I don’t want my child to be obedient

Yesterday, somebody called Poohi ‘obedient’ and for some reason, I was more irritated than pleased.

Both husband and I am not too fond of the word ‘obedient’ in connection to children. It gives us the wrong vibes. As if children are supposed to ‘obey’ without reason, the basic premise that a parent has the right to direct a child and the child who is good – obeys – irrespective of whether the parents are right or wrong.

I guess, I prefer the word, well behaved.  That indicates, to me, a child who knows how to conduct herself. Obedient, to me, in my prejudiced mind, indicates ‘blind acceptance’. I am sure a lot of you would disagree with me here.. but for some reason, that is what the word ‘obedient’ conjures up in my mind.

What we want for our daughter is to become

someone who listens, and then decides to listen to reason, rather than just orders.

someone who understands enough to differentiate between right and wrong  and choosing right- even if it means going against the flow, at times.

a confident but not an arrogant person.

someone who will know that she can tell her parents when they are wrong – surely parents are not super humans and despite having the best of interests in mind, we could still be wrong in many many ways.

someone who has the courage to stand up against injustice.

someone who respects others  – not just elders, respects others,  irrespective of age.

someone who can question…

.. and I hope, that we are mature enough to handle her questions (and her criticism ) and guide her forward, the right way.

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96 thoughts on “I don’t want my child to be obedient

  1. I think I agree with u Smithu! Its very imp for a child, anybody for that matter to be well-behaved! Luved ur choice of words 🙂

    Thank you 🙂

    I know of a boy, the only son of his parents who ws brought up to be very very obedient and u know everyone in the family circle wanted their kids to be like him! They used to go on and on abt hw he listens to everything his Mom says, hw he never steps out of the house during exams and so on! But then, it took a complete U-turn! I think he loved the new freedom he hd found! Too many instructions I think made him like a horse in a stable who ws waiting for the reins to be loosened and be free! He just used to hv fun then and dropped down in studies et…al

    Oh – I have come across children like that too! First taste of freedom and they go berserk.

    Am nt saying all obedient children turn up this way but parents who expect so much from their children too are doing no gud in the long run! Just my two cents. I hv no real experience but I do see things arnd and feel so 🙂

    Absolutely – I agree with that -‘parents who expect so much from their children too are doing no gud in the long run! ‘

  2. Well as I was saying, I too dislike the use of this word. Never wanted my kids to be ‘obedient’ children! Some of your posts – most specially parenting posts, strike an instant chord Smitha.

    Thank you IHM 🙂 That makes me float 🙂

    I too prefer my kids to have minds of their own , and I am proud that they can question us, they can discuss, argue and do what was traditionally called ‘talking back’.

    Absolutely, IHM! I don’t agree with discussions and argument being called ‘talking back’. The way I look at it – am I not stifling her thought process, if I expect her to accept everything we say, without reasoning it out? And again, if we parents are so right, then what are we scared of? Surely, we should be in a position to explain why we expect something in a certain way.

    I feel strongly about mutual respect, I find some people talk down to children, my kids disliked such adults (as very small kids) who were condescending …
    Even when they are very young children can sense age bias…

    Yes, they do! And I find it so irritating. This age bias – and you are right – very young children sense it too.

    Another thing we have come across is adults trying to scare children to suppression!
    Once a waiter at an Indian rest. here, saw my daughter and made an angry face at her – for no reason. She was just sitting at her table, not being naughty or anything. I got so angry – we never went there again. But it happens – people do that – frighten a child – for no reason, or just act condescending because they are kids.

  3. you guys rock. “obedience means submissive compliance.”- that is what the dictionary says.

    Thank you Anrosh 🙂 ‘obedience means submissive compliance ‘ – no wonder obedience is over hyped in our country !

  4. i am 4th 😦
    work at office is costing me my first place..

    LOL @ ‘work at office is costing me my first place..’!

    @swaram..u wait till i regain my place here 🙂

    Swaram – be warned 🙂

    @smitha.. well said smitha.. Obedience is not something we should all expect from our(i mean all)children…they should be in a position to listen to all that is being said and able to decide if its correct or wrong…
    yes all of us are human and are bound to make mistakes..

