Children these days…

Is it only me or do others feel this way, when people start their discourses about how ‘children these days’ don’t do this, or do only that.

The biggest complaint I hear everywhere is how children don’t like outdoor games, or playing with other children, how they are glued to the television etc etc etc. I can’t be the only parent who disagrees, surely? Even in this cold country, I see my daughter and other children playing outside, in the garden when it is sunny, and walking to and back from school. Mind you, these are not very short walks either. Daughter took a skipping rope to school today, she wanted to skip all the way to school, but decided to do it on the way back instead( we did not want to get late for school). Other times, we go to the park on the way back from school. We go on long walks, and daughter enjoys them as much as we do. Yes, occasionally she does complain, but most of the time, she enjoys every bit of it, especially when she knows that the walk will end in the park.

Most days, she has physical activities that she loves, and watching TV comes ta the end of the long list. Some days, she forgets to even ask for TV. And I know that most of her friends have similar routines. Yes, she does enjoy watching TV- which child doesn’t ? But it is us parents who have to find ways of keeping them entertained with other more stimulating activities. And even watching TV is fine, as far as they watch something which is informative and fun, and is within limits.

The same goes with toys. I hear people saying that children throw huge tantrums when they are not allowed to buy a toy that they want. Some justify it by saying that children need toys to play, if you want to stop them from watching TV. To be honest, I find most of the toys that daughter has, to be useless. At the very least, useless in the form that the makers intended them to be used. Most of daughter’s toys are stuff that she has received as gifts. We are parents who hardly buy toys. Why should we, when more often than not, she enjoys cutting paper into tiny pieces, or creating houses with cushions, or some other make-believe game that she thought up?

I have one huge suitcase full of toys that she received for her last birthday. I saw no point in opening it all up, because she is not going to play with all of them at once any way. We(daughter and I) had decided that we would open one toy a month. She forgot all about it, and cheeky mother that I am, I did not remind her. She has enough playthings to keep her happy, anyway. I happened to mention this to a friend, and she was stunned. She was surprised that daughter agreed to it. Her child would never agree, apparently. Well, I think it depends on us, as parents to set out boundaries and once these have been established, early on, children know what to expect. For instance, daughter knows that throwing a tantrum in a store is NEVER going to get her anything. Sure, she does get a little teary sometimes, especially if she is tired , but then as a parent, I know how to distract her or reason with her, depending on the situation.

The same goes with walking and playing outdoors, sharing. If we as parents, teach the children to share, they do understand. At least that is what I have learnt as a parent. Some say that single kids do not know how to share – but to be honest, I have seen single kids sharing beautifully, as well as siblings fighting for everything, and the mother managing to make sure that there is two of everything, because otherwise, a fight is a surety. If we as parents, ground them properly, there is no reason why children, (today’s or yesterday’s) should not behave.

Husband was reading a book where it said something to the effect, ‘What is important is not what parents do, but what parents are’. And that is, I feel true to a large extent. One of my neighbours were extremely active people, and their children were the same. I have never seen them in front of a TV. They spend hours outdoors, read, have picnics, and those two children were beautifully behaved. Absolutely great children. I was happy to babysit them anytime, because I knew that they were great company for daughter, and that they would behave perfectly during the time that they were here.

At the same time, there are children, who get ‘bored’ or want more toys, or want to watch the telly. While every child is different, I do feel that today’s children are not all lazy, selfish children. Sure there might be some, just as there were these types of children in the previous generation. But where there are parents who believe keeping a balance, most children do turn out fine.

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26 thoughts on “Children these days…

  1. This “Today’s children” thing is an excuse every generation likes to throw around to make themselves feel superior and also not to feel accountable or responsible for the way their children are turning out. Besides it is a great topic of conversation to bond over play the martyred drama queens/kings. It annoys me no end. There is nothing like today’s children, but only “today’s parents”!

    I couldn’t agree more, Shail! ‘an excuse every generation likes to throw around to make themselves feel superior and also not to feel accountable or responsible for the way their children are turning out’ – That sounds so right!

    When I took my son along to buy a b’day gift toy for him (he was 3) the senior lady looked at me in surprise asked, “you are taking your son to a toy shop????” Then she laughed heartily at me and said, “take him, take him. You will know soon enough!” in a very patronizing manner. Well, she was th one stunned to see my son choose a car from among the ones displayed and we quietly walked out of the shop.

    πŸ™‚ I can so imagine the lady’s expression πŸ™‚

    Everything depends on us parents, not children. So I cannot re-iterate enough about “today’s parents”
    Nice blog. I loved it.

