By Antara and Pankaj Sharma
How well do you know your child?
Ask any parent this question and usual response will be an instant positive affirmation, the â€śI-know-her-better-than-she-knows-herselfâ€ť kind. And then maybe in a deeper afterthought, â€śwell-I-think-I-know-her-wellâ€ťâ€¦ and so it will go on.Â Deeper introspection, more doubtsâ€¦
It is a tough question that will usually fetch easy, instant answers and then maybe some second thoughts after a pause. Parents like to believe they know their children very well. Many parents do. But there are also parents who do not know their children as well as they should.
They are not aware of the thought processes of their children; they are not keen to know the flights of imagination their child is taking in his own little world; they do not care to find out how their child whiles his idle time.
In short, they do not think it is essential to put in enough efforts in raising children as good, caring, responsible human beings.
As America tries to come to terms with the horrifying Connecticut shooting, parents all across the country and the world are shaken in grief and disbelief.
Law enforcement authorities and the media are trying to piece together the reasons behind what forced the alleged 20-year-old shooter to spray bullets on unsuspecting, innocent 6-7 year old children and 6 adults in the quiet, upscale Sandy Hook Elementary School.
â€śBut those who knew the alleged shooter grasped to reconcile the difference between the quiet, withdrawn 20-year-old without a criminal record and the man who donned black fatigues and a military vest and rained hell at the Newtown, Connecticut, school last week,â€ť says a report in CNN.
According to reports, Adam and his elder brother Ryan, 24, were affected by their parentâ€™s divorce in 2009. His father Peter Lanza is a successful business executive and mother Nancy Lanza was a school teacher.
Both the children were staying with their mother who is reported to have been a collector of guns and even took her sons to practice shooting. A Washington Post report says, â€śHow many guns Nancy had is not clear, though authorities say several were registered to her, including the ones used in the massacre.â€ť
“These are assault weapons. You don’t hunt deer with these things,” Governor Dannel Malloy said on the CNN program “State of the Union”, the Chicago Tribune quoted in a report.
Parents play a deciding role in shaping the behavior and mind of their children. While home is the first school of children, parents are the first teachers. Children imbibe values and wisdom from the atmosphere that surrounds them.
If compassion, care and sense of security make them good human beings; dejection, rejection, and negligence can turn them into explosive livewires. It is not clear what led to the Friday rampage as several media reports said it was â€śnice, pleasant familyâ€ť quoting people who knew the family.
A CNN report quoted one of Lanzaâ€™s aunts as saying, â€śLanza’s mother “battled” with the school board and ended up having her son home-schooled.â€ť
“She had issues with school,” the aunt, who lives in Crystal Lake, Illinois, said, quoted the report. “I’m not 100% certain if it was behavior or learning disabilities, but he was a very, very bright boy. He was smart.”
As more details of this tragedy emerge, so do more baffling questions.
Connecticut shooting is a waking alarm for parents. We do not know what led to this young man to do thisâ€¦ but one thing is clear, parents need to sit up and take note of their parenting goals.
It is not to enforce their own ambitions on their kids without understanding their needs and interests.
It is not to ignore a childâ€™s regressive loneliness as a natural trait.
It is not to leave children to their own devices without keeping a close watch on what those devices are how they are being used.
Parenting children has become more difficult than ever in this over-communicated world where children are exposed daily to news about violence, aggression and oppression early in age.
There is no dearth of parenting advice on how to raise children in a secure, protective, healthy and positive environment but the ground rule remains the same.
- Strengthen child parent relationships.
- Win the confidence of your child.
- Do not behave like ring masters while disciplining your child.
- Become their friend, philosopher and guide so that they can discuss both their problems and dreams with you.
- Instill positive behavior in your children.
- Parent with care, compassion, values, honesty and integrity.
- Raise children who contribute to society positively.
Antara is a former journalist and a mum of a 7-year-old and Pankaj Sharma is a promising staff writer.