    I am glad you agree 🙂

  5. Hmmm . Obedient sounds as if the person has no will of his own . Yep , well behaved is a much better word . Suggests that he/she is in control , and not the other way round .

    Glad you think so too:) I have lots of your posts pending to be read – will do before this week is out 🙂

  6. You are a terrific parent. I mean if at this young age you want Poohi to be a well behaved and not an obedient child, she is a very lucky child. Stress on obedience produces rebellious children. Remember the “rebellious child” ego state that Thomas Harris (that is the name I think) spoke about? It stays with an individual till death, making harmonious interpersonal difficult. There are many very well educated people out there who still equate good behaviour with obedience.

    Thank you – I do hope we bring her up well.. ‘There are many very well educated people out there who still equate good behaviour with obedience.’ – Yes, that is true! and it works the opposite way in a lot of cases, sadly.

  7. I agree with you completely. I don’t want my children too, to do whatever we ask them to do, blindly. They never will do it, I know!! We have never compelled them to do anything in their school days or now. We just want them to decide. Well, they can discuss and we can discuss with them about anything anytime. But we don’t expect ‘obedience’ from them and follow our bidding blindly. Hope we are right. Some hiccups might be there but I feel this method is good in the long run.

    Your word ‘well behaved’ is very correct, Smitha. Let them respect and heed what we say and then decide by themselves. Nowadays, I feel their decision is better than mine!

    You know, it makes me feel much better when people like you , IHM and Nita agree too – because you all are so much more experienced than I am.. It gives me the confidence that it is the way to go. Thank you!

    • No need to use ‘than you’ etc. Smitha. Like our parents did, we will do our best to our children. I feel that we have learnt ‘what is good and what is bad’ from our parents’ experience and and like them we also do our share of mistakes and gain experience! Even now, the mistakes are continuing and experience is gained!! Nothing is 100% correct.

      I am sure you and your husband are going to be good parents. You have left a good job to take care of your child and give full attention to this important stage of growing. If the children are neglected at this stage, they will not grow up as happy children, I feel. God bless you.

      I guess, thats all we can do, do our best and learn from mistakes. Thank you! You know, I never felt bad about leaving my job – because I really enjoy the time I got with her.

      • Very well sandhya.Parents has to be with the kids in their growing stage.When varunavi was baby i used to work and she was with my m-law,i missed all her milestones,the only time i am with her is in the evenings maybe 2-3 hours thats all.Now that i left my job and enjoy every moment of the kids.

        Me too, Saritha – I enjoy every minute so much these days! It is totally worth it!

        • I miss those days, even now, Smitha and Saritha. I never regretted leaving my job. At this stage of my life, I feel that the school days of the children are the best days. So you people enjoy your children’s antics, to the hilt… and write about them for us to read!

  8. thought provoking post Smithus…

    I agree with what you’ve said.
    Blindly obeying parents makes sure the kids have no personality of their own.

    I agree – plus I think, it also makes them more likely to rebel at a later stage.. And in today’s world, I want my child to know that she can talk to me, rather than hide things from me, you know..

    i’m quite sure Poohi will be all that and more! she has fantastic parents as her role model! 🙂

    I am sure I am no great role model – but I would want to do my best in bringing her up..Time will tell..

    • Smithus, most importantly, you are clear with your vision as to how you want her to grow up… that makes all the difference in the world.
      Kids always look up to their parents first. So, you guys are great role models.

      I don’t know, Pixie – I can only do my best, in a way that I believe will be good for my daughter..

      Most of the sensible parenting tips I have picked up and stored away for future use have come from you, Solilo, hichtu, Monu.
      Few thoughts from others as well… including yet-to-be-parents. 🙂

      🙂 Yes, I think all of us can learn so much from everybody around us 🙂

  9. OMG! so many people competing to get that first comment spot eh?
    Watch out from next time onwards… i will be a strong competitor to you all 😀

    Welcome here, Mohan.

  10. Thats wonderful Smitha… 🙂 And I am sure Poohi will become a good human…

    Hopefully!

    what you have said is perfect… children must question and elders must understand that they too have to learn many a things in this world…

    I agree.. all of us can learn – at any age. And we are human – so we could definitely be wrong – don’t you think?

