannot instill in kids every skill we can imagine. From experience I can say that one cannot completely one’s raise one’s kid in the setting or culture set up of a different country. That’s because the surroundings won’t allow you to do that.

So it’s good to pick up some basic life skills which can help the child to cope better in the world today and grow into a responsible, respectable and valuable member of the society.

Differences and disagreements are inevitable in life. Teach them to focus on the problem and not on the person that becomes easier to control dangerous emotions like anger and rage. Encourage your child in accepting others for their differences. This will help them learn to team up and work with others toward common goals.

Encourage your child to standup for themselves and others, speak what’s in their mind boldly and respectfully and lead the way when situation calls for it. A child should know that everyone makes mistakes. Forgiveness can heal the worst of mistakes. Teach them there is no shame in asking for forgiveness and forgiving others, in fact it’s a mark of true courage. Encourage kids to show kindness and lend a helping hand wherever they can.

Life is not all sunshine and rainbows. It is also not all gloom and doom. Life is a mix of good and bad experiences. If you focus on the positive side of life more than the negative, life isn’t so bad after all. Encourage kids to remain positive, count their blessings and extract joy and happiness from “little” things in life, like a beautiful sunset or wonderful family. Positivity and laughter can shield from the stress and pain in the world.

Encourage, and even reward, them for good hygiene behavior and healthy living, including eating well and exercising regularly. When kids are clean, healthy and happy, everyone is happy. Teach them to take care of the environment in which they live in. Take care of plants and animals around.

Love is the greatest virtue of them all. Everything hinges on it. Without love everything crumbles. Teach kids to love themselves and others not for what they do, but for who they are. And when kids are old enough, let them know the importance of loving their partner unconditionally and practicing safe sex. It might be uncomfortable, but don’t forget to teach kids how to recognize and say “No!” when someone is using or abusing them sexually.

Be careful not to push your child into an activity for your own ego or enjoyment. Trust the teachers for skill development in the respective areas. As a parent you can give the basic life skills and your best in giving necessities but most importantly give a lot of your time to your child.”

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