“I want you to be a doctor", “We will be proud if you become a finance professional”, “I have been successful as an engineer and surely you can be one too”. If any of these statements resonate with you then it’s time to step back and re-look at what you should be telling your children, especially the Gen Z of today.

No parent wants their child to be just another face in the crowd, but they wish for their children to be extraordinary in their class or group. Someone who the world will be proud of and someone who they would be happy to showcase as well. While these thoughts are absolutely common, irrespective of the community or nationality we are from, the approach to upbringing differs across the world.

While I was brought up in an era where parents believed in the mantra 'Spare the rod and spoil the child', I dare say that the same can be implemented today. While the bond of family still exists, the build-up to the perfect state of attachment is a lot different today. This could primarily be because of the younger generation who appear to be more sensitive, fragile, and never take 'no' for an answer.

While it may seem that this generation is a lot more difficult to handle, I invite you to some introspection (especially as a parent) to understand how we can make things work better for our children. A few tips on how to adopt changes between the upbringing of the yesteryear's and that of today.

Time Vs Money:

Children of today have enough and more in terms of gadgets and other materialistic comforts. They are surrounded with different types of luxuries that could enhance their career and their social growth. However, what they really need is ‘quality time' of their parents. Any amount of financial sponsorship or the best of white goods would never make up for time less spent with children. This generation have the best of everything even though they didn’t crave for it unlike the past. So in such times of change – 'Time Is Money'. This is the biggest investment that children need. Family values and morals can best be imparted by parents spending time with their children and participating in their activities.

Observing Vs Teaching:

I am reminded of a poster I once saw many years ago ‘Tigers observe a lot by watching.' The best teacher of today is not one who imparts but one who demonstrates. Children learn quickly by watching the people around them. The closer their relationship, the bigger the impact on their learning. So, parents are required to spend time and then demonstrate through their actions all what they intend to convey.

Digital Vs Physical:

One of the biggest aberration of today’s digital world, is that our children are tech wizards and at the same time are slaves to technology. Physical activity and games have almost become a thing of the past. Given the fact that no one would like to call their child a couch potato, it is all the more important that parents lead from the front by encouraging physical activity in the lives of their children. It would be nice to get them to watch role models in the areas of sport, athletics and may be try to emulate them. Alternatively, parents can join them in extra-curricular activities like community service, hiking, rock-climbing, cycling or any other adventure trips. The last option and probably the easiest way out would be to have video games that require physical movement.

Listening Vs Lecturing:

Many children of today crave for someone to listen to them – no matter how boring or exciting their stories may sound. They prefer to speak, voice their opinion and try to influence rather than listening to a lengthy lecture from their parents. This is a classic change from the earlier days. This is the big challenge that parents face today. On the other hand, it's the same with parents as well. They seldom set aside time to listen to what their children have to say. As a result of this there could be a gap in the bonding between the parent and child.

Choice Vs Force:

One of the key differentiators of the world between yesterday and today is the fact that everything is about a wide choice. Learning avenues, entertainment, careers, jobs, social networks, consumer goods, technologies and more. We are pampered for choice and the result many a times, could be that we either have little of everything or too much of the wrong. With this as the premise, parents could be successful, if they were to offer their child 'a platter of choices' and then assist them to make the right choices.

With this immense change in approach to upbringing, there can be a lot of real value that parents can add to their children's life by being the perfect example. After all, almost a hundred percent of children would always acknowledge that their real life heroes are either their mum, dad or both!!

PS: A word of thanks to my eldest sister for suggesting this need-of-the-hour topic.

This article is written by Willis Langford, an unbiased, result driven & passionate HR professional who has a flair for technology and keen interest in making this world a better place with a zest for life.