  11. You wouldn’t mind this ‘obedience’ stuff once in a while in my children. They question all my commands/requests and do something when they are convinced it is for their own benefit. Sigh. What happened to the statement ‘mom is always right’ ???

    LOL! Who knows I might say the same in a few years time 🙂 Welcome here, Aparna!

  12. I felt all warm and nice as I read this, because I had these ideas too. And I brought up my daughters with the same idea. Think and question and yeah the word “obedient” is anathema to me too! In fact that is how I was brought up too, and as a result parents and children become close. Because the kids can question anything the parents says, they tell them things they would never have otherwise. In fact many “obedient” children are secret rebels.

    I am so glad to hear that! Yes, ‘many “obedient” children are secret rebels.’ – I totally agree. I was brought up this way too, and want my daughter to grow up knowing that she can come and talk to me about things – rather than having to hide things from me.

  13. Hi.. Im a new reader of your blog.

    I totally agree with your parenting view. But I feel obidience is a matter of pride for the parents than for the kids. And being obidient and being blindly obidient are 2 different things. The former is pretty good enough is my opinion.

    You have a pretty good blog here..

    Cheers,
    Sujith

    Thank you, and welcome here Sujith.

    • eda, you started attacking people in my blog roll, huh? 😀 😀 😀

      “You have a pretty good blog here..” — Oh, how cheesy a line !! 😀 😀 😀

      Smitha : This guy is my best friend and old roomie. Another specimen like me. Beware !!! 😀 😀 😀

  14. err can you talk to my father and explain this to him :-P…maybe i shud have him read the post first..haha, just kidding :D…nice post, Smitha..totally agree..obdient has always sounded too harsh a word to me…

    LOL! Thank you 🙂

  15. Never thought from this angle. I guess I have been brought up in the ‘well behaved’ technique. ‘cuz I remember arguing and creating hungamas in my home ever since I was 4 😀 😀 😀

    ‘arguing and creating hungamas ‘ – that was not in my definition, Vimmuuu !
    note to self – keep Poohi from seeing this comment.

  16. Insightful, appreciated.

    Couldn’t disagree on any points. Well scripted out. Yeah there is a fair difference between obedient and well-behaved. Obedience could actually be one of the characters of a well behaved kid, but as you said the prudence could matter more.

    Thank you and welcome here, scorpiogenius

  17. I wish my sonny was a little…a wee bit…a tiny bit…obedient! Sigh! some things are just not to be 🙂 Nice post, Smitha!

    Yes, there are days when I wish that too 🙂

  18. Hi I am a new reader on your blog. I agree with you 100%. being ‘obidient’ i feel is nto havign mind of your own. I love the words you chose ‘well bheave’. I never like when my son was ‘obidient’. Now he asks in everything ‘why?” before following through the instruction, though at times it gets annoying, I am happy he is not obidient. also i feel being ‘obidient’ has a seond meaning ‘trying to please everybody and not thinking about urself’ – basically setting up for failure (as per bill cosby it is the key to failure – trying to pelase everybody)

    Welcome here, Indianworkingwoman 🙂 Thank you! Yes, trying to please everybody is a surefire recipe for failure…

  19. Really,
    although we were not brought up with same thought of being “Obedient”, I guess its time we understand child’s psychology more and help them learn quicker.

    Resolving kids reasoning to a satisfactory level, and with truth and broader picture always helps, instead just bluffing it away
    Like ghost will come ?
    You will betaken away?
    Someone will still steal it from you?

    Because its just matter of time that kids realize its a lie and them might loose trust in many certain truths that you told to them in childhood.

    You are so right! We might not even realise how it impacts the child – until much later..

  20. I couldn’t agree with you more, Smitha…When a person says “Your child is obedient”, I hear “Your dog is obedient”…A child has a brain which is as advanced and complex as ours…He/she has the power to reason and think – why would we want to take away that power? Children are not robots, they are people just like adults and therefore they should be treated like people…

    Can’t agree more with you either Bones!!! Absolutely!

  21. 😛 😛 nicely written Smithus!!!!!!!!!

    Thank you !

    I was an obedient child till my 12th……….. 😛 once i started college, everything changed 😛

    ‘once i started college, everything changed’ – That we kind of figured out 🙂

  22. Obidient again is a losely used term…

    I hope that someone meant Well behaved and only the lack of linguistic proficiency would have led to it… !!

