Friday, April 23, 2010

Spoilt Brats or Spoiling Brats ??

Majority of the kids of this generation are very lucky . They have almost everything they wish for. From toys to gadgets, they get a chance to enjoy each and every new innovation. For every small step in their life they get a prize or reward. They are bribed for every possible natural activity. Right from making them give up the habit of thumb-sucking ,to visiting a doctor or a dentist we give them a prize. Even for the natural phenomenon of loosing a tooth, a tooth fairy comes to give them a reward. In the name of encouraging our kids we over-react and use all possible adjectives and superlatives to appreciate even their little scribblings. Indirectly we are making them over-confident from childhood. The prize we get in return is " I know, I know, I know" and "you don't know, you don't know". At the end of the day we blame them for being spoilt brats.

As a parent we don't want to see our children cry or feel sad for anything. We always strive to make them happy. Whether it is within our means or not we don't worry. In this modernized world we try to give them all the facilities which we did not enjoy in our childhood. We try to relive our childhood by seeing our children enjoy their life. We offer too many choices to our children --be it food or clothes or toys or gadgets or vacation venues. We are the ones who are opening a wide vista of luxuries to them. Failure in any form is like "the end of the world" to them. They feel there is no survival without mobile phones or computers. By providing them all the luxuries we think they will love us more and will unconditionaly listen to us . We hold their hands and walk along the path of materialism.

The other day I was watching a talk show on tv. A 19 year old girl told she had 10 models of cell phones. The reason being , the phone she carries should match her attire. Means of communication has been transferred into means of status symbol. Who should be blamed? the girl or her parents? Many of us live a false life to maintain our status in the society and unknowingly drag our kids with us into the quagmire.

My son, who is just 8 years came up to me and said "mama I want a nike t-shirt. It looks cool." I asked him "what is cool about just a plain white t-shirt?" He told it had the tick sign on it . I told him "If you are so particular about the "tick" sign I can get a plain white t-shirt and paint a "tick" sign in it. As long as the purpose is served why bother about the brand?" He was not convinced with my logical reason. Then the matter went to the CFO of the family. And you know what happens when they approach the dads. "O.K. APPROVED." My son gave me a sarcastic look. I felt like he was miming the words "Mama at least now you understand that you are not the boss of the house." This example is just the tip of an iceberg . Kids feel that the man of the house always has good reasoning skills. To them moms are just "quality controllers".

Kids are very smart these days. They approach us with their needs when we are too busy or on the phone or when we are doing some other work. They know that when we are busy we will nod our heads to whatever they ask for. Later we blame them for watching tv or playing on the computer. We let them loose so that we are not disturbed. Later they become the victims of our "finding fault syndrome."(My daughter says I suffer from this syndrome). In the name of teaching them to be independent we give them lots of freedom and later we regret in our lives. When the reins are in our hands we can have full control . But we want to be the 21st century parents , who leave the children to do what they want to do. We always say "the choice is yours." This is just a false way of trying to bridge "the generation gap".

I don't think our parents pampered us like how we pamper our children. That doesn't mean that we were not loved. Our wishes were not always granted. Most of the time they were rejected. Our parents loved us and we too reciprocate it till date (to some extent at least I guess--because all our love is being showered on our children thinking that they have no one else in this world other than us to shower unlimited love on them). There were not so many choices in all aspects of our life. Even if there were, those were the forbidden paths for us. Hence, it is the responsibility of the parents to help the child make the right choice. When our children stare longingly at something in a shop for more than ten minutes we fall for their longing glances and swipe our credit card immediately. Our children have mastered the tactics of "emotional blackmailing." Most of the parents with a single child feel that the purpose of their life is solely to satisfy the needs of the child.

In this world of consumerism the children are the targets. Try to be in their shoes. It is so difficult to control the temptations. It is like taking them to a chocolate buffet. At the first sight they get tempted to eat everything on the table. We have to be with them to help them choose the right ones which will suit their appetite. It is not their fault when they come up with the never ending "needed list of things." . Their attitude is "let me throw a stone at the mangoes. If the mangoes fall fine, I am lucky. Otherwise also I am ok." As a parent we want our children to relish only the sweet ripe mangoes. I feel we should learn to say "NO" to our children before they start saying "no" to us. My dad always says that we should not blame the thief. The person who gives the thief the opportunity to steal is the one who should be blamed. It is high time we understand that we are "the spoiling brats" and that our children are not the "spoilt brats." The fact is that when we are ready to give them the opportunity they are ready to use it tactically.

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