Becoming a parent changes your life. And not just in the way you think. It rewires your brain.
And then there are those moments of inexplicable joy, of extreme guilt, of inadequacy, of sudden limitless superpowers, of boundless love and baseless fears.
Coming to think of fears, anybody who has assuaged a 3-year old about his fears about
'monsters in the cupboard' might realise that the 'monsters' in his or her own head cannot be shaken away so easily. The fears of a parent are real - very real.
Here are some of the most common fears of parenting in the millennial generation.
1. Their child(ren)'s health: Among the crusade against global warming, mindless consumerism and irresponsible eating habits- many parents reported that obesity was on the very top of their concerns regarding their kids. According to a survey by GoodTherapy - Obesity came out of top of all parenting fears. This should tell us a thing or two about our consumption patterns and lifestyles.
What parents can do: Inculcate conscious consumerism in children. Take time to explain how targeted marketing works and how this can lead them to make bad decisions for their health. Follow a moderate and healthy lifestyle yourself- for kids learn best by watching alone.
2. That they will grow up feeling entitled- As Mark Cuban famously remarked, "My biggest fear(about my kids), after their health, is that they will grow up to be jerks- that they grow up with a sense of entitlement". According to this article in TIME, the entitled kids phenomenon is real- and on the rise. Unsurprisingly, overprotective parents are seen as the direct cause for this.
In her book,"The Me, Me, Me Epidemic", parenting expert Amy McCready triggers a debate on children who behave only if they are promised a 'treat' all the way up to narcissistic teens who will go to any extent to 'fit in'.
What parents can do: Don't jump at every chance to help your kids. Educate yourself on what is age-appropriate and what seems unnecessary. Get over the urge to compete with other parents in 'providing' for your child. Buy fewer toys and allow them to explore Nature. Respect their curiosity. In simple terms- be the parent.
3. That they will be bullied- Bullying is so prevalent that it has attained the status of an epidemic. Though this can be easily overlooked as part of growing up, bullying can have serious repercussions even in adult life. Cyberbullying is another addition in the millennial age that cannot be overlooked.
What parents can do: Being empathetic and listening- really listening to your child can reduce the impact of bullying. Also, helping the child find other passions can lead to positive outcomes and increased self-esteem in the child.
4. That they will be hurt or molested - "Child Sexual abuse is rampant, indiscriminate and cuts across all cultures, class, geographies and religion"- says this report from IBTimes.
The worst part is, over 90% of sexual abuse is perpetrated by someone the child knows and trusts. Only about 6% of abuse gets reported. Even fewer are the number of cases
where action is taken. Other forms of abuse - like physical abuse, verbal abuse, emotional abuse are also very prevalent.
What parents can do: Educate your child on body parts. Talk to them in easy, understandable terms about good touch and bad touch. Avoid euphemisms for body parts.
Instil enough confidence in your child to come talk to you whatever happens. Communicate to her clearly that you want to help her- not punish her. Also, establishing a neighbourhood watch program can help look out for each other in a community.
5. That they can be victims of accidents - With all the focus on gadgets and looking cool to fit in with the peer groups, some statistics can only be called shocking. Their brains go through a lot of change during these years that About 23% of all car accidents involved texting. About 11 teen deaths occur everyday. It could only be a cool TTYL, but it could just be a split-second too late.
What parents can do: Do not, under any circumstances, call your teen, if you know he/she might be driving. Avoid emotionally charged conversations over the phone. If need be, restrict the use of the phone, or the car, or both.
About the Author:
Devishobha is the founder of Kidskintha- where parenting is inspired by kids. It's a specialised content zone for two important facets that touch a child's life- Parenting and Education. Get your own FREE eBook "53 Timeless Parenting Hacks To Raise Happy Kids" here. Watch out for her soon-o-be-launched line of merchandize exclusively inspired by everyday quips of children!