    Yes, you might be right..

    Okay Okay dont gloat too much now that I have given you benefit of doubt….

    Ha haha !!! See Hitchy, Indore is very close to Bhopal – if you don’t watch your words – I will come and clobber you , next time I am there 😉

    but having read posts like screams of terror… the monster rising at the sight of stains on the couch… “”OUCH””

    **the chappal found the target**

    OUCH

    OK OK Kidding… geeeez… get a hold of yourself will you !!!!!!!!

    🙂 LOL! Yes, good to see that you know me well 🙂 My aim is very good 😉

  23. Hmmm makes sense!!!! I totally agree with you, you can show the right path to her but it is Poohi who has to really understand the difference between right & wrong & take her own decisions..

    Yes, absolutely!

  24. Lovely post smitha…

    “someone who respects others – not just elders, respects others, irrespective of age…someone who can question…”- Couldn’t agree more…

    Thank you, N.

  25. Yes! to all that. Loved the post, Smitha.

    Thanks Sols.

    “someone who respects others – not just elders, respects others, irrespective of age.

    someone who can question…”

    That is very important. Respect everyone and also question all (if they are wrong) irrespective if age.
    I agree – I really don’t understand how people respect elders but are disrespectful to children, domestic help, waiters etc.. you know..

    I am never going to teach my kid to respect elders even when they are arrogant/foul mouthed and wrong. Instead I will encourage her to question them and correct them.

    Absolutely! Age is no automatic criteria for respect. Respect, needs to be earned.

  26. My elder son started talking very early, by one and half years or so, he was nearly talking like us, elders. He had this habit/curiosity, I would say, of questioning about everything he sees. We used to call him ‘yein, yedukku’ means ‘why, what’! I have two sons with two year gap. So I was busy all the time and he used to pester me all the time with his questions. So I used to give him some specific time to question, say at 12 pm, when I would be free and sitting with him. He would store up all the questions and I used to answer them, one by one. It is so funny, when I think of it now.

    Wow! That was so patient of you and so sensible of him to understand and store up all the questions!

    My relatives and friends tell me now, that they had not seen me shouting at my sons. You know why? Once when my son was asking me questions in a loud voice and pestering me for answers, I shouted back at him to ‘shut up’ for some time. Then at the ‘explanation time’, he asked me why I asked him to shut up. Then I told him ‘If you start asking for replies in a loud voice when I am busy, I will have to shout back! Hereafter talk to me in a lower voice and I will reply immediately, if I am not too busy! If I talk to you loudly, just remind me to talk in a lower voice’. This exchange of words happened when he was very small, when he was around 5-6 years of age. Even now, he uses my sentence to make me talk in a lower voice, when I talk loudly or shout loudly – “Maa, saththamaa pesaatheengo!”

    Wow! I am so impressed! You are my role model ! He must be very smart to understand and use it forever!

    When he wanted to decide about which college to join (he got admissions from 5 colleges at the same time and all were very good colleges in their own way), he said to me, “now I will do open thinking with you about these colleges. I would like you to just listen to what I am saying. Then I would like to decide about which college to join.”. He decided and it was a good decision. I did this with my second son too. If their decision is too bad, we voice our concern.

    I would want Poohi to do the same.. I want her to have that confidence in us, to talk to us and know that we will support her when she is right and raise our concern only when she is very wrong.. This is just what I want for Poohi!

    Now, we are waiting for their decision to select a girl and get married! The birds have nearly flown away from our nest now!

    I am sure their decisions to select a girl will be just as smart and sensible as every other decision they took! You have given them a very strong foundation of right and wrong. And I am sure they will rise up to the task and make you proud – as always 🙂

    Enough?! I think you know now the whole history of my sons! Thank you, Smitha. I cannot write about my sons in my blog, since they are grown ups and they might not like me writing about them.


    You should – they certainly will not be offended! You are such a positive mother! I would be so happy to read this , if I were your sons 🙂

  27. Broadely I also agree to you, we must give the children freedom to think and decide each and everything in life, we must not curb their intelligence, give them the right to question us and may be sometimes we stand corrected also, but and this is a big but…I have seen in my experience that a family runs more smoothly if we have certain discipline, and discipline always comes with a little obedience, if everytime children start questioning anything and everything and each memebr of the family goes its own way, there is no cohesiveness there.
    and ultimately families disntegrate.

