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Values & Education


“Insist” – A simple 6 letter word which simply means “To not take NO for an answer”.  A very powerful expression – one would think.

Should Parents Be Strict Or Not? Insist Your Kids Or Not?

The word “Insist” is very closely linked with “parenting”.  Here’s the thing

  • As a parent, you should / must / need to insist on one or many things for the best interest of your children
  • But you “insist” too much, and that is not good – for you and your kids
  • Or you “insist” too little, and that is again not good – for you and your kids

Typically, the older generation (read as your parents / grand-parents) were / are extremely insistent on several things in life – From simple daily things such as food times and What to eat?, When to go out?, When to return home?, What to wear?, to more important life decisions like Whom to marry?, What age to marry?, When to have children? What professions are probably suitable to pursue?, What kind of financial investments to make?, etc. etc. etc.

These so called “insistences” were more around “What needs to be done?” and very little on “Why it should be done this way?”. These are usually based on their experiences and hand-downs from earlier generations. Probe a little further ( through conversations or Google ) and you will realize that the rationale for many of these is completely scientific, relevant and logical – at least as applicable in those times. The sad reality is that many people of the younger generation are not aware of the logic & hence view many of these as an unwanted burden.

Agreed that some of these may be obsolete or irrelevant for today’s world, but I find a vast majority of the points well rounded and grounded in the larger wisdom of life! As a simple example, a lot of “elderly people” will advise you to become “parents” when the “woman is in her 20’s”. I wondered why till I probed a little deeper with the “wise old women” in my house. A few reasons stood out – One, biologically the chances of you to become a mother are better and easier when a woman is in her 20’s. Two, the younger you are – the more energy you have, and raising a child needs “energy”, raising a child of this era needs “lots of energy” (if you don’t believe, ask the parents who live in your neighborhood). Three, (in the Indian context) – typically the grandmothers are around to assist in the child-rearing and development. The younger they are, the more they can help / assist. So if you have kids when the mother is 25 years old, chances are the grandmothers will be between 45 – 60 years. If you have kids when the mother is 35 years old, chances are the grandmothers will be between 55 – 70 years. See what I mean.

However, increasingly parents of today adopt a different school of thought in dealing with their children. One in which they express themselves strongly, freely and openly (sometimes even without being asked) around “What needs to be done?”. Most of the times, they also explain the rationale for their view-point ( i.e. answer to “Why it should be done this way?” ), but rarely do they insist. The underlying thought is that after an age and stage of  life, one is capable of independently making a choice based on their specific circumstance. So as parents, it should suffice to articulate your view-point and then let your children decide based on what they believe is the best for them!

While the above two are diverse in their philosophy, they are both probably right in their own way – based on the era, society, ways of the world and context!

As a parent, what I have come to realize is:

  • For something’s in life, it is probably better to insist on few things as far as your children are concerned – for the simple reason that it is in the best interest of your child. Do not take NO for an answer. For e.g .: A good habit you want your kids to develop, etc.
  • If you strongly insist on something for your children, be sure to know WHY? And explain it to them. Many times, they listen and understand if they know where you are coming from
  • For something’s in life, it is probably better to let your children make a choice ( again based on the situation and context ). An advice through a strong message should suffice to convey your view-point.

What’s your view? As parents, should you INSIST or NOT? Leave a comment to let me know.

Nischala Murthy Kaushik is mother and philosopher rolled into one (the philosophical streak emerged after she became a mother – essential for balance, she believes). She is an Engineer and Management Graduate (IIMB Alumni) by Education, IT/Innovation/Marketing Professional by Employment, Google/Blog/Twitter/Social Media Lover by Era, Writer by Passion, Dreamer by Compulsion,  Student of Life by Choice, Eternal Optimist by Necessity and Chief Happiness Officer of LIFE by Realization. She blogs @ Nischala’s Space, Thoughts and Expressions AND VERVE : The Quintessence of my Life . In addition, she is also as a guest blogger in several sites of global repute; and her blogs have been featured in several Best-Of lists and on the Directory of Top Indian blogs. She tweets @nimu9 and is also listed among the 50 Indian Women to follow on Twitter.