The recent incident in Soibugh Budgam where a 13-year-old boy was found hanging nearby his home is horrific. While people are still clueless about the whole matter, this has however shocked the entire area. Many different stories are doing the rounds. Whatever the cause be, this has certainly worried everyone, be it parents, kids, youngsters or elders.
In the context of unfortunate incidents like this, one question that always begs an answer is the parent-child relationship. We have come across many such incidents in the country where youngsters take extreme steps, often for frivolous reasons. Gen-Z, as the current generation is called, tend to be more sensitive and reactive. While there are many positive traits the current generation possesses, but they are also prone to issues like low self-esteem and anxiety. This probably makes the job of parenting even more demanding today.
Teenage is the time of changing physical and biological needs. More so, in the current times teenagers have access to resources that earlier generations didn't have at an early age. Gen-Z is exposed very early to factors that can have a direct impact on their morals and mind. It is this period where parents play an important role. Parenting today is not only about fulfilling the financial and social obligations but involves being a role model for teenagers. What you do and say as a parent, guides your ward's behaviour and attitude.
One factor that gets overlooked today and hence becomes problematic in the parent-child relationship is the generation gap. It is natural for the generation gap to exist. What is important though is to understand the respective roles a parent and a child play around that axis.
It is natural for Gen-Z to have an opinion and be part of the decision making. There is no harm, as a parent, in accepting these traits in your kids. Forcing your decisions as a parent may have worked with earlier generations, but that is not the case anymore. Your children, no doubt is your closest possession but at the same time loving and providing for them alone is not what it takes to raise them better.
Parenthood is not a subject you master overnight. Understanding the needs and demands of the younger generation is an art that must be learnt gradually. Children are like clay and can be moulded in any shape and parenthood plays an important role in determining that shape. Your kid's habits, behaviour, languages they speak, etc. are going to reflect your parenthood. If you want to raise a disciplined and obeying child, you must invest in parenthood. Ordering and intimidating your kids is not what parenthood means in today's times.
Good communication is a key to every successful relationship. It is a case with parenting too. Reach out to your teenagers and share your concerns and advice. If you hear them, they will hear you too. You surely are a parent first, but there is no harm being a parent-friend to your kids, especially to the teenagers.
As said, parenthood is not a subject to master, it is an art to craft and it will come only if you invest in it.
Durafshan Tariq is PG Student of English Literature at Cluster University Srinagar