A mother knows what’s best for her kids and it seems the rule extends to choosing friends for them as well. Call them overtly caring, extremely controlling or ruthlessly aggressive, many moms, prefer to have a say in everything that is even remotely related to their kids’ life. From what a child should eat to whom he or she should play with, everything must go through their scrutiny and pass the test. “ Mothers monitoring their kids is inevitable and they will continue doing it as they seek the best for them.
But at the same time, they should try and refrain from extreme control over the child’s life,” explains Sindu Aven, Head – Academic, Design & Content, Zee Learn.
When Pooja Agarwal, currently a finance manager with a private firm saw a much elder and authoritative Maya ( name changed) join her 6- year- old daughter Anushka’s group, she knew it was time for her to intervene.
Maya wasn’t the kind of girl Agarwal wanted her daughter to hang out with. “ Despite her being 12- year- old she never played with girls her age. She used her age to her advantage and started bossing around and commanded other girls with authority. Being half Maya’s age the girls felt pressured to follow her instructions,” shares Agarwal.
Cunning, dominating and imposing, Maya was definitely not the sort of kid Pooja wanted her daughter associating with.
So this mother of two started visiting the kids when they played outdoors to ensure that everyone was being given a fair chance. Agarwal’s clever move put a cap on the power Maya had on the others and soon she made a quiet exit.
Mothers today are more ambitious than ever about their kids. Every decision or choice made by the child should have her approval. “ I have the last say in everything, from their friends to their clothes to what they eat and where they go. Both my girls realise what I say is for their best and our relationship is more like friends. They reach out to me and seek my approval as much as I protect and influence them. Not only do I meet their friends but I also meet the parents,” says actress Sridevi, who was in the capital to launch exhibit Design One. “ Mothers are naturally protective and their role in a kid’s life is instrumental in terms of inculcating values and good behaviour in the early phase of childhood,” says Dr Ashima Shukla, consultant psychologist, Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon.
It’s also about connecting with like- minded parents who also strive to push their children to be high achievers. Certainly, mothers leave no stone unturned, this is why they want the kid to have the best company.
“ I have no hesitation in admitting that I have even tried to convince my daughter’s class teacher to make her sit with the child I approve of in class. I strongly feel that it’s a mother's duty to help kids make correct decisions in the earlier part of their life, so that they get a fair idea of wrong and right,” claims Agarwal.
Making sure that the child stays clear of under- performers tops every mom’s priority list. Agrees Agarwal, “ Same aged kids that are well behaved, from well- educated families, studying at reputed schools, and have a decent IQ can befriend my daughters, as they would inspire them to improve overall.” Choosing the “ right” friend is a smart move to set high standards for one’s kids.
“ A lot of mothers have a strong idea on who their child should befriend and they actively influence the child in this decision. I have seen cases where parents go to a huge extent to make their child distance a bad influence,” says Dr. Pulkit Sharma, psychologist, VIMHANS, Delhi.
Clearly, today a ‘ good friend’ must meet all the attributes that women associate with an ideal child. Under- achievers are a big no- no! “ I won’t allow anyone who is completely unmotivated in life to influence my kids with their carefree attitude,” agrees mother of two Priyanka Khosla.
Several research studies have also shown that kids become more clever around smarter friends. It has been observed that if your kids’ friend is doing well academically it will help him or her score as well. Good company and healthy competition always encourages and chan- nelises a child’s energy in the right direction.
“ My daughter hangs out with her gang of seven girls who have been extremely close for over 10 years and even call themselves ‘ soul sisters’. They all are bright, talented, spirited, creative and achievers in every sphere. There is a lot of give and take that happens in a friendship, so one should look at people who share the same interests and can add to one’s value,” states actor Pooja Bedi.
It’s important for mothers to mingle with the kids first before imposing their thoughts. “ Enable them to see and pick the right values from their friends,” suggests Aven. Adding to it , Agarwal says, “ Enrolling them in to an array of activities where other smart kids participate will give them more opportunities to know, understand and befriend the kids you approve of.” However, make sure that the child doesn’t feel inferior or envious with them or doesn’t turn into a snob either.
“ Talking to your kids like a friend can actually help you understand their psyche and the friends too? Why they chose them? What do they like about them? So, instead of pushing, you will be able to enable them to see why they might like to hang around certain kids,” explains Aven. Moreover, kids are more receptive to influence when you engage them in a conversation that explains the pros and cons of their choices.
According to Khosla, “ Talking like a friend and not just a parent is the easiest and the best way to win their trust. However, it needs to be done very artfully and certainly, not by directly attacking them as this can make them defensive. You can’t bend their will according to yours as children, too have a mind and will of their own. Developing a rapport with them from beginning and making them trust that you just want the best for them is the only way of influencing them. ” It also makes them more confident and selfreliant.
Agreeing to this, her daughter Tisha Khosla says, “ Discussing and making us feel like we are in charge of the situation makes us more willing to heed their advice and take direction.” lipla. negi@mailtoday. in
“A lot of mothers have a strong idea on who their child should befriend and they actively influence the child in this decision.”
Reproduced From Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.