Families are getting to spend more time together than ever before, fights between family members are coming to the forefront whereas earlier it was all shrugged under the carpet. Children got away with the mischief done at school where misbehaviour went unnoticed by parents and even teachers many times. However, due to the online classes, children are witnessing family problems closely and their own personality at school is getting highlighted to parents and caretakers while they are doing school at home.
Earlier disciplinarians were just teachers or principals at school and parents at home. With online education during the lockdown, both disciplinarians have joined hands through "social distancing" and are themselves worried by the unforeseen circumstances and deeply concerned about the child's education and development. Their own inability to effectively cope up with their personal and professional lives could lead to them extending their own lack or insecurities through their behaviour with the children.
Many children complain that parents have become more strict than ever before. The emphasis on study is greater than it ever was because many parents feel that there is no academic rigour in online education and therefore they have taken it upon themselves to be a strict parent as well as a strict teacher at home. The dual role of the parent is something children dread and has resulted in many parent-child relationships getting affected severely.
One of the reasons children look forward to school is to be with their friends and to feel a sense of belonging and acceptance by their peers. They could freely interact in a language and a way that they found comfortable, cool or not. They could talk about people, real and reel, without being worried that anything serious was happening as a result of it. Since the lockdown, all secrets, gossip, fun talk is happening through popular social media or communication channels like WhatsApp or Zoom or Instagram. Children being children and teens being teens, can't remain who they are not for very long. The conversations are now getting tracked and they either face the consequences for the same from their parents or they suffer silently because of their inability to share everything that's happening in their silent social world on the internet.
Earlier the friends who were there to console at school may have either got new friends or they started having other hobbies or interests and therefore the social distancing could have distanced friends too who could be sports class or tuition class friends in addition to being school friends. Children are afraid of losing their friends, they feel losses and insecurities that parents and teachers may not be aware of.
The wrong that was done at school varied from being late to school to wearing the wrong uniform or untidy hair and nails to not doing homework or classwork properly. The punishments could be a note in the diary, detention, standing outside depending on the schools, more writing or sums. It was still bearable.
The wrong done at school at home could be switching off video, not paying attention in online classes, playing games, sleeping or eating while teachers are busy teaching and dealing with internet issues and parents are busy juggling life and work, personal and professional life. The punishments could be No mobile, No tablet, No TV, Less video game time, less movie time, less fun time, more study time and that too with parents close by to monitor their learning and their life. It is unbearable.
The situation described above is much like having a phone lock and an application lock which causes frustration to some and for some others is a sign of more safety. Everything worthy of punishment at school by adults, teachers or parents is considered as part of the fun and memorable school days across generations and yet the younger generation is always punished and blamed for being undisciplined. It's time, adults, parents and teachers, reflect on their own lives and identify areas where discipline is needed. Now more than ever, in spite of social distancing, our real lives are getting visible to others, be it teachers or parents. Children will only learn discipline during school at home when they really see in the "real background" their parents being disciplined in their homes, walk their talk and when they see in the "virtual background" their teachers practising what they are teaching.