Family patterns are changing in societies across the world. With rising divorces and remarriages, children are faced with adjustments to new sets of parents and of course different family members. But the need for quality time for the younger generation has not changed. Instead we need to focus on bonding all the more.
International Women’s Day of 2019 came with more on the plates of women for the challenges of balancing home and office have doubled and tripled. Some societies are lucky and have men stepping into the homemaking as the women take the helm of the outside world. When that does not happen, family life is jeopardised.In the home of working parents, when the alarm goes off at six in the morning, the mother rushes to the kitchen. Besides breakfast, the children’s school snack and hubby’s lunch have to be packed. The children need to be awakened, and they must be in their school uniforms within fifteen minutes. Hubby’s office starts at 8:00am and Mom’s at 9:00am. With all these to be done and yet the whole family has to be out on their ways by 7:30am. Afternoons and evenings come with hectic routines of coming back home and doing the household chores. The weekend comes with pending washing, cleaning and the socialising. When does the family have a time of its own? That much-needed family time is just not on the weekly or the monthly plans.
In the present world with its competitive society, there is intense competition for jobs, fame and social recognition. And in this tough world men and women vie with each other for the top ladders of the society. Life becomes very difficult for working parents. The working woman has to run the home and the office and do well at both. When both the parents are working it is tough to give time for family matters. The children need time with the parents, and yet the parents find it quite impossible to make out that time. On weekdays the children run to the school, and the parents run for office. In the evening there is much to do at home. Parents and children hardly exchange a few words. This is contrary to what the parents-children relationship should be. In this time, when the society is undergoing a transition, when parents are supposed to be in constant touch with the children, this inability to avail time is indeed alarming.
Quality time or the time working parents spend with the children can be used for the constructive purpose. Things are easier for them if parents try to be co-operative with the conflicts they face. The children may be facing problems from their peers, or they have difficulties at their schools. Every evening time can be set up to talk to the children about their day, their complexities sorted out. The growing children face main hurdles as they march into their teenage and then to adulthood. At this stage, they need to be assured of continuous support from their parents. The teenagers especially need the emotional support of their family. They are on a crucial stage of their life, a time when they undergo both, emotional and physical changes. The unconditional love and support from the parents can work miracles on them.
Families are in society as cells are in a body. Healthy cells contribute to having a healthy body. If the families are protected and happy, the community thrives. And when society is balanced, it is the nation that benefits. Hence, a child’s need for a happy family could never be overemphasised. To develop children into emotionally stable individuals, children need unconditional love, opportunities to build self-confidence and appropriate guidance and discipline. Unlike the basic physical needs of food, sleep, and shelter, a child's mental and emotional needs may not be distinct. A child who is mentally and emotionally stable is able to think clearly and positively. To develop into stable individuals, children need constant love that will help them to build self-confidence. They also need their peer groups for integration into society. Love, security, and acceptance should be the heart of family life. A child needs to know that the family loves him or her unconditionally and not on what one accomplishes. The parents need to chalk out time on their routines for the children and to take the children out or engage in activities that bond the family to be together. Most important of all, they need to really listen to what the children have to say. Remember the children are different individuals growing up in the world and hence have their own ways of translating the facts of life.
At a time when the society is undergoing radical changes, the need for parental support and guidance for the children is very much the urgent need of the moment. Children have connected the broader world through the media. As long as they are getting the right messages, it's very well. However, the children also have access to sex and violence through different channels on the television or the Internet. As long as parental supervision is there, the children may be on the safe side. There are times when the exposures to the bad shows go unnoticed, and the children face dire consequences. Small children are confused when they get the wrong messages from the TV or the Internet. The teenagers often are influenced into following the wrong notes. There is mounting peer pressure on the children that makes them ignore their family values and stick to their peers. The teenagers usually want to belong to their groups and long to be one of them. The family values, culture and religion get veiled as the children fall in the peer pressure. At times like these, it is the family that needs to stand beside them like solid rocks in rough waters.
For each individual, the family is the cradle of life and love and is essential in ensuring that each individual is secure in his or her social commitments. The importance of a healthy family can be regarded as the precondition to a thriving society. And we cannot deny that a healthy community is the cornerstone of a prosperous nation. And that cornerstone is set by a happy and healthy family.
Tulip Chowdhury writes from Massachusetts, USA.