Has the ‘Child’ in childhood disappeared?

Rachna, is  my young blogger friend whose posts I love for their forthrightness and honesty. She is a socially conscious individual, a creative mother and a smart professional, who does not mince her words when it comes to matters close to her heart, especially social issues that affect us all. I look forward to her comments on my posts and I am never disappointed because she has something new to share with my readers. What is more, she does not hesitate to voice her dissent to my views, much to my delight.  And folks, she is one of the rare people who actually walks her talk. Do visit her blog Rachna Says.

In this guest post, she spares no punches as she takes on parents who put their kids through a grind of activities and classes, leaving them little time to be children. Read on….

 

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Remember the song ‘Bachpan ke din bhi kya din the, udte phirte titli ban?’

As I hum the words, I look back nostalgically at my own childhood : those carefree days devoid of gadgets, satellite TV and computers yet filled with so much love and joy!

Who can deny that there is an immense joy in seeing the innocence of a child: a child who gets upset and then quickly forgives and gives you a hug; a child who suddenly comes and mouths, ‘I love you, ma!’ before sprinting away; a child who spins tales out of a hat? The spontaneity and happiness that a child exhibits is truly heartwarming. It is these moments that parents live for.

Childhood, gone with the sea? (Pic courtesy: Raghav Khanna)

I sometimes fear that far from feeling carefree like butterflies and enjoying their childhood, our kids might actually be glad to leave their childhood behind them, considering how many of them are being pushed to excel by today’s parents!

Compared to the carefree times of my childhood, today’s children are living under constant stress: the stress of carrying on their slender shoulders the aspirations and lofty ambitions of their parents; the expectations of their teachers; and the incredible load of curriculum. They are living in a world where learning is always equated with competition; activities are all about winning a prize; and classes are joined not based on the kid’s skills or interests but on their snob value. Add to this the tough school schedule, loads of homework, projects and tuition, and the poor child just keeps getting pushed deeper and deeper in the vortex of stress and struggles to cope.

Welcome to the world of ‘helicopter parents’ —  those super-informed, super-involved, on-the-move parents, shuttling their kids from one class to another with the ease of a skilled acrobat! These are the parents that hover around their kids in a colony contest, desperately prompting the child, with a camera in tow elbowing out anyone who comes between them and their super achiever kid. These are the parents that worry about every germ that the child encounters and run after the poor kid with sanitizer in one hand and low-fat, high-protein smoothie in the other. They fill every second of their child’s existence with ‘constructive’ activities.

But if they really do have their child’s best interests at heart, they should stop obsessing over their kindergartener’s handwriting and micromanaging their lives in general. Else, the poor, mortified child would end up a super dependent adult, always seeking approval and unable to make even the smallest decision in life.

I really mean it; lay off parents! Give your child some fresh air to breathe and some space to thrive. Children are so creative and intelligent, they will surprise you with what they can do. If anything is holding back your children, it is your obsessive involvement and not their limitation! Set them free!

Isn’t it a matter of concern that children as young as five are falling prey to depression? There is a very fine line between stimulation and exertion; motivation and pressure. And most parents in my generation are going overboard. What is the need to keep the child ‘occupied’ at all times? Does it truly lead to all-round development? More importantly, how many parents even care?

For, we also have a breed of parents that is the opposite of helicopter parents: the under involved parents! All they want is for the kids to be somehow taken care of by someone because they are struggling to fit in too many things in their own lives.

For these parents kids need to be kept engaged because they do not have the time or inclination to provide them the attention they need. It has nothing to do with both the parents working. I see stay-at-home moms lounging in front of television sets or engrossed in their own social activities, even staying online for hours. In effect, they are unavailable, uninterested and even irritable when the child comes home. They have no time to spare for the child. So, they push the child to go for tuition even at a very young age when they can very well teach the child at home. In addition to this, there are the sundry classes like dance, art and music.

Did the parents once find out what the child wanted? Is she happy doing this or does she have the talent or attitude to cope? Is the child too tired? Can’t she play with friends or engage in a favorite hobby like gardening that is more fun?

And, then we complain that kids are growing up brash and disrespectful and don’t bond with us. Did we spend the time to nurture the bond? Were we there to guide the child, to console her when she needed it, to hug her and tell her that it is okay to lose as long as she tried hard enough, that we love her for being her and not because she won a medal, and that we are always there for her no matter what! The question is, do parents have a couple of hours in their day that they can dedicate to their child without being distracted by their mobile or computer or TV? Do they take time out to talk and laugh together? What has happened to family interaction? Do the tired parents and tired children have time to share their lives, ask for guidance or discuss their fears and aspirations?

I hope each parent pauses for a second and thinks: What kind of a parent am I? Am I taking away the ‘child’ from their childhood?