    Thank you Shail!
    I

    • Agree with you on some points not all πŸ™‚ .. I have seen otherwise kids refusing to leave the PS3 or the Xbox..

      You know, if we try and figure out the reason why the child refuses to leave the PS3 – we might understand that it has more to do with the parenting than the children themselves. How about setting boundaries, and being serious about it? I have seen parents half heartedly reprimand children. The children as well as the parents know that they do not mean business, so the children carry on doing what they want. Sadly when people panic only after the behaviour reaches a point of no-return.

      YEs a lot depends on the parents too, I love outdoors and dont like spending time cooped up in a room even if its snowing or whatever .. there is always something to do in any weather …

      True. We have such fun even in snowy weather. I have had some parents of daughter’s classmates ask me why I ‘torture’ her by making her walk to school even in winter – but she loves it! She loves walking in the snow!

      But then there is the next door who havea little kid and i pity the litte boy who seems to remain indoors all the time , they are too afraid to take him out for a walk in a pram even I wonder why .. Too much wrapped in the wool ..

      That is so sad!
      I remeber my sister had come with her kids and we use to leave home early morning jsut go walking up in the hills almost got lost once and came back late night …

      Wow! That must have been such fun!

      Another thing which is making me mad is the latest WII things they give ADS sayin how you can convert your living room into a play room and exercise , it may be good but how can it be as beneficial as doing the same out in the open fresh air hitting your lungs ….

      Well, the advertiser will recommend anything, isn’t it upon us to decide what works for us and what is right?
      I still play hockey saturdays I know i am old and fat and what not but when on that pitch with the stick in my hand I am better then majority of the 20 year olds … πŸ™‚

      The little one is in good hands i see with you guys walking and skipping and all that .. But majority dont do that …

  2. Smitha, agree with every word you say. My husband and I joke that for many years, my son never knew that you could actually BUY toys from a store! he thought they were just there to be seen, sometimes played with πŸ™‚ My kids watch TV, an hour a week. That’s all. Probably because its because they never see me and my husband watching except an occasional movie. However it is a fact that with all the electronic distractions, there are many families who do not follow such a lifestyle. I see it myself in my city/apt complex where kids are enrolled in classes just so that they don’t watch TV! The standard evening snack is a packet of chips. Obesity is common. Reading – uncommon! I could go on and on but I’m sure u get the drift.

    I so get your drift! It is the same at home for us. And I hear of proud parents boasting of how their 1 yr old can use their iPhones! I wouldn’t be surprised if they grew up to be children who need to surgically separated from their playstations ! If we as parents tell them in different ways that it is alright to watch TV – all the time, or to be stuck with some electronic device, then they will pick up on those. Obesity in children? Frightening, no?

  3. As my Mom says children are areflection of their parents.

    They learn what we teach them or show them by our actions! And seriously, saying “my child is very ziddi” is nothing but accepting your defeat as a parent, had u stopped him/ her in the begining this wouldn’t have happened. Sadly most of the parents 1st pamper their kids & then complain about them.

    Absolutely! The very same parents indulgently smile or encourage their children’s misbehaviour and then complain about it when it gets out of hand.

    You know we are following your principle, all the gits which came for L’lle ones b’day are stacked and we take them out as & when we feel he will appreciate them. Thankfully me n hubby are on the same page on this πŸ™‚

    πŸ™‚ I am sure your lle one will not thank me when he gets to know that πŸ™‚ But jokes apart, I find that it helps- by now daughter is used to it, so she does not demand for all her presents all at once.

    • that’s very important aspect of parenting…both parents have to be on the same page or else this becomes a roadblock to good parenting ! but you know generally these days I think both parents are thinking in the same direction even if they are different in other aspects….touch wood for such couples…like you and me too πŸ˜‰

  4. What is important is not what parents do
    I think you have answered it all in this sentence. Children imitate parents. Parents may not realise it but kids are observing their every action and replicating it, knowingly or unknowingly. This includes lifestyle, thoughts processes, words, deeds, everything.

    Absolutely! We can’t expect the child to not watch TV, when we do it all the time, you know?

    If the parent cannot be bothered to join the child for play or be encouraging by taking him/her out to the park or for a walk when there is the option, then why blame the kids?

    Absolutely! If we make an effort, we can prevent our kids from being total couch potatoes.

  5. If we as parents, ground them properly, there is no reason why children, (today’s or yesterday’s) should not behave precisely my point and now that I’m gearing towards the same drill of making my kid what I want her to be I’m believing in this fact more than ever…it’s in our hands…what they say is not false…children are like mud balls…you can shape them the way you want to and the results are going to be awesome if you invest time and energy other than money and restrictions !

