When I look back, I feel that compared to the over involved parents of today, our parents were more chilled out or let’s say detached. Objectively I am not a helicopter parent either. I was just reminiscing how they were so much more carefree when it came to their kids. Here are some things our mums did that we hardly do now:
1. Push our kids to take public transport:
I traveled to my school in South Bombay on a public bus with my brother. It involved walking 1 km. from each bus stop daily. My parents never once came to the bus stop. And we had no mobile phones back in those days. Can you imagine us doing the same?
Oh and my brother was in 4th grade and I was in 7th grade. My older son started taking public buses regularly since last year, and I am among very few moms who pushed for it. Most parents are glad to pick up and drop their kids even when their kids are in late teens.
2. Let us play outdoors without having any clue where we were for hours:
Do you remember this? I do. We could be playing outdoors and then moved base to our neighborhood friend’s home where our snacks were invariably taken care of. These days, we need parents to call us if our child lands at their place or the child to inform us before going to a neighbour’s hours. Not to mention the mobile phones that we instruct our kids to carry at all times.
3. Let us worry about our own studies:
I don’t know about your parents but my mum had no clue when I had which test or exam. Rather mum and dad would peacefully go to bed without even asking if we were adequately prepared for the next day’s whatever.
Also, they had to watch their TV no matter if it was our exams. These days there is a curfew at homes when kids have tests or exams even if the child is in kindergarten! Parents seem to be more hyper than kids checking and rechecking if their kids had studied.
4. Let us participate in activities for the joy of it:
Seriously, our mums were not planning our dance, singing, horseriding, drama classes while wondering how to fit in other activities in our schedule. For my siblings and I, free time meant playing outdoors with friends or wasting time doing mundane activities like chatting, reading or just giggling.
There was no schedule that we had to follow. I have tried to be similar with my kids but I know of mums who are rushing their kids from one class to another or feel down if the child loses so much as a colony competition. I know of a mum who made her child cheat in a drawing competition held in the colony. Truly lowly and I wonder what the child learned.
5. Not tag along with bulky cameras or mobile phones to capture every moment of our lives:
Okay my parents were of a generation when there were no mobile phones. They were also not much for nostalgia or documenting memories. I remember them skipping a few of our stage performances in school and college.
These days, God forbid if you miss the silly Annual Day performance at school, your kid will give you hell because all other parents turned up. No matter if your child was wildly flailing their arms on the stage and doing nothing meaningful. Also the obsession with taking too many pics driving the kids and family nuts.
6. Not interfere in their kids’ fights:
I mean seriously! My parents would never ever go to pull up another parent just because they scolded us. Their automatic premise was that we must have done something and they never got involved in children’s fights. These days, I’ve had mums coming to my doorstep to fight because their child had gotten into a tiff with my child. How silly is that!
Why as parents have we started to just blindly believe everything that our children tell us? Of course, they get into mischief and trouble. And they would lie to their parents to get out of trouble. Unless it is something serious like bullying or physical hitting, I tell them to handle it themselves. Are we raising dependent entitled kids simply because we want to fight all their battles and are too blind to see our own child’s faults?
7. Not teach things and expect us to pick them up by observation:
I was not initiated into housekeeping chores like folding clothes, ironing clothes, making the bed, cooking, chopping veggies, sweeping, washing dishes and so on. Were you? Didn’t we just hang around our mums, watched them do things and picked them up? At least that was how it was in my home. But now I have to ‘initiate’ my kids into simple activities. I have ‘taught’ both my kids how to iron clothes, fold clothes (seriously!), chop veggies (instructing them not to cut off their finger), basic cooking, sweeping, washing their plates, loading the dishwasher, hanging out the laundry etc.
They seem very apprehensive when given a new task as if the dusting cloth will grow teeth and bite them. And then I actually demonstrate something that I wonder ought to be common sense. My husband on the other hand has a perfect way to do everything. He diligently tells them the merits of following his approach. 🙂
While the post is written in a lighter vein, I really wonder if as parents we have made our lives a lot more stressful by constantly worrying about mundane things and driving our children and ourselves nuts.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this and if you are a parent whether you agree with some of these?
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