PAR­ENT­ING IS NO KID’S STUFF

Friday - - Editor’s Letter - Mri­nal Shekar Deputy Ed­i­tor mshekar@gulfnews.com

Afriend’s teenage daugh­ter re­cently sat her par­ents down and said the dreaded words: ‘We need to talk’. Af­ter an eerily long si­lence, dur­ing which the par­ents were con­sumed with all kinds of fears, she added, ‘I’m not ready to move out’. The thing is, the girl will soon be go­ing to col­lege and her par­ents had as­sumed that fly­ing the nest is a nat­u­ral process in life. Af­ter all, they did it, their par­ents did it and so shall their kids too. And don’t all kids look for­ward to be­ing on their own once they are out of school? Clearly, this one wasn’t. In their fran­tic search for the best ed­u­ca­tional in­sti­tu­tion for their ado­les­cent girl, they for­got to check with their daugh­ter whether she is ready to pack her bags and test her wings.

Stumped by her an­nounce­ment, my friends are now won­der­ing how they did not see this com­ing. While giv­ing her more per­sonal space, al­low­ing her to sort out her is­sues

In our ef­forts to be our kids’ FRIENDS, ex­perts say we’ve FORGOTTEN to be their PAR­ENTS; a role that re­quires us to GUIDE and nur­ture them so they BLOS­SOM into happy whole­some adults, ready to face the WORLD

with re­la­tion­ships, self-es­teem and ca­reer op­tions on her own, they thought they were build­ing a girl with a strong, in­de­pen­dent per­son­al­ity, who had con­fi­dence in her de­ci­sions and could han­dle any sit­u­a­tion. But it wasn’t so. In­stead, they’ve re­alised that their daugh­ter is ac­tu­ally over­whelmed by the thought of be­ing en­tirely re­spon­si­ble for her life and is look­ing for some hand-hold­ing from her par­ents to help her through.

Ac­cord­ing to ex­perts in the ar­ti­cle ‘How to un­der­stand your teenager’s brain’ on page 18, there’s noth­ing wrong in giv­ing your child that much-needed emo­tional sup­port. In our ef­forts to be our kids’ friends, though, ex­perts say we’ve forgotten to be their par­ents too; a role that re­quires us to guide them, talk to them and nur­ture them just so they blos­som into happy whole­some adults, ready to face the world and all that it’ll throw at them. And if you, like my friends, are feeling guilty of not in­vest­ing enough time in your teenage child, then take so­lace in the fact that it is not too late.

Let me know what you think. Un­til next week,

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