PARENTING IN COVID-19 PANDEMIC SITUATION
It may seem strange but true that the lockdown situation has created some physiological and psychological problems for our young minds. Perforce they have to stay at home in lockdown for long hours with their parents besides attending online classes. They are cut off from the outside world due to fear of contracting Covid-19 pandemic infection. Absence of formal education which could have resulted in regular studies in classroom environs along with meeting with their classmates on daily basis wherein the teachers play pivotal role. The lockdown have made the students prisoners in their own homes. Although it is a fact that parents are the first teachers or Gurus of their wards but students require to attend formal and informal institutions for a holistic growth and development but due to self-isolation at homes, formal education has received a big jolt.
LOCKDOWN SITUATION & ONLINE CLASSES
Online classes give the students exposure to screen-time mobiles/computers for a longer period of time (From 8 AM to 3 PM) not only impacts their eyesight but also encourage them to view unethical and immoral videos pictures polluting their impressionable minds. Till such time formal teaching in schools or colleges starts, it is imperative that the parents take charge and take care of their progenies and act as both the parents as well as teachers.
In the absence of formal schooling, online classes are being attended by the students. It is a fact that in the absence of formal schooling due to social distancing and isolation as a necessity due to fear of catching infection, the online classes are being pursued. But the basic requirements for these are; net-connectivity, quality mobiles and also somebody net savvy at home to assist the students in uploading the questions/answers of the lessons and tests for the appraisal of the teachers taking online classes. If there is nobody to assist in such a situation, the very purpose of online classes gets defeated.
It is relevant to know about some drawbacks in online classes:-
· Sometimes the quality of education is compromised due to lack of experience on online classes etc. by the teaching staff.
· The feedback is limited or the students can hardly get clarifications of their doubts as done in classroom environs.
· There is prevalence of cheating or copying – lack of discipline in teaching and learning processes.
· Time management is sometimes compromised.
· Social isolation results in physical and mental implications.
· Lack of discipline in some cases creates problems.
· It has been experienced that when online tests are conducted, if net-connectivity gets disrupted, the purpose of online classes gets defeated. I have observed parents facing difficulties in this respect.
· Cooperation and fellow-feeling which the students learn in formal education at schools leads to adjustment problems in the children.
· As the online screening-time is more, continuous exposure impacts the eyesight.
· The teaching/learning have to be monitored by the parents as the children can be exposed to immoral and unethical videos with breach of Information Technology Rules (Sexual Orientation). This has happened in some cases, The parents should closely guard this aspect.
SOME ADVERSE IMPACTS OF ONLINE CLASSES OBSERVED
The parents should always be partners in online teaching/learning processes otherwise their children will have to face adjustment problems. To quote a few episodes; in one of the cases students of 12-15 age-group uploaded abusive and obscene messages along with offensive videos while online classes were on. This will have a negative implication on the students besides the teaching staff gets demoralised. On 23rd August 2020), a seven year old boy slits his four year old cousin’s throat while playing a game outside their house in Bareilly (UP). Besides, there are so many unreported incidents which are impacting the students while living in the lockdown conditions.
For education classes to be effective and purposeful, it is important that the parents should always associate themselves fully while online classes are being conducted lest their wards get astray.
NON-USE OF ABUSIVE LANGUAGE
The other day, I was hugely surprised when I heard the abusive language being used by a five year child while he was interacting his sister aged about seven years. We may ignore it, thinking that such a use of language is merely by small kids who do not even understand the meaning of foul language. But, doubtlessly, if this stance continues then these kids will grow up to be spoiler of relationships. The parents should take extra care and caution that refined language is learned by their wards. For this, they themselves have to use the refined language in front of their children.
In Bible it has rightly been said: ‘Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.’
RESPONSIBILITY OF THE PARENTS IN LOCKDOWN SITUATION
In the lockdown condition and resultant isolation from the outside world, it is the responsibility of the parents to monitor all the actions of their children so that they may not grow to be the law breakers when they grow up. While in schools, the students learn from their peer group but in their homes while in isolation due to lockdown condition the children may learn social norms besides traditional norms from brothers, sisters and other members of the family. If the parents use abusive language while having heated arguments then their children too will use the same language. My earnest request to the parents is to use refined and polished language at least while their children are around.
PARENTS SHOULD DISPLAY PATIENCE AND TOLERANCE
It is ironical that, in some cases, I have observed that one-upmanship attitude too is responsible for spoiling the children. If one spouse wants to advice a child in a particular way, the other spouse just intervenes thereby creating a piquant situation. This attitude of ‘I am the boss’ undoes everything which a child has learned. The result is the child loses confidence on his/her parents who remain at logger heads on flimsy grounds. A child brought up in this environs grows to be quarrelsome, non-confident, non-trusting and above all non-cooperative while he/she grows up. For the children to grow to be moral, ethical and brimming with confidence, it is essential that the parents conduct themselves in patience, tolerance and in cooperative spirit while interacting with each other in front of their impressionable children.
