Today we had some visitors over. It was a couple with two kids, a boy and a girl. The children were well behaved. My Dad doesn’t like well behaved children. It’s not like he likes brats, but he hates the regimented children who sit like trained circus animals, answering your questions perfectly. Apart from the mandatory wishing of elders he never believed in strictly controlling our every move. He would rather leave us at home than taking us along when my parents went visiting because he knew that sitting down while the adults made polite conversation was torture for us. My Mom didn’t agree, because she thought we should learn to move around in society. But my Dad was in no mood to make us trained animals. That’s his viewpoint and I know many people will disagree to it. But I am thankful that unlike my friends we didn’t have to go through the painful process of ‘visiting’ people. And for all purposes we have turned out alright.
I cannot but help notice the strange relationship of parents and kids because there are a fair number of young parents in my family circle and among my colleagues and neighborhood etc. From my observations of parents and kids I have noticed something.
From the time the child starts walking he is taught to sit down quietly, behave himself viz do things according to the approval of his parents and not give them to much hassle, do home work, sleep early etc. It is a military barracks kind of life style for most kids nowadays. Parents seem to go through the motions of parenting and kids are trained in such a way that they don’t hassle their parents too much. You rarely see parents and kids sitting together for a game of Scrabble or cards, or parents getting involved in their child’s hobbies or interests. In fact these are discouraged or encouraged with an eye to a career in the same field like say music. How many Dads play football or cricket with their children on a weekend? ( Mine did in case you are wondering) How many families talk?
Most Indian parents I notice, are like caretakers of their kids. Children are herded and directed like sheep in a strictly controlled environment of school, homework, TV sleep routine till they get a job. After which the parents, feeling all accomplished take a break from parenting. And in this routine the child’s individuality, hopes, ambitions, desires etc is mercilessly brushed aside and he becomes just another person joining the workforce, earning a living, paying his house EMI marrying, having kids and restarting the parent/kid cycle.