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.