The tussle for authority
Authority becomes a major issue between parents and children. We were all children once and have all gone through phases when we've accused our parents of being unreasonable, autocratic, dictatorial, lacking in basic understanding, even being the enemy whose main aim in life is to thwart our happiness. We've all sworn at some point that when we become parents, things will be different. But somehow, they rarely are. The minute people become parents it's like a switch is clicked on in their brains and they go into a 'we're older so we know best' routine which becomes the cause for unending struggles for authority between parents and children.
35-year-old Sudhir Sharma recalls,
"My parents were of the old school. There was no question of arguing with
them. Their word was law. I think the first time I voiced any dissent was
when I went to college and I desperately needed a raise in my pocket money."
Different disciplinary approaches
Parents of the old school believed that it was their duty to guide their children and protect them from the pitfalls of life. Children were expected to do what they were told and arguments were frowned upon. Unfortunately, this leads to defiance, deceit and the breakdown of communication between parents and children.
At the other extreme, you have the parents of the egalitarian school of thought who believe that children have every right to express their desires and opinions and that this gives a fillip to bridging the generation gap. However, parents who subscribe to the idea that 'children know best' may find that it backfires. Even though children may question your authority and play 'know-it-alls', that does not mean that they do not need parental wisdom and guidance. Leaving them to their own devices will confuse them and cause anxiety. They need to know that you will always be there like a safety net.
Parents need to adopt a middle-of-the-road
approach that is neither dictatorial nor too easygoing. It is essential
that children learn that they must respect their parents. At the same time,
they must be made to feel that their parents respect their thoughts and
opinions in return.
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