FOUNDATION OF CHILDREN’S RIGHT ATTITUDE & BEHAVIOR
PATTERN STARTS AT EARLY CHILDHOOD ITSELF
It is important to note that while the children are observing lockdown norms at homes, it is the prime responsibility of the parents to remember that the base of their children (ethical and moral standpoints) would be made in the early childhood itself. And in the absence of proper formal schooling; this responsibility falls on the parents. They cannot shift their responsibility on others since it is their duty to look after every aspect of their children for ensuring holistic growth. If the parents observe that their child is behaving illogically or irrationally then they should analyse the reason and take corrective steps so that the child refines his/her behavior. The parents should never forget that it is in the early childhood that the foundation of the character is laid – their habits, etiquettes, attitudes. Behaviour patterns, patience, tolerance, perseverance, self-confidence etc. are learnt from the parents only till isolation norms continue. Care ought to be exercised that persuasion in place of persecution should be the norm – beating or abusing will not mend matters. These will rather raise a building with unsteady foundation.
DISCUSSIONS ON PHILOSOPHERS AND THINKERS WITH CHILDREN
It is our duty of parents, grandparents etc to raise their children in a way considered appropriate in lockdown situation. In the present scenario, the parents should make an endeavor to discuss variety of useful things which are of interest to them such as sharing the lives of national heroes, about the scientists, about philosophers and thinkers who came from humble origin but had a indelible impression on the general masses.
USE OF INNER POTENTIALITIES
The parents should encourage their children to utilize their inner potentialities – instill creative mindset, ask questions about their doubts etc. It is the responsibility of the parents to ease any problem with physical and mental orientation and motivate them to have positive attitude. If need be they can take the help of medical advice if need be. It should be the endeavor of the parents that the time they have with their children is utilized in order to inculcate discipline, feeling of love and affection and also a feeling of cooperation. The children should also be encouraged to follow hobbies like reading, writing, gardening, cooking etc. since time management is a must. It should be kept in mind that time wasted cannot be retrieved therefore every minute should be used for further growth.
FOR MAKING CHILDREN SUBLIME THE PARENTS THEMSELVES HAVE TO BE SHINING EXAMPLES
The parents should realize that any unethical behaviour pattern will learned will make a permanent residency in the psyche of the children which may be counterproductive when they grow up. Good parents are those who restrain themselves from acting unethically and irrationally in front of their wards because the social norms have to be learned from the family itself by the children while in lockdown situation. Closely observing the children growth and development should be the norm. If any mistake is observed, the child concerned should be advised to follow the right course of action but here too with love because with love we can control even a brute. Love is a great motivator should never be forgotten.
In Guru Granth Sahib it has been said: He alone is a householder, who restrains his passions. The parents, therefore, should be tolerant and patients while transforming the behavior pattern of their offspring.
THE PARENTS CAN GIVE QUALITY TIME TO THEIR CHILDREN
In the lockdown period, the parents have sufficient time. They can utilize their time and resources so that their children cultivate good attitude, habits, behaviour pattern, etiquette and above all follow social norms. Giving quality time to the children will benefit the children manifold.
TIMELY ACTION BY THE PARENTS ACTS AS A PANACEA
While giving quality time to their children, as and when they find any adverse influence, they should make sincere efforts in refining their behavior without wastage of time on the basis of dictum ‘A stitch in time saves nine. When we plant sapling, it has to be watered regularly and protected then only it can yield sweet fruits. This analogy could also be for our children.
MAINTAINING DISCIPLINE – FORMATION OF GOOD HABITS AND ATTITUDES
It should never be forgotten by the parents that they are the only ones who can influence their children while they are in lockdown situation – under the care and protection of the parents. They can discipline them according to the requirement but in this endeavor, love and care should be the prime requirement. It should be realized that habits and attitudes ones formed cannot be undone with ease therefore the parents should utilize this lockdown time in this direction.
Conclusively, the parents should keep in mind the following aspects while in Covid-19 situations.
The parents should never ignore the unethical habit, behavior and attitude of their children. It is their obligatory duty to refine their children from childhood. In Bhagwad Gita it has been very effectively stressed: Perform your obligatory duty, because action is indeed better than inaction.
It has been observed that when the latent energies of the children positively then they will utilize the same in following some negative pursuits. This should be done through awards and punishment. In Bible it has been opined : Through praise of children and infants you have established a stronghold against your enemies, to silence foe and the avenger.
The parents should give quality time to their children as they have sufficient time to give to their children in lockdown conditions. The parents not only bestow them the value system but also the traditional mores besides how best to adjust in the environment in which they are living. When the parents show helplessness despite the best efforts then the parents should take help of the specialists.
The parents have to be Karma Yogis themselves then only they can refine the behavior of their wards for attainments of their goals in life. This would be in line with Bhagwad Gitas wisdom: A Karma-yogi performs action by body, mind, intellect, and senses, without attachment or ego.
It has been observed that those children who are obstinate and hard nut to crack, they could be made the real doers if their latent energies are channeled in right spirit by assigning/entrusting them the responsibilities and trusting them. The parents should do everything to assist their children to utilize latent energies. Positive beliefs should be inculcated in the children. For this Bhagwad Gita’s truth prevails: Man is made by his belief. As he believes, so he becomes.