The Kids These Days!

November 29, 2009

I’ve wanted to write about this for a long time, but did not get the time to do it. Finally, with some time on my hands after escaping from work early, since it’s my wedding anniversary today and my wife is out of town, I thought I’d at least do something that I’ve wanted to in a long time. And that my readers, is share my thoughts with you.

Today’s topic that I have decided to write about is one that frustrates me to no extent to see the kind of spoilt ingrates being churned out by society. A child’s life today is over-protected. As we steer more to the western school of thought and the fact that hurting a child can lead to terrible consequences, the percentage of unsuccessful, low on esteem, frightful, and often queer folks has increased multifold.

There used to be a time when parents would wield a stick, teach a child discipline, and let the child fend for himself in difficult situations. This would be the norm and the done thing. However now, the times – they are a changin’.

Today’s parents are into ‘child worship’. This excessive devotion to children is just mind-numbing. Today’s professional parents are constantly overscheduling and overmanaging their children, and are robbing them of their childhood. Even the simple act of playing has been taken away from them. Something that is supposed to be spontaneous and free has become rigid and overtly planned. Nowadays, a 4-year old should not be playing outside in the sun. He should be inside studying and cramming hard for his Kindergarten entrance exams. All this is for noone else, but for his parents pride and egos.

Children today aren’t allowed to play the ever so famous ‘chor police’, because it includes “victimization”. They aren’t allowed to play ‘tag’ because it includes ‘exclusion’. Instead, they are encouraged to play indoor games involving strategy, games involving intelligence. Where has all the fun gone? These are not droids that we want to churn out. Humans are what we are and humans are what we are expected to produce.

Having said that, when the child finally gets to play – whatever game he/she is allowed to play, the child will never lose, because in today’s world, no child ever loses…everybody wins and noone is a loser. Everyone gets a trophy. No child today ever gets to hear those all-important character building words “You lost”. Instead, these kids are told “You’re the last winner”. Often, these kids don’t hear the right words right up until their twenties, when their bosses tell them to their faces, “You’re a loser!”. And then, this 20-year old child crumbles, goes into depression, and then the psychiatrics take over.

Turn off the internet, the idiot box, the CD ROMS, computer games and let your kids stare at a tree for a couple of hours. Every now and then they will actually come up with one of their own ideas. You want to know how to help your kids? Leave them alone.

Children these days are overrated and overvalued. They’ve become little cult objects. Today’s parents have a child fetish and that’s not a great thing. Often, you’ll get to hear “I love my children”. Well – everyone loves their children…it doesn’t make the person who’s saying it any more special or what they’re saying more believable. Stop praising your kids in front of others (or even in front of the kids themselves). Noone whom you’re telling these things to wants to know, because noone cares. What is this mindless rambling, the neurotic fixation that suggests that somehow everything has to revolve around the life of your child?

What is it with mobile phones and kids these days? How can parents give a 7-year old a cellphone and encourage him/her to talk using that phone? Calling them up in the middle of the day and asking them “Did you eat? Did you go to the loo? When are you coming home? Where are you now? Who are you with? Don’t play with boy ‘X’ because he is a mean boy “. No wonder kids these days run far away from their parents as soon as they are able to. I don’t blame the parents for asking these questions too much, but what I am objecting to is this obsession of not being able to leave their kids alone to fend for themselves and make decisions on their own. So what if it’s the wrong one? They’ll make the mistake and learn. It’s not the end of the world. At least you end up teaching your child one of the most important things in life – being bold enough to take a decision.

Kids love showing off shiny, new things. I remember I used to take pride in a pencil-box my parents once bought me. I would go around showing it off to everyone I knew in school. Often, if I would get good grades, I would tell my friends that it’s because of the lucky pencil/eraser I bought the other day. That is innocence personified. Not like today’s kids, who go around showing off their mobile phones letting other kids know that they have GPRS and can watch videos on their phones. This then forces the jealous kids to make demands of their weak parents, who, for the sake of showing their kids how much they love them, go and buy these kids a better phone than the one they initially demanded….and the cycle goes on.

Do parents really need to “show” their love to their kids? I mean – isn’t it obvious? They bring you into this world, they live together, they feed the kids, they take care of them, they get mad at them as well. Is that not good enough? Why do parents have to buy their kids things, tolerate misbehaviour and indiscipline to show their kids how much they love them? It just makes the kid weaker and more insecure than ever before, not to mention spoilt.

Finally, when the kids turn out all wrong and the parents catch the kid smoking one day at the shop around the corner, they’re going to be ignorant of the fact that they didn’t teach their kids the right things (and expected their schools to do it for them – after all, they spent all their money on that fancy air-conditioned school without uniforms and books, that allowed their children to move around in AC buses, fed them during the day with 5-star category food, allowed them to take a nap, and didn’t give them homework since it was considered as too much pressure for the child). Instead, they blame the tobacco companies, advertisements, the Western world, movies, filmstars, and even believe that the camel in sunglasses asked them to smoke. Today’s parents are responsible for today’s generation and they have failed to make their kids understand right from wrong, good from evil, and even truth from dare.

Children are the most beautiful and innocent things that were ever created. Parents end up spoiling them by imposing their beliefs and views, being overprotective, scheduling their time for them, succumbing to their kids’ whims and fancies, letting the child take control of them instead of the other way round. At the end of it, these same parents end up demanding respect from their children. They forget that respect cannot be demanded – it must be earned….and we all end up blaming none other than “the kids these days….”