    Absolutely!

    whatever has been stated in the book is quiet true and I’ve seen the exact thing happening in my surrounding…a couple is too lousy and too dull when it comes to doing some activities with kids…after they come from office they think they are dead tired to even ask their kids about school and stuff…so of course when parents are not there to even check how the day went they are not bothered to see what the kids did the entire day..so practically the kids are on their own and the mother especially is so lazy that whenever the daughters say that they are getting bored so let’s do something the mothers says ‘I’m tired so you girls go and watch some tele’…this is being happening for the last 5-6 years that I know of…and today the girls are so addicted to each and every serial the tele shows on every channel…the results? the girls just don’t like playing any games,they just want to throw their bags one side and switch on the tele the moment they come in,they eat food only if the tele is on, and the likes…studies ? ahh…even studies are gone for a toss now that they just don’t like to study…sometimes the younger daughter who is in class 2 skips school,with parents’ permission,for she forgot to do the homework or prepare for the test!

    Goodness! That is the heights! How can they be like this? I am sure the children already know how to get out of sticky situations by lying or some other corrupt means!

    and this is not all…the parents when come to our place [family friends] they tell us about how ‘chatur’ their daughters are in answering back to peers and elders alike! sigh! like the other the younger daughter comes home and the mother for a change asks her to do her homework before switching on the tele or else the teacher will scold her to that the daughter replies ‘teacher jaye bhaad mein,mujhe HW nahi karna’…this was told to us by the parents smilingly!

    And they are proud of this beahviour! God! Why are such people parents???

    I pity those girls and I so wish their parents would have been a little careful in bringing them up,a little active and a little attentive about what’s happening to their kids ! and it’s just now,future is still to come and I’m dead worried about the little girls of how would they take life as,given that their parents are still the same in dealing with them !

    I know! I feel sorry just reading about all this. Poor girls, what can they do, if the grown-ups who know better(or should know) are least interested.

    so yes,all I want to say is parents are responsible for what they are making of their children…and I don’t say that if you bring up your children properly there is a guarantee that they will turn out to be the perfect human beings tomorrow…but at least you will be doing your right bit !

    Absolutely!! While we can’t guarantee results, at the very least, we can try to do our best. Who knows, even our best might not be enough- but at least we know we tried, right?
    I can write a whole post on this…by the way this is no less than a post πŸ˜‰

    This was fantastic, Nu! Loved your comment!

  6. This is something I am hoping to help my daughter love… the outdoors!
    The telly really has to be played down.
    I shall be only experiencing all this soon…. so too early to tell. But, loved the post!

  7. Ayyoo, Smithu, had it not been for her toys and books this week, I would have gone crazy getting a viral-stricken Namnu to sit still lest her fever shot up :D. Especially in the mornings when all she wanted to do was go out to play or swim if not in school 😦

    I did not mean , no toys or no books πŸ™‚ Of course they need their entertainment πŸ™‚ And I never say no to books

    Anyway on a serious note I get your point. Its all about keeping the balance and monitoring your child and ensuring that you keep an optimum control over their habits and activities so they dont go overboard.

    It is all about the balance, isn’t it? I mean, we might not be perfect, but we have some chance of getting it right, if we try, sort of thing.

    While I dont have any objection to children playing with toys and watching a bit of television so long as these are informative, interactive and enhance their creativity level and of course age-appropriate, I totally agree that its also important to indulge in some fair amount of outdoor and other stimulating activities. Namnam does have her share of fun with her dolls and blocks and her play-house and of course exploring our tool-box to make a castle out of it ( πŸ˜‰ ) just as she looks forward to taking a ride around our compound in her bike or going to the park and getting all muddy and dirty or riding a bike with her friends. So yes I agree if we as parents ensure that our children get to divide their indoor and outdoor time in the best way possible then they will grow up just fine πŸ™‚

    They do need their toys,of course they do, but sometimes, I see parents buying toys left right and centre and the child not even playing with all those new toys, because there are so many. Plus, they get into the habit of demanding toys, just for the heck of it. You know, in service stations, you get those little vending machines with little toys- they are not expensive, but totally useless. I know children who insist on getting them, every time they come across a vending machine. Now, they might not cost much, but I feel that indulging a child everytime makes them lose the value of things..

    I don’t buy many toys because Kunju finds other things more interesting – like bits of paper πŸ™‚

    Thanks Deeps!
    Loved this post, Smits!

  8. Our children are our reflections, whether they are good or bad, at least 50% has come via us, the parents. There is no blaming them saying ‘today’s children are bad’. Our parents also said so!

