Resonance For Parents – Peer Pressure of Parenthood
I, too, am a parent. I love my children. I strive to give them all that was in short stock during my formative years: from the daily life of material comfort to luxurious vacations, education in a reputed school to memberships in clubs, from sports to intellectual munition. My attempt is to distil my life’s learnings and the biographies of others into conducive lessons for my children, so that they may fit in or stand out as they see fit.
However, in the course of raising children, hesitant doubts creep in when it comes to making unconventional choices—Am I being reckless? What would other parents do in a similar situation? Am I doing the right thing? Our responses to these questions, our insecurity about the opinions of our peers, sculpt the guidance our children receive from us.
The difficult choices we make affect three different aspects of our children’s life: physical, emotional and intellectual.
Physical: Parents try to mould a child’s personality, which includes their physical appearance, based on what is trendy. Trends represent the movement of the herd. Brands in vogue, fast fashion, organic clothing, front layer haircuts, bearded boys, crocs shoes, rap music, Netflix, food courts, perfume. We limit our children’s senses, what they see, hear, smell, taste and touch, based on the practices of the herd. The problem here is that all this is transient, ephemeral. The child creates their likes and dislikes based on the preferences of others. Thus, the child becomes instinctively dependent on others. This produces the most searing form of peer pressure so early in life.
Emotional: As parents, it is our miserable custom to compare our children with those “good children”. This comparison could result in inferiority, or a superiority, complex in our child. And their likes are controlled by these complexes. But when these likes of theirs are steered by parents, there emerges agreed for more, an arrogance for what is in one’s possession, envy for what is not. When parents interrupt their desires, it sprouts their anger. When the same desires are suppressed for long, there comes frustration.
Intellectual: In the interest of their intelligence, we choose the best school for our children, the widest libraries, the most engaging lectures and the most insightful books. However, As parents, we place an exaggerated value on reputation while making these choices. If we make these choices based on reputation, and not our child’s personality, we are forcing them to go against their very natural disposition. In this way, we are slowing them down by creating the head-wind, rather than the tail-wind the aircraft needs.
One must create their own trends, based not on one’s parental peers, but on the child itself. The pressure imposed by social media is a lot to deal with, let’s not fuel parent-media anxiety in the minds of our young. The pressure that parents feel is created by themselves in order to fit in amongst other parents. It is plainly “selfish” to pass this pressure down to young minds. Parents say to themselves- I am doing it for the child. Oh! get real.
The pure love we have for our children is contaminated by peer pressure faced by parents. Our insecurities obscure our vision.
Written Exclusively for CoCoGram by Meenakshi Chaudhary, Kolkata.