    Discipline, I agree to. The way I look at it, discipline should come from understanding the need for discipline, rather than blind obedience. And just because the child has the right to question anything and everything, does not mean that the family is not disciplined or dysfunctional. Infact, in my experience, an open and communicative family is far less likely to ‘disintegrate’. Each member does not go ‘his own way’, they just tend to understand better the why’s and how’s because there was always lines of communication. And because everybody will become used to listening and understanding everybody in the family, rather than just obeying rules.

    I believe that freedom should be exercised in the major decsions of life….like education, career, lifepartner, making home etc etc, but freedom should never be a hindrance to the basic values like love to youngers and respect to elders..if everytime one thinks about the merit of respecting someone or the the credentials of your elders then there wont be any harmony in the long run……its like this..we dont respect our parents because of their looks or education or post or status or money..but becuase they are OUR PARENTS.


    I would re-frame and say – ‘respect to all – irrespective of age, social status’ etc, unless they have been proven to be unworthy of respect. To me, I cannot respect somebody just because he is an ‘elder’. He has to be worthy of that respect and I think even children understand who needs to be respected and who need not. I don’t respect anybody because of their ‘because of their looks or education or post or status or money..’ – I respect them for their ideas and the way they conduct themselves. I can respect a gardener, as much as a CEO. We love our parents unconditionally – but a lot of times, some parents may not be respected by children – for various reasons. It happens – sometimes, the children may not be justified – other times, they may be. Even parents could make mistakes. Age is not a parameter of correctness.

    In our house whenevr somebody sat for lunch or dinner, we used to bring water and ask them if they want anything and now my children also do the same. and if I ask them to bring anything or do something , they never say no..for me this is obedience and I like the children to have that….some may call it manners.
    I differentiate between being obedient and subservient……children who are taught obedience in their childhoon are better disciplined in life…….here I am talking about normal , educate dparents who wouldnt ask their children to obey any irrational things.

    This example that you gave about children bringing water or whatever – I would certainly call it good manners. To me, obedient and subservient overlaps a lot. I prefer to use well-behaved. Discipline to me comes from understanding not blind obedience. Discipline is something which should come from within – not forced – but that is just my opinion 🙂

    • I concur with each and every line that Smitha wrote here in the reply esp.

      Infact, in my experience, an open and communicative family is far less likely to ‘disintegrate’.

      Bringing water or helping with household chores is a sign of well mannered, well behaved kid.

      When I taught Peanut to set dinner table, I didn’t order her around. Had I done that, it would be termed obedience. I told her how it is important for all members of the family to contribute in their own little way to make things easier and also Peanut feels important when she takes table mats and sets the table.

      • Yes Sols, I have seen it too. When I involve Poohi in tidying up or simple ways of helping around the house, it makes her feel responsible and she loves it! I am quite sure that if I order her around – she might come to resent it – today or tomorrow..

      • “Peanut feels important when she takes table mats and sets the table.” precisely..a child needs to feel the importance,the responsibility and not feel forced. when a sense of compulsion creeps in it invariably invokes rebellion and defiance,I feel.

        It happens in my household,when I tell Namnam to tidy up her room,arrange her stuff,in a commanding manner,she gets the urge to defy me and she does defy me many a times.She may do it after a while though but with a cringe,a disinterest.
        Instead when I join her and do it in a fun playful way,she shows all her enthusiasm!

  28. Definitely, Well behaved is the right term but maybe the person meant the same thing since these words are usually interchanged.

    Oh yes, sure! I am sure that is what he meant..
    Nice profile pic! and you talk of us making you jealous!!!!

  29. Very well written smitha,i agree to what u said, even i want my kids to be independent rather than obedient.

    I know, Saritha.. makes so much more sense, don’t you think?

    Parents hit and shout on kids because kids won’t hit or shout back them.

    Exactly! Bullying in other words.. Not all parents are like that – but there are parents like that too.

  30. The concept of an obedient child stems from the theory that elders are always right. Fortunatley more and more parents are happy with a questioning mind than blind obedience.

