While I have yesterday been telling how difficult it is to separate things into ‘western’ and ‘Indian’, I today would like to discuss something which I have mainly experienced in the west, maybe due to differences in culture and tradition: many families have hardly any family life. Parents do their thing while children do theirs – they don’t do anything together and one can say that they don’t really know each other anymore.
It is, so I believe, a phenomenon that comes from the increasing individuality which is promoted especially in the west but now more and more in India as well. Both parents go to work, for various reasons, and the children first go to various educational institutions. As soon as they are old enough, they start doing their own thing – going out with friends and taking care of their own interests.
I know that with time, such things happen anyway. Children get older, they become teenagers and then adults and parents are just not that involved in their children’s activities anymore. This does not however have to happen at the age of ten! You can actually still do a lot together, even in their teenage time, and I believe you should!
What these common activities could be, you ask? I have a few examples for you:
1. Have one family meal together in a day. I understand that you cannot be all there for lunch but what about dinner? Your children complain because they want to watch TV? YOU are the parent and you are the one who sets the rules. Take one time, make it clear that you want them to be at the table and be there as well!
2. Go on holidays together. Yes, at a certain age, your children will probably make their own plans for holiday time but you can again fix one holiday in a year – one or two weeks – during which you will spend time together! If you cannot afford to go far away, just try camping or visiting relatives. Do something together in your free time, that is the sense of it!
3. Take part in other family members’ lives. Talk with each other, plan things with each other and be there for anything your children believe is important. If they have a swimming competition, go to see them compete! Accompany them to their school celebrations! Share what is important in your life as well!
These are some tips and ideas for becoming a family again. Don’t get me wrong: I don’t want to preserve old family traditions or keep old values and such. I am also not against modern ways of living but I believe it is important for children to live together, not as single individuals, all separate of each other!