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?