We can earn all the money we want and do other ‘important’ things, but the time and love lost are gone forever. I wish that parents would not have kids if they did not understand the magnitude of the responsibility that the task of raising them entails. The damage cannot be undone once they are older. It is not possible to rebuild the relationship in their teenage years. There is no greater joy than to raise a well-mannered, loving child, who need not necessarily be a genius.

Let us make the change while we still can!

 

 Related Post : Where is the magic?

(Pic on Homepage courtesy: Swati Maheshwari)

 

 

134 comments

  1. […] This post was previously published on The Cyber Nag. […]

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  2. I Know a mom whose chid goes for 7 activity classes… chess,swimming,tennis,gymnastics,art,oddisi, karate. The poor child is not even spared during weekends. My heart goes out to such children.

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    1. It is happening more and more and even parents who claim not to be pushing their children end up doing it indirectly. Others who don’t do it, sometimes feel guilty for not giving their children the chances others are giving their children.

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  3. […] A story partly inspired by Rachna’s post at the cybernag […]

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  4. Wow, how does she do it? I feel so sorry for her kids. Imagine the pressure when you are afraid to come home and tell your parents that you did not stand first. I have seen so many of this kind. Thank you for sharing your experience, Shilpa!

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  5. Well said! I have a friend and nobody could be as competitive as her. Right from 5 am to 10 pm, her life revolves around the kids and their activities. Its the same as you mentioned, school, extra classes, music, swimming/mental maths, shlokas etc etc and all this is ‘fine’ but expecting and pushing the kids to excel in everything is TOOOOO much. Even a second or a third position is frowned upon. I wonder what would happen to the kids by the time they’d be in college… am sure they’d burn out by then… all because of their parents! 😦

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  6. What a great post!!! So well written and thought out..and so true! As a person who never had much a childhood myself–had classes and homework all the time and never went out to play, I have had to wait till this age of 40 to bring my childhood back. I urge more parents read this article…let children enjoy their childhood!!!

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    1. Thank you Bhavana for your kind words! Really, you did all that in your childhood? I felt my parents were too laid back! There are things like Kathak and Classical music that I took to learning after marriage, albeit for a short time. I hope to take them up again when kids are older :).

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  7. Great points, Rachna. Agree with all of them.

    On the over-involved parents – I guess it stems from anxiety, at some level. Anxiety that competition is fierce and their children will get left behind in the “race”. This anxiety manifests itself in the form of control.

    Sometimes you can estimate the worth of something only after you’ve paid the price to acquire it. In that sense, these parents are over-estimating the benefits of a competitive mind set now. It’s possible that they might regret having encouraged this attitude at a later point in time. As we sow, so shall we reap.

    Loved the article. It made me think about how I’m doing on some of these fronts. cheers.

    As always, thanks Zephyr!

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    1. Thank you Srini! Your comments are always insightful on every blog I read them on. And, I am so happy to read that you agree. I know it is true the reasoning behind the mindset of being left behind that drives parents. Our parents worked hard, and we imbibed the same in us. But, this crazy mania and definition of success is beyond me. As a matter of fact, compared to us our children have many more choices in terms of career even unconventional ones available to them. They why be so hyper?

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  8. Couldn’t agree more with Rachna. I am not a parent yet, but I see parents everywhere forcing their kids to do all those activities that ‘they’ want them to do. The poor kids always have something to do, and look so stressed out that I often wonder if they want to get over their ‘childhood’ soon!

    I have also noticed the other class of parents that you mention – those who are absolutely not involved in their kids’ upbringing. They are so busy in their own lives that there is no space for their kids. Sad situation, that is.

    Parenting is like walking a tightrope between two extremes – over concern and neglect. Bringing up a child is a great responsibility, as much as it is a pleasure, I think. It is no mean feat to bring up a well-adjusted, happy, smart and well-behaved kid today. I can only hope that I do a good job of parenting when I do get to do it in future.

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    1. Thank you The Girl Next Door! Parenting is the toughest job in the world. But, like any other job, one needs to intelligently relook at the methods and choices made. We all make mistakes and learn as we go along the way.

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  9. First time in your blog Zypher through Rachna’s.
    I can’t agree more with your post Rachna. Most stereotyped parenting style! I had the same pressure at school, competition, entrance class, but I had my freedom to choose what I wanted. And today that makes me feel so good. My cousin had enrolled her son on carnatic singing and keyboard, while he was never interested. He said he would just make lip movements, but not actually sing! I was so petrified. Poor kiddo!
    Parents also see the pressure of what other parents are doing to their children. And they wanted to prove that their child is no less to others. There’s this constant comparison at every levels, which I am sure is causing increased stress levels among children.
    I see upbringing a child as a biggest challenge. Donno how I would handle them when I am in such situation! But sure, I would let my child to decide what he/she wants. I will not force my choices to them.

