Archive | August, 2018

On Letting Children Be

14 Aug

Today, childhood is more competitive than carefree. In the quest to provide children a head start in life, many parents believe that it’s never too early to get your child to master grammar or music or swimming or tennis …… the list is exhausting.


Educational toys and videos are major money spinners as parents surround their children with these, in the hope of learning tables or scientific facts… among others. Every activity is about learning and keeping the child ‘busy’.


Two decades ago private tutoring was only for those struggling to keep up with their academics but today the number of students availing private coaching have risen as these classes are believed to be the magic wand that will get their child to the top of the class.


As I watch the children troop to school every morning after an evening filled with fast track learning I begin to understand why so many of our children are bored, disinterested and uninspired to learn.


Far from churning out ‘Little Einsteins’, this new-age learning has given rise to a general lack of enthusiasm, decline in reading habits and various behavioural challenges that we see in our children.


Children feel pressured to keep bettering their grades, lest they disappoint their parents while parents wonder if they are doing enough to ensure that their children survive in this competitive world.


A Catch 22 situation this is, with nothing productive coming out of it, instead both sides feeling guilty for not having done enough.

Overscheduling and pressure to achieve is a silent epidemic, that is slowly taking away from our children the joy that childhood is supposed to bring. Hard-nosed focus only on performance may help some children excel academically but more often it crushes the self esteem of many children and gives rise to various mental health issues. I sometimes wonder if it is this ‘busyness’ and achievement obsessed system that make our children less compassionate and caring towards others.


It is time we salvage that buoyant childhood for our children and begin to savor our time with them. Raising healthy, happy and socially-responsible youngsters with the required self confidence to pursue their dreams requires us to take the ‘middle path’ between having high expectations for our children and prioritizing their wellbeing There isn’t one standard recipe for getting to this ‘balance’ with every child. The only common thread is the knowledge that achievement and well-being are two sides of the same coin.


  • Warm and trusting relationships – Where the child feels loved and wanted
  • Slowing down to talk and listen to your child
  • Plenty of ‘doing nothing’ times so the child gets to explore and learn about the world around him
  • Scaling down on structured adult directed activities that fill up our child’s day …..

All these will help move the needle from Competitive back to Carefree on the childhood experience scale.