Parental duties

In many of our discussions about behaviour and upbringing of our kids (of whatever age), the issue invariably revolves around the obedience of the kids. My colleagues and friends are almost unanimous that kids don’t listen to their parents or elders anymore (again kids of whatever age). They are also unanimous in the contention that while they were young they were very obedient and hardly went against the wishes of their parents.

The reasons are many for the contemporary behaviour of present age children. I don’t want to delve into that. Pages can be filled up enumerating and explaining those reasons. I will limit my arguments to just one cause i.e, the present age parents are simply not capable enough to control their offsprings and ensure obedience. Again reasons are many. But I wish to limit myself to one sole reason for this.

Some of our wishes when we were kids were not fulfilled by our parents for various reasons, sometimes paucity of funds or sometimes our parents decided that it wasn’t necessary. Our elders mostly took decisions about our upbringing and we were expected to just follow such decisions without protest or disagreement. This particular attribute embedded a secret wish in us in our childhood or at young age that we wouldn’t be so harsh (at least, that was the feeling) on our children when we become parents. At that age we were incapable to understand why our parents decided something against our wish. Affordability was one reason which was easy to understand even at a young age. But we never tried to understand why our wishes were not fulfilled when affordability was not the problem. So secretively a thought started taking root in our mind not to deprive our kids anything they demand.

So we showered gifts and goodies on our children right from the day they born. The children never had to really plan or demand anything. We, the new age parents, were planning everything for them.  Ist birthday, first day in kindergarten, first day in regular school, first test in school, first stage performance in school annual function, first major exam, new books and stationery every year, all school demands-reasoable or not, transport arrangements-school bus or own vehicle, the list is endless. What I mean to say that for all these the kid need not assume any responsibility. The parents are there to take care. I really don’t blame the present day kids for their misbehaviour or disobedience. We as parents simply did not teach them the lessons of life. When a kid opens his/her eyes in this world and finds everything related to him/her is being taken care of by the parents, the kid becomes oblivious to his/her responsibilities.  Gradually the kid takes all these for granted. I would rather say that the kids start believing that these are essentially parental duties and the kid is entitled to such parental attentions. The kid has nothing to do. Even his/her homework is also part of parental duty. Neatness of his/her school dress, shoe shining, organising the school bag, filling the water bottle, running to the school bus stop and dropping to school if s/he misses the bus…every day these rituals go on. Neither the parents have the courage to teach these responsibilities to the kid nor the kid care to learn. Not its fault, s/he was not coached at all. So why crib now? You have failed in your duties so you only have to shoulder the blame.

By no means here I meant that our parents were not caring or they were irresponsible. They provided everything to us and sometimes beyond their capacity. Their caring also included giving space to us so that certain chores were our responsibility whatever may be the age. This small discipline cultivated a sense of duty and responsibility in us which helped us a great deal in our growing years and later in our independent lives. But alas, we foegot to implant those qualities in our children. We cared too much, beyond necessary. And the trend is continuing.

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