Dear Parents,

Have there been times when you felt disjointed with your children’s world except for the biology that connects you? Have you ever felt a sense of alienation from their activities and transactions in their material lives? Have you found the ease with which they handle technology and the curious interests they develop so outlandish that you wonder if you were a dinosaur inhabiting a land of supernovas? Have you struggled to make sense of their digital dialects that encompass weird-sounding words and expressions? If your answer to most of the questions above is “yes”, then welcome to the club of perplexed parents who are struggling to navigate the modernity that has stormed into their lives, thanks to their children.

Of late, many of us seem to grapple with the strange situation of not knowing how outdated we are vis-a-vis our children’s world, and how much we must adapt ourselves to it to feel belonged in the new scheme of things. We are caught amidst the awkwardness of not fitting in, the pressure to change and the reluctance to give up our old, practised ways of life. It is a dilemma that has left many (I won’t say all) of us beleaguered, making us worry if we will soon be invalidated by our wards for not being meshed with them. It is not a question of wavelengths, for wavelength disparity has forever been an issue between people of different age groups (not just generations).

The real problem here is one of not understanding the changing dynamics of modern life, and our inability to keep pace with it. How far must we push ourselves in order to feel accepted by our children who are primed to find connections outside should they feel estranged at home?

Like in all things that stand to reason, balance is key here. It is hard for us to take to their ways completely, but at the same time, it is also essential for us to be compatible for them to accept us as confidants and companions. It is the only way to keep them from seeking support and allegiance outside.

Connections, obviously, happen when there is like-mindedness and in this case, even though we may not appreciate or acknowledge many things that they fancy, it will be wise to go some distance and give them company in order to win their good will and camaraderie. Hence, let’s make concerted efforts to be part of their hobbies and conversations, and engage with them at a meaningful level.

We may be old-fashioned and clunky with our ways, but it helps to mould ourselves just to stay relevant in their lives. How much, is for each of us to decide. We may need to change ourselves but need not overhaul our lifestyles entirely. We may need to partake and take interest in understanding new developments in areas that matter to them but need not make it our life template.

To be open to adjustment is a positive trait that not only endears us to our children but it also instils confidence in us as parents and guardians. Some do it more effortlessly than the others. To some of us, any deviation from our set patterns is uncomfortable, but some discomfort is any day a better bet than being a shadowy figure (who is there only to provide) in our children’s lives.

From playing a video game to watching a Marvel movie with them, from picking up some texting lingo to reading their favourite fantasy authors, from showing interest in gadgets to eating momos on the weekend, there’s a lot we can do to participate in their lives. Until next, happy parenting.

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