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Is having an ambition for your child wrong?

July 22, 2005

In today's world, raising a child is no piece of cake.

imageChildren have become as decisive as adults. They demand explanations for everything and will not settle for anything at face value.

Are you able to keep pace with your kids?

We received many queries from anxious parents who want to give their kids the best. Get Ahead parenting expert Dr Nirmala Rao tackles their queries.

My son is in Class III. He is very restless, distracted, hyperactive and full of energy. He simply cannot concentrate on his studies. He tends to forget whatever he has learnt very quickly.

My wife, a teacher by profession, has been trying her best but feels really frustrated due to his temperament. Do you think with age and maturity he will sober down and concentrate on his studies?

-- Prateek Sinha

Small children have boundless energy, which must be channelised.

i. Evaluate his daily schedule. Sometimes overemphasis on studies leaves less time for playing/activities. This creates restlessness.

Playing in the sand and running will help reduce the restlessness. Engaging him in activities of his interest -- like drawing or music -- will also help in improving his attention span.

Counting beads and working on puzzles are informative and fun as well as help in overall development.

ii. Too much of intake of salty/fried food can also cause restlessness.

iii. With regards to his studies, children can memorise well while studying in a playful manner -- like trying to practically show some study related things.

This will make it less repetitive and interesting.

Also, see that he sits to study when he is fresh and not tired.
iv. A slow and steady approach is best so that he does not feel pressurised.

v. Spending quality time will help to give him the attention he deserves and help you bond with him.

vi. With age and maturity he will definitely sober down. If things still persist after six months, consulting a psychiatrist/ counsellor will be beneficial.

Children can form ambitions by watching successful elders, listening to discussions with friends, gaining inputs from teachers, taking tips from parents etc

But as a parent, I have an ambition. From the time he could speak, I have tried to cultivate his imagination by giving him more information on a particular topic so that he chooses the field and reaches the goal of my choice. Is that wrong?

-- Rama Sundar

As parents, we see our children as an extension of ourselves and often want them to develop as per our vision. It is not wrong to give information on a particular topic but to expect that your child will have a liking towards it is not right.

As a child grows and interacts with others, his horizons widen. He takes in information, formulates likes, dislikes and then makes a choice. Successful elders and other people serve as role models to children and help shape the value system for a career.

A professional choice based on child's aptitude, interest and personality will go a long way in giving him work satisfaction, and to be in sync with his/her original self. There are three stages of growth:

i.  Fantasy (birth to 11 years)

You are the role model. Play different games that are career oriented. Try to activate your child's imagination.

ii.  Tentative Stage (11 to 17 years)

Children develop interests and want to pursue them. Try to be aware of what they can do and how much. 

They associate values to professions and become clear about their idea of the profession.They make a tentative decision, ie post Class XII, that 'I would like to do this.'

iii.  Realistic Stage (17 to 25 years)

Now, it is time to integrate abilities and interests and develop work values. A specialisation will help crystallise their choices (say after graduation). 

The final word: Over-emphasis on a particular choice from a young age may create pressure. Or, if the goal is not achieved, it could lead to disappointment or a sense of failure. Having alternatives in line with the first choice is beneficial.

My son is in Class X. I want him to undergo an IQ and EQ test. How can they be done and where? I am from Baroda and cannot leave the city.

He is interested in car designing and has made up his mind. I can arrange money from anywhere if there is a scope for a career in this line. Could you also suggest some good books which can improve our understanding with our child?

An aptitude and intelligence test will prove helpful in making a career choice post his exams. This can be done at the vocational bureau in your city or at counseling centres.

An aptitude test will judge the following:

  • Intelligence
  • Aptitude
  • Interest
  • Personality
  • Adjustment factors

The aptitude tests are sometimes computerised.

Car designing or automobile engineering can be done after Class XII. Your child will neeed to take up the science stream. He needs to have a good sense of three-dimensional visualisation (or space reasoning). Many automobile companies require professional people today, so the scope is growing in this field.

Books to help you understand your child

~ How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk by A Faber & Mazlish

~ Liberated Parents, Liberated Children by A Faber & Mazlish

~ Parent Effectiveness Training by Dr Thomas Gorden

~ Between Parent and Child by Dr Haim Girott

~ Between Parent and Teenager by Dr Haim Girott


Dr Nirmala S Rao has been a practising psychiatrist for 18 years and manages her clinic, Aavishkar, along with a team of counsellors and psychotherapists, in Mumbai. Aavishkar conducts programmes on vocational guidance and self-development for children.

Share your comments

 What do you think about the story?

Read what others have to say:

Number of User Comments: 4

Sub: Active > Hyper-active > Positive Energy

Unless and until the "Hper active factor" is a disturbing element in a child's behaviour it should not be a cause for concern. The activity ...

Posted by S. Nanda

Sub: check if ur kid has got autism or PDD

most of the parents tend to ignore the hyperactivity and speech delay in kids and believe it to be normal. here is the check list, ...

Posted by soul provider

Sub: Hyperactive Vs. over active

There is a difference between being hyperactive and over active. While hyper has negative connotation to it,mostly over active is the right word to be ...

Posted by Niranjan

Sub: Child Psychology

To understand child psychology is very difficult. The hyperactivity of the child is often misunderstood as extra energy or a normal kind of behaviour wheras ...

Posted by Sharad Misra


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