I have been trying to fight this question in my mind since 2014. Since I became a mother. Since my mother and mother in law and every other 80’s mom first told me, humne bhi toh bache paale hain( even we have raised kids).
This has indeed been a burning topic of discussion between me and my friends. All my friends. School friends, college friends, friends I made because of my sons play school. And we unanimously disagreed. Countering with how great we were as kids who never troubled anyone. We were docile kids. Never argued. Never talked back. Dining table was never an arena to fight. Food was eaten not fussed over. Which our mothers put stamp to. Contrary to what our babies do to us.
And the elders also think we pamper our kids too much. Which I am guilty of. Kids today take ‘no’ as an offence. They don’t EARN anything. Quite a few of what they have is because of parents peer pressure and not because they really need it.
I remember our mother’s had to cook in the evening, for an entire household. So kids my generation were literally pushed out to play. We fought, made up. Cooked stories. Crossed those roads on cycles, with a sibling behind us. Met people. Saved money for a zillion years to buy a bar of chocolate and a bottle of coke. We even collected money to buy birthday cards. And when we couldn’t afford them, we hand made them.
That was some time.
Now, I would die a hundred deaths if my son goes two blocks down on his cycle alone. Neighbours are strangers, so spending a lot of time their gives me maniac thoughts like abuse and what not.
No rickshaws or autos to school. We drop them, we pick them.
And it goes on till they go to college. There we don’t pick and drop them. But for sure we are on their speed dial. I have seen mother’s fight with teachers in school for a more comfortable seat in school, and complaining about kids who trouble their child. Me included. Instead of expecting our child either to be more accommodating or fight for what is right. We serve everything on platter.
We spoon feed them. We baby sit them. We chose their rights and wrongs. We defend them even from our spouse.
I am not advocating our previous generation. But come to think of it. We came out fine. They might have done something right.
Like I am not a big fan of when fathers smoked in the same car or room where kids used to be. Or when just because a mother had to do her chores the kids got multiple stitches. Which I can see so many of you nodding to. Neither do I like the concept of being beaten up for every diary note. Or when we had to make big decisions ,discussing them with our siblings, because after the entire day, our parents didn’t have energy for our childish blabber.
But our stories sounded like adventures. Like one of my favourite is when me and my brother used to race to an ice cream parlour from our guest house, during our holiday to Nainital. And also how we had to wait for a Sunday, to go for a drive and get sweets. And how I used to brag that he is my brother, when he made it to the students council.
And what worries me is how are my son’s stories going to shape up. That how his stay was, in a magnificent hotel , where he played his play station all day and had lavish buffet.
No tyre bursts, no falling on rocks, no running around streets and making friends for life.
We made mistakes, that made us who we are. Are we letting them make their share of mistakes.