The kids are not all right

the kids are not all right
Hovering parents

A few weeks ago, I had attended a birthday party of my daughter’s friend. There they played a game, the age old ‘Passing the parcel’, however what was different was the way it was played. The child who was caught with the parcel when the music stopped was asked to leave the circle but with that parcel as the gift, and then a new parcel was introduced. The game continued till every child got a gift. I asked the mother what was wrong with the earlier version, the version we had all grown up with.

She said – “I do not like kids to be disappointed. See, here every child is happy as he or she gets to take a gift home.”

In another instance, I was in the park with my daughter. She was playing lock and key with her friends. Now, one of her friends fell down. Her mother who was on the other side of the park ran to his son, all confused and upset. She scooped her son in her lap and started inquiring – “Are you hurt? Let me see! Do no cry! Shush, mama is here.”

The child, had a scraped knee, who was perfectly OK till then, started crying earnestly.

I was at a friend’s home for lunch. Her 5-year old daughter refused to eat what was cooked for lunch. My friends felt so guilty that her daughter would go hungry, that she cooked up her favourite pasta immediately. According to her, it was not the first time this had happened.

At the School Sports Day, there are no races, no competition. No first, second or runner ups. Because, everyone is equal, there should be no competition between the kids.

Kids today have a room full of toys and games. Some they ask, some they do not. But, they still get them. Everything in excess is the new mantra of life.

Our parents taught us self-reliance, while we hover around our children and want to protect them at all costs. We like to hold our babies closer to the protection of the nest. We go out of our way and rustle up something when they don’t eat what’s cooked at home for everyone else, because we don’t them to sleep hungry. Instead of letting them play outside, we organize activities for them. We do their homework and their assignments. We even resolve their conflicts for them.

It makes me wonder, what will happen to these kids when they grow up?

Will they get a gift everytime they fail? Will they be able to handle disappointment? A child who has never been denied anything, how will he cope with rejections? There are a growing number of cases when kids run away from home or commit suicide because they are not able to deal with low marks in examinations or when they fail to secure an admission in an institution of their choice.

Will their parents keep them hidden in their bosom all their life? Our mothers never ran after us, a scraped knee was just that. She would ask us to wash it with some water and then forget about it. But, there was no drama that followed. Falling and hurting was a part of daily life for us. We cycled, climbed up trees and jumped from the stairs. Today, kids travel in elevators and escalators (because they might fall down the stairs and get themselves hurt). Earlier, kids walked and cycled. I hardly see kids walking nowadays, unless it’s for a kids’ marathon and they are required to pose for selfies with their cool mommies. I never see kids climbing up the monkey bars, do you?

Will they shy away from competition or be able to survive it? OK, so we can accompany our kids till the college gate and and sit in the waiting area while they appear for a job interview. In one-child China, parents have been known to put up tents outside their college kids’ dorms. This is an invisible umbilical cord we are just not ready to cut. And, what happens after that? A child who is never used to losing – how will he survive in the big bad world?

We are raising our kids to be adult babies.

So what should we do?

  • Stop telling our children that they are special all the time. They are not, at least not always. So reserve the praises for the times when they actually deserve.
  • Stop going out of the way to create happiness in their life. The life is a mix of joys and sorrows, and it is for a reason. We have no right to interfere with the nature. So let’s stop pretending that everything is allright when it’s not. Let the kids have their fair share of disappointments at an early age. It’s better to fall at 10, than at 40.
  • Stop giving them things when they don’t require it. We had fewer toys, did we ever complain? Were we unhappy because of that? No, right. So why are we teaching our kids to be materialistic? Why should they find happiness in toys and games, and not people? We give them iPads, iPhones…we are teaching them it’s all right to speak to the technology, rather than people. Today’s kids have more virtual friends than actual friends.
  • Stop hovering around them. Let them take actions and be responsible for their actions. If they have done a wrong deed, they should take the punishment or the consequences for it. Do not protect them unnecessarily.
  • Let them fall. And, do not cushion their fall. Also, let them get up on their own. Only when they fall, will they get up. Let them learn things on their own.
  • Stop feeling guilty. For things we can’t provide them. We are the parents, not superhumans or Gods. Make our kids understand our limitations.

It’s not the kids who are at fault, but us, the parents. Let’s sit with our parents and understand how they raised us – independent and fearless. We can take a leaf or two from  their parenting book. It wouldn’t do us any harm, but might save our kids!

Book Review – Parenting & A Slice of Everything


Author – Anupriya runs a blog mommytincture wherein she shares her experiences and thoughts as a mother, a daughter, a woman and a conscientious human being.

Book – Parenting & A Slice of Everything is a collection of 26 stories that portrays various incidents and emotions related to pregnancy, parenthood and relationships.

It showcases the life of two sisters, Smita and Amrita, one who chooses to not have a child and the other who has a 5-year old and is pregnant with her second baby. However, the story is not restricted to Smita and Amrita alone but talks about other people in their life too.

The book touches on relevant topics of both pregnancy and parenting such as a successful career woman Smita is bullied by her mother to start her family, an extremely pregnant Amrita feeling inadequate and jealous when she sees her husband paying more than necessary attention to his slim and svelte colleague, her genuine confusion on how to introduce certain topics like death to her young son or how to behave when her son throws a massive tantrum in the mall for a chocolate, Amrita and her husband Raghav stealing moments of passion on their date night, potty training, the nanny who becomes a surrogate to Amrita’s elder son Nik, and so on.

We also come across endearing stories of Smita and Amrita’s mother, Mrs. Gujral who has been dominated all her life by her perfection-seeking husband and a single mother who is raising her son all alone trying her best so that her son doesn’t take after his father.

Review – I had expected this book to contain only advice and tips on parenting. However, I was in for a pleasant surprise. The book is in the form of a story that doesn’t restrict itself to parenting, but also talks about life and relationships in general. Every chapter raises a pertinent question about parenting and life which makes the reader take a moment and ponder. I found it very innovative, as admit it, tips and suggestions even when given out in good faith are both condescending and boring.

What I liked –

I found this chapter very endearing where Smita’s mother in law is jealous of Smita for usurping her son. She clings to her son whenever he visits her. Smita understands the feeling of loneliness and desperation that the older lady is going through. She extends a hand of friendship and lets the mother in law know that she can never take her place – the place of the mother.

These lines will give every couple who ever argued about not having a second baby quite some food for thought –

With a single salary, this lower middle-class couple had nurtured two saplings into full blossom flowers – confident, capable and financially independent. And here she had in front of her, a couple who earned a six-digit monthly salary each and yet could not afford parenthood.

What I didn’t like –

Some grammatical and spelling errors though it doesn’t affect the reading pleasure.

In all, Parenting & A Slice of Everything has a bit of everything for a reader. If it gives you an insight into what parenting can be like, it also reveals the intricacies and complexities of relationships.

To read the book, you can download it from here.