Children from birth to around twelve years are virtually captives in their own home. Their parents control them entirely. The child is told what to do and what not to do. What to eat or what not to eat. What clothes to wear and what not to wear. Every step of his life is directed and controlled. Their control seems quite legitimate as children lack the wherewithal to fend for themselves. But the problem arises when parents and guardians exceed the limits in using their power to govern their children. A common weakness among people is to use their power freely. One needs strength of character to have all the power and not use it unless essential to do so.
Children are the most common victims of the abuse of power, because of parents’ inability to relate to their children. Parents believe the younger generation has turned defiant, aggressive and even rebellious. Parents fail to realise the problem of relationship in most cases, invariably stems from the lack of intellect to assess the psychological traits of their children. They operate from emotional pressures arising from their cloying attachment and possessiveness towards their children, virtually strangulating helpless children with their ‘love’ and ‘care’. Parents therefore need to realise their inherent weakness and make a careful study of the individual natures of their children.
Children have no worries of their past or anxieties for the future, and so they have extraordinary energy whereas adults are infested with worry and anxiety rendering them tired and fatigued. Both the young and old are unaware of this natural disparity between them. The solution is not in stifling children’s actions but in giving their irrepressible energy a proper direction.
Besides the disparity in energy levels between the young and old, there is a difference in their temperaments as well. Children possess the power of grasping new concepts and ideas sooner than their elders. That explains why youngsters take to new trends and fashions earlier than grown-ups. Parents take much longer time to accept, absorb anything new. This disparity in time for absorption of innovative ways of living causes, what is commonly referred to as the “generation gap”.
Hence it becomes the parents’ obligation to understand, to realise the existence of the natural disparity of levels both in the physical and mental makeup of the young and the old. Unfortunately, the well-wishing and well-meaning parents fail to recognise the existence of these glaring differences in natures. Instead, they try to treat this nagging problem with an iron hand.
However, if the parents and guardians desire their young to adopt a better lifestyle, change from a licentious to a disciplined way of living, they must possess and live those values themselves. They must set the example of living the higher values of life and refrain from giving sermons to their wards. But parents, more often than not, do not set the example of a disciplined lie and keep ordering their children to be disciplined. Therein lies a ‘double fault’. It can never work that way.
The famed German scientist, Albert Einstein observed : “Setting an example is not the main means of influencing others, IT IS THE ONLY MEANS”.