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Parenting in a Brave New World

It is said that children are a blessing not only to their parents and family, but also to the nation. Quality education, skill development, and a growth mindset are essential for children to succeed in a competitive world and to contribute to the economic growth and progress of the nation. Academic qualifications and skills alone are not enough for the holistic development of an individual. Values, attitudes, socio-emotional growth, ethics, empathy, and communication skills are qualitative factors that play a vital role in shaping an individual's character.

Most of the early lessons in life are learned at home. Parents have an important role to play in shaping the personality of the child. It is said that the first five years of a child's life are the most important phase, as all the crucial qualities of empathy, love, morality, kindness, and eagerness to learn are instilled during this time. Just as a plant has to be nurtured from the roots to emerge as a strong tree, parents play a crucial role in laying a solid foundation for the child to grow into a responsible adult.

Parenting is undoubtedly a challenging and stressful task for anyone, but at the same time, raising children can also bring happiness and fulfilment. As family systems and society are in a constant state of flux, parenting styles may also need to change from authoritarian parenting to participative or democratic parenting. Parents find themselves at a loss when trying to effectively intervene during their children's emotional crises or breakdowns due to a breakdown in communication between parents and children. Digital gadgets and social media may have their dark sides as well, making our kids vulnerable to various abuses and threats.

Excessive competition and parental pressure to conform to societal norms in pursuing careers put children under undue stress. This stress may manifest in the form of children becoming addicted to gaming, intoxicants, and drugs.

In this scenario, the young parents of today need more guidance, support, and help from communities, policymakers, and behavioural science experts to fulfil their roles with diligence and care. Appropriately, the 95th Rajagiri Round Table, held on August 16, 2023, via Zoom, deliberated on the topic of “Where the mind is without fear…” - Parenting Styles in a Brave New World.” The panel have recommended a multi-stakeholder approach to resolving the problems and crises in parenting. The recommendations and suggestions are compiled in the Round Table report published with this issue.

Happy reading!

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