Need for Powerful Parenting
Today we need Powerful Parenting that will make your teen soar high in this complex world or the “VUCA” world. So what is the “VUCA” world? I will come to that in a little bit. But what is essential to understand is that this makes parenting all the more difficult and opens up an entire gamut of interpretations.
Being a parent of a “Millennial” or a “Zillennial” ( aka Gen Z) keeps you always on tenterhooks. We are constantly judging our ability to bring up our children. Am I doing the so-called “right parenting “.. am I too lenient or too harsh, too liberal or too conservative? Will I stress my child, or am I the friend he or she needs? A sea of thoughts come and go through our minds & we are constantly changing our strategies to get across to our kids. You need some Powerful Parenting that will make your teen soar high in this complex world what I call the “VUCA” world.
The VUCA World
My husband and I have been blessed with two daughters who belong to the Zillennial club & for us the VUCA world from their perspective is this :
V- VOLATILE– Liable to display rapid changes of emotion depending on whether the internet speed is acceptable or they have the expected “Likes” on the social media posts
U- UNCERTAIN– of what they want to do or where their priorities lie. These change every day due to the exposure to social media, influencers, and friends & of course the ever cautious parents
C- Our kids certainly live in more COMPLEX times than us as a result of a plethora of choices to follow, from clothes to career to numerous online challenges.. with social media dictating how one should eat sleep dress and most importantly live our lives. Terms like Cyber Bulling, FOMO, Body Shaming & Imposter Syndrome are things happening in our world & maybe closer to home.
A- We live in times that are in many ways, AMBIGUOUS. Maybe that’s why kids want precision in what they read, hear & expect – they don’t like that moral ambiguity. But we as parents are still transitioning from the morals of yesterday to the realities of today & that’s where the conflict arises.
So how are my husband & I handling this? We are trying to do something called “Reverse Parenting,” i.e. learning from our two girls which in turn gives us an insight into what values, morals & traits they have picked up from the ecosystem including us.
Their conversations, reactions, decisions & judgements reflect these and are very important building blocks of their character & will help them survive or even thrive in this VUCA world.
Key lessons learnt till now :
- Walk the Talk: Children are like sponges, they absorb both good things & bad things from us first & then the environment. The process of Parenting has made us more conscious of our actions & reactions both as we are being “watched”. And in the process we have also learned a few good habits. Phone-distancing, minding our Ps & Qs & not being judgemental are few of those.
- Realize your passion & live it: My elder daughter taught me this important lesson and she was only 5 then. I quote “ Mom I forget everything when I dance”. These were her words when she used to go for her Bollywood dance classes in our neighborhood. Today she is 15 & continues to be as passionate for dance as she was then. And the same passion drives her whether it is Bharatnatyam or Hip-hop Tik-Tok videos.
- Don’t forget your roots: Our family moved to Singapore 6 months back. And we all had a completely new environment to adjust to especially the girls. New school, new friends, new infrastructure & a new way of living. So we recently asked our 12-year-old daughter, if she would like to go back to India? After experiencing this new country & what it had to offer, we had a different answer in mind. Her words were “I Like Singapore but I Love India- how can you even ask that question”. My learning – “No matter how far life may take us, it’s important to be grounded & remember your roots”
- Importance of a strong foundation: During our move to Singapore, a major milestone was school admissions for our girls. They were moving from a conventional CBSE school to an IB school with an entirely different curriculum. We took this plunge after much deliberation & numerous words of caution. But imagine my anxiety when the only question my teenage daughter had was this. Will I be allowed to color my hair? Fast forward to four months later, my daughter shares with me that she is thankful for her schooling foundation. The importance of perseverance she learned in India is helping her now despite the high-school distractions.
- Importance of Trust in any relationship: We have a common Netflix account for the family. This is shared with our daughters & they have open access to all the content. My elder daughter uses her discretion as she is in her mid-teens. But the younger one is very clear. She will only watch the content which she is authorized to. We don’t need to be the policemen when the kids are conscientious. We just need to calibrate on what is “Right” and when.
Reading this you may feel that we have an ideal parenting formula. This is not the case & will never be. We also have our share of conflicts & arguments which take us back to the drawing board. The basics are discussed & debated. We may agree to disagree in some cases. But the important thing is that the open dialogue between the parents & the Zillennials should never stop. Communication is foundational in this day and age. Not only it is desired but it is also the lubricant in making this relationship crank in the right manner.
I truly believe in Andy Smithson’s saying “ The sign of great parenting is not the child’s behavior. The sign of truly great parenting is the parent’s behavior”.
And this starts by listening to our kids & learning from them.
Happy Learning …!!