Are par­ents right to take their kids along ev­ery­where they go or force them to do ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties they might not like? Ex­perts give us their opin­ions

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Time-Out - Collin Ro­drigues ■ collin.ro­drigues@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Last week, Don­ald Trump was sworn in as the 45th Pres­i­dent of the United States at a lav­ish cer­e­mony in Wash­ing­ton DC, USA. The en­tire event was tele­casted live on TV around the world. But when the cam­eras panned to Trump’s 10-year-old son, Bar­ron Trump, the boy did not seem to be in­ter­ested in what was happening around him or what his fa­ther was talk­ing about. Young Bar­ron yawned sev­eral times, and could be seen try­ing to keep him­self awake. Barack Obama’s younger daugh­ter, Sasha Obama, was also pho­tographed yawn­ing at her fa­ther’s inau­gu­ra­tion in 2013.

These are signs that such events just don’t in­ter­est kids in gen­eral.


It’s very com­mon for adults to take chil­dren along for par­ties, events or shop­ping. Par­ents rarely bother to find out if their chil­dren want to ac­com­pany them to some­thing that is of in­ter­est to adults. But clin­i­cal psy­chol­o­gist Seema Hin­gor­rany says: “Tak­ing chil­dren to par­ties, events or for shop­ping helps them de­velop so­cial skills, which helps later in life. But, at times, if your child is not in the mood to at­tend a party or an event, it’s okay to let go. A par­ent shouldn’t have rigid boundaries.” How­ever, Swati Popat Vats, pres­i­dent of Po­dar ed­u­ca­tion net­work, says tak­ing chil­dren out of­ten may not al­ways be good for them. She says, “If a child is so­cially in­te­grated at such events from a young age, he or she will grow up with pos­i­tive so­cial and in­ter­per­sonal skills. Man­ners and eti­quette can be learned in such sit­u­a­tions. But if a party or din­ner winds up late at night, it may af­fect a child’s health.”

But if a child is old enough to un­der­stand what they like or dis­like, par­ents can al­ways ask them for their views. Hin­go­rani says, “When we mould chil­dren ac­cord­ing to our ex­pec­ta­tions, we stop their emo­tional and psy­cho­log­i­cal growth al­to­gether. So, it’s ideal that you in­form them where you are tak­ing them and why.”


Apart from par­ties, din­ners and other events, adults of­ten sign their kids up for ex­tracur­ric­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties such as danc­ing, singing or mu­sic lessons with­out their con­sent. Popat Vats says, “While the con­cept of ‘en­rich­ment classes’ is catch­ing on in In­dia, I don’t know if the term ‘en­rich­ment’ de­scribes it best. I think it is more of ‘keep them busy at any cost’ for some par­ents. For others, it is ‘I didn’t get a chance to learn this, so let my child do it’. ” She adds that chil­dren need and should be given free time and be al­lowed to get bored, as that’s how their creativ­ity and rea­son­ing skills de­velop. “We are pres­sure cook­ing our kids, which is lead­ing to frac­tured youth,” she says. Popat Vats says that the child should be the one to choose. “Af­ter all, you want the child to learn some­thing from these ac­tiv­i­ties. But in most cases, par­ents thrust these ac­tiv­i­ties on to their chil­dren.”


Bar­ron Trump (above) with his mother, Me­la­nia Trump (above-right) at the US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump inau­gu­ra­tion in Wash­ing­ton DC, USA

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