Are you ready to let your child’s dreams take flight?

Parenting styles differ from family to family and with that the hopes of parents for their children vary drastically too. While some parents gear their children up from an early age to ensure they are always up-to-date on all aspects required to crack entrance exams for professional courses; others may be alright with being a guiding light while letting the child decide on a career course of his or her own choosing. Still others are fine with whatever their child wants to be even if that changes on a daily basis as long as the child is happy; and many more believe their children have to be groomed to learn the ropes to carry on the family business. 
At our home, the dreams of our almost eight year old varies from wanting to be an astronaut, a musician, an artist, a doctor, a writer, a scientist, a Formula One driver, a chef and a jeweller. He’s lucky to be living in an age where he is so exposed to varied options and if he really wants to there’s no stopping him from being any of these or even experiment with more than one talent. I believe exposure from a very young age to varied life experiences, people, food, places, concepts, technology and books serve to open the mind of a child. The experiences you expose your young child to make up his world view as he gets older. 
Young children dream big, believe in themselves, and their dreams don’t include the word, ‘impossible’. As parents we want to give our child the best of everything. In our endeavour to do so perhaps we sometimes go overboard enrolling our children in multiple special classes, activity groups, and giving into every material demand they may have that appears to be in line with the current ‘I want to be a..’ dream. It’s important to sometimes slow down, do nothing and just be. That’s when the dreaming playground is open and fertile. Sure, as parents we feel the pressure of whether we are doing enough to further the potential of our little ones thereby ensuring they have a bright, future ahead of them. It’s our responsibility as parents to nurture them, their ideas, talents and dreams and then let them fly high.  It’s us who have to gift them the freedom to dream. Dreams that are not bound by gender stereotypes; dreams that have no upper limit; dreams that are not linked to any terms and conditions; dreams that are not limited to our own understanding of the world and how things work. We are responsible for giving our children the power and freedom to dream.  
With that comes the stress about the next steps. Do you have the information required to guide your child regarding the dream? If the child’s dream and your dream for the child don’t match can you resolve the conflict within your own mind? Do you have the finances to fuel your child’s dream? These and many more aspects start becoming more apparent as the child gets older and advances in school. For parents of older children guidance is all important. Ideally have the child write down the dream; get him or her to research the dream by finding out from various sources all about it; help the child set some general framework of time by which first steps towards the dream will be achieved; set smaller achievable tasks even if in the form of a game for your child that will help him or her realise that through planning and focus it is possible to reach goals; help the child create a viable action plan; and always include encouragement and motivation in the guidance. Once the child learns that success can be achieved by being motivated, focussed, determined and goal oriented, it won’t matter so much if the dream changes somewhere along the way.   
When is the right time to start working towards securing your child’s dream? Financial planners have us know that ‘the earlier the better’ is the only option in this case. Inflation in the next few decades combined with uncertainty about the future adds tremendous pressure to parenting. Many companies offer interesting Children’s Insurance Plans that are essentially Life Insurance Plans for the parents with the child being the beneficiary. These plans are interesting as they ensure a secure source of funds; offer high maturity benefits; offer customised solutions for your unique requirements; tax benefits can be availed of; and they often permit partial withdrawals thereby making liquidity easy. Companies like Aviva offer plans that are suited to covering the child’s education and also offer options keeping in mind educational milestones. While planning a financial course that is best suited for you and your family, do your own research; speak with friends, family and colleagues; and consult your accountant or a financial planning professional to ensure you invest in a plan that makes you happy. 
“All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”  - Walt Disney        
No matter how harsh the reality, we have to face the eventualities of the uncertain future. It is our responsibility as a parent to plan for any such unforeseen circumstances. While no one can replace a parent, at least our children can have a secure future because of our smart planning now.

– By Priya Fonseca

 

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