    That sounds so true, Sandhya!

    My children were going to school by cycle – it was around 3 Kms. They were enjoying the ride. TV viewing was after 9 pm always for us and the children. They used to watch most of the Sunday serials, mostly English serials, Discovery of India, Chanakya etc., if I remember correctly. They watched ‘Hum Log’ with us too, though they don’t seem to remember it much. Now, I have to wait and see how their children turn out to be!

    You brought back memories for me too! The serials these days- am not sure if I want Poohi watching any of those. But she does get to watch some children’s channels.
    They had limited number of toys! They were mostly book worms!

    I was one too – still am, I think πŸ™‚

    Very interesting post, Smitha!
    Thanks Sandhya!

  9. Ohh how I love this post πŸ™‚

    “But it is us parents who have to find ways of keeping them entertained with other more stimulating activities” yup…it’s just the laziness of the parents to spend time with their child which leads to addiction to Tv and video games.

    I agree. It is easier to plonk them in front of the TV than spending time with them, isn’t it?

    Almost everyone here looks at us with a stunned expression when we say that we don’t have PS3, Wii, DS and the likes. They don’t believe when we say that the boy understands when we tell him it’s not very good for his health.

    You know, we are that weird family who has the playstation and the wii, but it lies around gathering dust. Husband bought the playstation because he wanted a blue-ray DVD player – but he uses it to watch photographs. And the Wii I bought thinking that I would use the WiiFit – But I prefer walking outdoors to exercising indoors 😦 Daughter thankfully has no interest in either of these πŸ™‚

    Ps: I have even given up on my quality FB and blogging time so that once he is back home, I am busy taking him around for his outdoor sports and music lessons πŸ˜₯

    Music lessons? Wow! S is one smart kiddo! Yes, I have a crazy schedule of daughter’s activities too 😦 But to be honest, I love doing it, and also get to read when she is in her tennis/dance classes.

  10. I must say that while I do go “kids these days” I also go “parents these days” and trust me…I get to see some of the most difficult parents. I still remember when I worked at a school, I used to get so frustrated with the parents of difficult kids who would do everything they could to get their little angels out of detention and the like for bad behaviour. How then could we just say ‘kids these days’ when parents are not modelling appropriate behaviours?!

    • PB, I see such parents all the time. Their parenting techniques make me want to cry. Not that I am perfect, but it is so clear that they are clueless. If a child throws a tantrum, they deal with it so badly, that the only lesson the child learns is that tantrums are the way to get treats – of any sort. The children openly flout rules, because they have learnt that they can get away with it.. I feel so sorry for the children!

  11. Mostly I find that couples dont have the skill to manage themselves and then they add a child to the mix. Parenting requires a degree of self-disciple(its a rare thing) and thoughtfulness that I find seriously lacking. This might seem radical or ridiculous to some, but I am of the opinion that Marriages and Parenting should need some certification/licensing. Imagine the scenario where the couples will have to attend and PASS and examination before they can marry or have a child and then have to have continued education on coping skills for marriage and parenting with re-certification every 2 years or so until the children are 18. Might just remove the dysfunction in marriage and make parenting skills better.

  12. Smita, I largely agree with you. My daughter is also someone who can be reasoned with. She sees light and then comes up with the thing: ‘Its my idea, lets pout this toy away and play with it later’!
    But having returned from a trip to India recently- It is easier to reason with your child, if there is a ‘single style of parenting’ It does not mean necessarily nuclear families.
    For example: With in laws over right now, V gets her set of rules from three autoritues, My husband and me counted as one, my FIL< my MIL. All three parties have very fixed approach to parenting. This in result tends to confuse the kid.. and then you suffer from 'kids getting there unreasonable ways ' since 'he said I could, why you saying no!' Here comes in favortism etc.
    We realised this slippery slope early on… and put our foot down- there will be only one form of parenting in the house. Lets not confuse the kid with multiple messages.
    Yes, it does not work all the time, since I definitely more stricter than others… but we have found middle ground. I have learned to be less 'controlling of situations' and my in laws have learned the 'confusing kid' concept.

    nNow that we are in abetter place, this one form of parenting works!

    SO now, V asks a question/ confronts a problem, she gets a unfirom response and this it makes it easier for her to reason with situations, have lesser tantrums and not use favoritsm to get her way!

    sorry for the long wordy message! πŸ˜‰

  13. I guess it does depend on parents how much they encourage outdoor activity because that needs time and attention. Its easier to just plonk kids in front of tv. before blaming one needs to see how much time and attention they are putting in!

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