    I agree, things are definitely changing – and you know, with the amount of exposure that chlidren get these days, we as parents have to be receptive to their ideas..

    as for your daughter, sometimes, people are not too sure of the right word .. also they think they are paying you a great compliment when they use words like obedient.

    I know – they probably are 🙂 Its just that I don’t like the word and it’s associations much.

    I would settle for good human beings with strength of character and courage of convictions.

    Absolutely!

  31. First of all, I like your way of thinking and the way you have written this.
    And on completely agree with you and the way that you think and your beliefs.
    But may I ask, in what content did this person call poohi “obedient”?

  32. Er… can you be MY mom?

    Sure 🙂 I always wanted 2 daughters 🙂

    If only all the mothers were like you! Yes my mom IS from a different generation altogether and hence her thought process is completely different, but still.
    Now a days moms are super cool and kick some serious ass!

    Yes, I think parents are also evolving according to the times.. In today’s world, I think it is necessary to be more tuned to our children’s wavelengths.. Makes life much easier 🙂

    So again.. can you be MY mom? 😛
    😀

    Absolutely 🙂 I always wanted 2 daughters 🙂

  33. brilliant post,Smitha you know throught the post I was nodding yes yes. absolutely,Smits,obedience many a times means blind acceptance.

    Thanks Deeps! Delighted that you feel the same way too!

    And thats so not how it should be.Children need to be able to differentiate between right and wrong.thats how I want my daughter to be.She needs to know what is right and wrong and chose what she feels is right and question what she feels is wrong.Even if that means questioning her parents.She needs to know,not always her parents,her elders are right,just because they are ‘elders’.

    Absolutely!

    “What we want for our daughter is to become someone who understands enough to differentiate between right and wrong and choosing right- even if it means going against the flow, at times.” exactly!

    “R always tells me and thats what we intend to inculcate in Namnam too that respect doesn’t come with age,rather it comes with virtues”

    I know! I so agree!

    Terrific post,Smitha 🙂
    and you’re an excellent mother! Kunju will grow up to be a very well-brought up girl!

    Hope so, Deeps! Just trying our best!

  34. Nice post. Usually, the word “obedient” means dutifully complying with the commands, orders, or instructions of one in authority. This word is used in connection with dogs, like this is an obedient dog. Should not be used for human beings.

  35. Great post Smitha-obedient is such a negative word with all it’s connotations. If we can bring our children to be responsible, well-mannered and independent individuals who can think, question and take their own decisions-why would there be a need for obedience??

  36. If only all parents thought that way. I know I’ll never want my kids to ‘obey’ me. My mom just says ‘we’ll see when you get there’.

    Good post. Now off to peruse some more.

  37. Excellent post! If you want obedient kids it means you want clones or puppets. Kids should be encouraged to draw a boundary for themselves and should not be forced to obey your decisions- right or wrong.

  38. I guess, I prefer the word, well behaved. That indicates, to me, a child who knows how to conduct herself.

    Smithu…… can u for a while forget grinning Crafty and imagine her a bit solemn? Ok..here goes…

    You are the most awesome parent ever. Seriously. And I am so so happy for Poohi, and am so so so so happy that I know u. I’m sure this concept must be used at quite a few household, but am reading it and knowing someone who follows it here, with u… and so, am overwhelmed! Hugs!!!!!!!!

    Poohi is going to be all of those and much more. She’s first gonna be an individual, a human, before she is a girl, a daughter, a friend, a wife, a mom, a citizen…..

    But she will always first be a human, an individual…and the reason is her upbringing by her parents! and that is the best way to be! some gotta find that way by themselves, and Poohi has her parents for it which is soooper!
    {{{{{{{{{{{{{{{hugs}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

    I hope, that we are mature enough to handle her questions (and her criticism ) and guide her forward, the right way.

    Yes Smithu! Amen! Am sure u guys will do just great!!!! And just for that line where u said u want her to question, even u guys, coz there’s a chance that u may be wrong as parents….

    That just means Smithu, that as Poohi learns, so will u! few parents have the humility and trust that their kid can teach them too. But they so can!!!

    No one is as observant and insightful as kids… their minds unconditioned and unbiased… they are fair always!
    U both too will grow as parents and as individuals, along with ur lil angel!!

