Yesterday Economic Times reported growing trend of mental stress in the children in the age group of 1 to 5 years. Ironically, parents of these toddlers are in the jobs or professions that keeps them always on the toe (24X7) and most likely these parents are financially well off.
What is happening?
- These children are being taken care off by babysitter/nanny/relatives. Unlike parents, these caretakers keep changing as a child grows (caretakers change job) and parents are able to give little time to their children. The children get confused on whom he/she can trust and love, or take small instructions of life from.
- The children faintly recognize their parents because parents spend little time with their little ones. These children faced learning disorder and attention deficit.
- Parents would often give them toys or even costly gadgets such as iPads for the lost time with their kids. These toys or gadgets had worse effect. Children would consider these toys or the virtual environment displayed by gadgets real and would get disappointed in reality.
- The children, often away from parents and many a times away from even grand parents, may get physically, emotionally or sexually abused from their caretakers.
- Such children often display self containment or inferiority, which leads to prey-like behavior at school and give bully school mates a chance to bully them.
- Loneliness at home often put children in situation just as depicted in movie Tere Sang.
- Just as children, parents of these parents may be suffering from similar loneliness.
How to avoid/reduce stress?
- If you cannot give time to your children then do not plan children. Children are like little plants that need parent’s every day care, sunshine of their presence and fertilizer of their teachings. Children cannot surive, grow or thrive in isolation.
- Do not get into a tight financial situation to pay EMIs or loans. Consider your paying capacity before getting into such obligation (don’t stretch your financial means too much).
- Spend quality time with your family and children.
- Take your children to a park, social event, or play with your children in outdoor or a non-gadget game when indoor.
- When there are grand parents, spend some time everyday talking to them.
- Do not ignore physical ailments of grand parents and encourage grand parents to do regular exercise.
- Encourage grand parents to maintain their own friend circle and spend at least some time in their circle
- Adopt best practices of work life balance
- Do not attempt doing everything yourself. Learn to say ‘NO’ for non-essential activities. Delegate as many tasks at work as possible. Delegation has its own rules so do not delegate everything.
- Plan for personal times and family time formally just as you would plan for work time.
- Plan for your day’s schedule well. Just as a project manager should spend a lot of his/her time planning, one should spend lot of time planning for one’s day. If a task is not in calendar then that task should not be done that day (unless there is a big emergency).
- Don’t be perfectionist. Learn the Law of Diminishing Returns and stop working on a task when it has met your minimum pre-decided completion criteria.
- Meditate at least once a day. Meditation is not complicated and it is as simple as
- Sit in a lonely area or ask people around to not disturb you. You should plan for 5 minutes first time and go until 20-30 minutes after you have meditated for 10+ times. Do not set an alarm for the end time of meditation. Go on until you may sit. You will break in 5 minutes first time and you will continue for longer later.
- While meditating, do not think about work, family, routine, to-do, anything that you would think when not meditating.
- To concentrate on nothing, imagine a white light or dark patch. You may also imagine a cold or warm feeling in your body parts moving from toe to head or head to toe slowly.
- When finishing, open your eyes slowly and get up calmly
- If you or your children does not seem to be normal or look mentally stressed then seek help (friends or medical professional).
Are your children or children of your friends/family behave cranky or disobedient? Are these parents giving enough time to their children or their parents? Ask these parents to imagine life without them and if they really care then they will understand.