Thursday, March 6, 2008

Raising strong children

I am most horrified to read the newspapers these days. 2 days back, I read that a XI standard student had shot herself in the head because she had not done well in her exams. And 2 days before that, I read that a 4th standard student(seriously!! Can you believe that?) hanged herself because her mother scolded her. What on earth is going on? Why are our youngsters emotionally and spritually so weak that such small lil bumps on their paths makes them go completely over the edge? Who should we blame for this?

Should we blame the media for playing out such ghastly stories over and over again till they are imprinted on the viewers' young, susceptible minds and puts ideas into their heads? Parents for running around in a crazed quest for money and not paying enough attention to the children? Society as a whole, for not creating and nurturing strong enough role models for the children to believe in and look up to?

Actually, I am totally confused. When I was growing up, my mom stayed home all the time and appa was hardly ever home. He used to work on Saturdays. He used to work till 7 in the night on weekdays. And amma, even though she used to be a SAHM, never used to be at my beck and call. She was always busy with something. With a neighbor. In her stitching classes. With the cooking or the cleaning. I used to be left alone many days for stretches of time to amuse myself. But I never resented the fact. And I grew up never wanting for attention. In fact, I still remember the sound thrashing I got when I interrupted my mom when she was talking to a neighbor.

Today, both Hubby and I reach home by 5.30 in the evening and play with kuttan all evening. Weekends are totally dedicated to his highness. And we still feel guilty about not spending enough time with him. When he calls us, we drop everything we are doing and rush to him. And yet I am worried about the kind of teenager and adult that my son will become.

My mom tells me that raising a child was a lot less complicated in her times. You had a child, gave them a good education, taught them good values and protected them till they were old enough to distinguish between the good and the bad. You waited till the values you had given them asserted their place in the children's lives and then you had nothing to worry about.

Back then, the only thing you needed to worry about, if you had a girl was that she would fall in love and marry someone 'outside' the community. If you had a boy, you had no worries till his graduation, after which you worried that he should get placed in a good job. And oh, with boys, you had to make sure that they didnt get into smoking and drinking and other bad habits either. Raise a child without falling into these pitfalls and you were pretty much assured of your place under the sun.

Compare this with the crazed parenting styles of today. Along with choices, I believe our confusion has also increased. Today we have to worry about every decision that we take about our children's lives. Mad Momma has written about her worries on privileged childhood. I do not trivialise her fears. I understand and agree with them. I worry about my son's early schooling too. I worry that he is 3 years old and is still not able to count objects correctly. Sometimes. He gets them right mostly.

I worry that my son is not getting enough to eat. I worry that my son is growing up too aggressive. I worry about all the strangers who my son may meet in school. I worry about who is allowed to touch my son when I am not around. I worry about the lil dry patch of skin in his left cheek. I worry that I am not there for him enough. I worry that he may grow up emotionally scarred just bcos I did not get him that battery operated car which he breaks in a jiffy. I worry that he may grow jaded if I do. I worry that if I do not get him admitted into that perfect school, he will never have a career. I worry that if I do get him into the school, then he may have too much academic pressure and not enough time and space to explore his interests. I worry that I am making him my parenting-style guinea pig. I worry that I am being too staid and not trying different enough things for him.

But on the whole, I think I worry too much. I think, as a generation, we are far less relaxed than our parents used to be. I know that the threats were lesser then. I know those were simpler times. But still, on the whole, I think, if we are more prepared to go with the flow and less ready to take on the blame any time anything goes wrong with our children's lives, then, probably, our children will grow up to be stronger individuals.

This may be an over simplification of the issue. It probably is not that simple. And then again, probably our parents were only pretending to be relaxed while they looked over us with an eagle eye and pulled us up for the smallest transgression. See, I am confused again..and worried!! What if I have gotten it all wrong?


noon said...

Loved this one! Worry worm dear friend - hugs to you! You have company! :)) Oh boy - there he is - I hear KB on the monitor. And I worry - why is he such** a restless sleeper?! Why doesn't he eat well? When will he ever eat on his own all his meals? My mom was a worry worm - just different set of worries then that's all. I think they could afford to be more hands off but for their time period they too worried about us when we were children!

compulsive dreamer said...

I agree with every bit of what you have said! I too think we worry too much about anything and everything... and especially me, I am a chronic worrier.
Today we want everything from life, a successful and challenging career, a house, a vehicle and all luxuries of life. And we worry if we deprive our children even a bit... we want to give our best to our children... just like our parents wanted to give us the best... the only difference was that they had limited means to do so... which they compensated with values and ideals. We have taken these values and ideals as a given and are looking for things over and above that to give them...
oops! sorry to hog your comment space... but you just hit a raw nerve!

Anu Russell said...

And my kid is only 5 months...both my husband and I are worrying about her soo much...finally we decided that we will send her to sathyabama engg coll. in chennai to make sure that she does not get into doing anything wrong in her life ;) how can we make sure that they are not going to do the wrong thing once htey are out of our sight? gosh...i am soooo scared...

Swati said...

I believe in taking life as it comes , I will do my best for him and teach him good vs bad is all on God.

Btw Kuttan is tagged.

Aryan said... after a long time. Nice post. I guess worries becomes part and parcel once we become Mom...
Aryan's Mom

Just Like That said...

Twang ..Twangg.. Twaaangg!!!!! Those were the chords this post struck in me.. :-(
But I guess we're just being paranoid, altho' with the increasing horror stories in media about teachers and kids and whatnot...its difficult be rational.

Mama - Mia said...


it is indeed crazy! though i cant really i can imagine what you going thru 'coz maybe i dont fret that much about anything! good or bad, i dunno!

i dont worry abour kabir too much when i am at work somehow! i keep thinking i grew up with both parents working and did just fine! so will he! :)

maybe it is not that simple! but the point is worrying wont take us anywhere either!

am sure things will work out just fiiine for all of us! :)