    Touchwood! This post means a lot to me!
    *super tight cuddle hugs*

    I am missing Indy! Remember her “Heartprints” post? She wud have so totally loved this! I will mail her this link!!!

    I love u Smithu! Muahs!!!!!!!

  39. You have described the perfect child that everyone would love to have…but the best part according to me was..
    “someone who respects others – not just elders, respects others, irrespective of age.”
    Like the word ‘obedient’ pinches you…. the concept of ‘respect the elders’ pinches me.
    One should respect everyone that is ‘respectable’…now the definition of ‘respectable’ would be different for everyone…but the point is…just becoz someone is younger than you…doesn’t mean that you need not respect them, even if he/she deserves it…. and vise versa if someone is a total jerk…no matter what age… I can not respect him/her….of course I wouldn’t like to insult them in any way.

  40. Obedient is a word one associates with children. On many occasions, children have to listen to and obey, say parents or elders, even if they don’t understand the full import of the instruction.

    To this extent obedience is okay. It breaches the limit, when a child becomes obedient out of fear and not respect or love.

    Even elders have to be obedient if the society has to meaningfully function. But we don’t use that word. We use words like, cooperative, helpful, humble, etc etc.

    Thoughtful post, Smitha.

  41. A good one Smitha.. we need children who are well behaved and not just obedient….

    nd I think I have 2 at home with enough questions and answers too 🙂

  42. A child should never be obedient … He should be as naughty as one could get …. should throw tantrums everywhere and make the life of his teacher a living hell … lol … 😛

  43. Kids should be naughty,else it won’t be nice :),yeahhh you are right,they should be well behaved.I hate those kids who talk about big and serious matters to elders and those who eavesdrop wht elders speaks

    hey wish you happy and prosperous onam 🙂

  44. Hi Smitha

    My first time on your blog… and by the looks of it, definitely not the last 🙂

    About your topic here, ummm.. there is a fine line to everything i guess… I do believe it is important to make sure that the children develop the capability to think for themselves and not just act like robots, but i believe there is an age for everything…

    With age, comes maturity and the ability to decide what is good or bad for us… For eg, if you keep a glass of vodka and a glass of orange juice in front of a 3 yr old and expect him to take a call on what he shud drink, the consequences of his picking up the vodka glass falls upon the parents, who did not bother telling him that he shud pick up the orange glass for now and that vodka can wait for another 15 yrs… After all, what is right and what is wrong (again subjective) is told to us by our parents first and then our teachers, who lay the foundation of our growth. I am sure all of us learnt about the common vices such as greed, lying, cheating, so on and so forth from our parents! Had they not told us what was right and what was wrong, we wud have never known.

    Dont mean to sound geeky, but a child is like a clean C console. Whatever u program into it, will show in the result that comes out 🙂

  45. Wow is ‘the’ word for the perspective here.I guess I have a lot to learn from you..when it comes to parenting. I was brought up more or less to be the ‘obedient’ kind and know the nuances of that in my personality today! I seriously would love my daughter to be more confident in herself…

    I do think it makes a lot of difference. And in today’s world with all the exposure that a child gets – I think it is important for parents to be receptive to the child’s views. You will be fine 🙂 All these things, we just pick up on our journey of parenthood:)

    • I liked the article so much and I totally agree with you. My 4 year-old son is very well behaved and I feel he is mature enough, however I’m worried a lot about his behavior in the nursery. He is very obedient to what the teacher says, if she says sit here he sits till he gets the next order. He gives his toys to his friends so they can play with. He cannot deal with misbehaved kids, he can simply cry to the teacher. I’m so worried about that and I’m seeking your advice.

  46. smithus……. beautifully worded and written 🙂 and i completely agree with u….
    how i wish more parents were like u!

    Thank you! Most of the parents of our generation, think like this..

    P.S.: sorry for late response… wasnt online for a while … now catching up with all posts!

    No probs – now that you are here 🙂

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  53. I liked the article so much and I totally agree with you. My 4 year-old son is very well behaved and I feel he is mature enough, however I’m worried a lot about his behavior in the nursery. He is very obedient to what the teacher says, if she says sit here he sits till he gets the next order. He gives his toys to his friends so they can play with. He cannot deal with misbehaved kids, he can simply cry to the teacher. I’m so worried about that and I’m seeking your advice.

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