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    1. Thank you Vaish for your comment! And if you go through the comments, you will realize that most of us have experiences like these. So, this is actually a way of living with parents. As you pointed out, it is a game of one upmanship now. My child is no less than yours often stokes the competition.

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  10. Rachna, wonderful post, which has been enriched by the discussion generated. I don’t think that I can add much to it considering that I don’t have children. But I will share my own experience of “child”hood. My mother had a rule. Come rain or sun or exams, my brothers and I had to play outdoors for at least an hour. We didn’t go for any classes and were encouraged to play and study with children in our neighbourhood instead. So we had reading groups and playing groups and let me tell you, it was fun. I was encouraged to go for music classes as i did exhibit the talent for it, but since I did not care for it much that stopped.

    Being busy is good, being occupied is good, being exposed to different activities and meeting different types of children is good. But this should never be at the cost of enjoying childhood. Times have definitely changed, but why should childhood?

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    1. And, your second paragraph sums it beautifully: //Being busy is good, being occupied is good, being exposed to different activities and meeting different types of children is good. But this should never be at the cost of enjoying childhood. Times have definitely changed, but why should childhood?// Why indeed?

      I must tell you that I did put my son for keyboard classes because he asked to join. But, his enthusiasm waned in a couple of months and he asked out. I obliged. Kids are like that. They get bored with things, or they don’t want it anymore. And, they must have the right to not go. Just because learning dance, kathak, bharatnatyam, music seems a nice thing to do, it must not be enforced if the child is not enjoying it or does not have the talent for it. I go by the same rule for my children. And, everyday they have to go to park to play! My husband and I walk everyday so being outdoors is quite normal in my house.

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  11. This was brilliantly written Rachana. The line where you say that nowadays kids might actually be glad to leave their childhood behind them broke my heart. In the quest of making their children super achievers and by pre-selecting the list of activities they should engage and top in, parents deny their children the opportunity to find their passion or calling. The children are so tired of trying to do everything their parents want, that they don’t even have time to think what they really like doing. As you said perfectly, all they need is a bit of fresh air and the freedom to have a free mind. You have written it with so much passion and so much thought. This one has valuable life lessons that parents should imbibe. A wonderful and very important post.

    Zephyr: Loved your introduction of Rachna. Couldn’t agree more.

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    1. Thank you Raj for such warm words! I always love the insight and depth in your comments. Indeed, you have recognized the passion I feel for this issue. Thank you again.

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  12. Pratibha · · Reply

    I know I am late in reading this.
    Honestly, I feel out of place when I tell parents to spend “quantity” time with their children. The parents in return smirk at me.
    I am glad I have spent time with my children,’ doing nothing’. Just doing random things. Today, when they are out of home with their jobs, I cherish those moments, And for sure they also. it is simple fun when they come home. We enjoy playing those games that we played in their childhood.
    Those days of ‘ doing nothing ‘ may have taken away their chance of being super achievers in their class but has certainly made them more human, more compassionate more adjusting… and the list can go on. No, i am not taking credit for it as I did not plan out things. And this ‘ not planning out’ made them humans instead of “robots”.
    Thanks Rachna, for making me feel normal.

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    1. Thank you Pratibha for making me feel normal and sane. I appreciate your comment and what you did as a parent.

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  13. This is a topic in which no generalizations are possible. Sometime I find my colleagues have done so much in their childhood – learnt and instrument, learn a sport while my parents just let me sit on my ass and read Enid Blyton books. Similarly my mom believed in the dictum spare the rod and spoil the child. To her last date she was not sure whether she did right or wrong. Nor am I. On hand I feel I grew up more disciplined. On the other hand I feel that has made me more inhibited in social interactions.

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment, The Fool! I would disagree and say that generalization is indeed possible when it comes to overbearing parents. There is nothing right about this behavior. And, I maintain that kids that thrive in the challenge of learning and doing more must be challenged. But, it cannot be a line taken by all parents for all kids. And, hitting has nothing to do with bringing up disciplined kids. Violence can never be right. I was raised by parents who hardly raised their hand, and I turned out very disciplined. Bad parenting can leave deep scars that even a lifetime cannot heal. I believe in this very strongly. Thank you for sharing your opinion so candidly here.

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  14. Thank you Deepak :). I think the comments are wonderful and more eye opening than the post itself. Thank you for liking it.

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  15. Phew… finally reached the comment box 🙂
    A brilliant dissertation on the sorry state of affairs in parenting today. Indeed hope that the parents realise sooner than later that kids are humans and individuals and should be treated accordingly.

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  16. Set them free…very true, Rachna. I believe in children being just children not some ‘achievers’ in making.

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    1. Thank you Cloud Nine! Apparently that is the toughest thing to do, ain’t it?

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  17. Like Zephyr has mentioned, you are one person who walks your talk. So I take all that you have said. When I marry and have kids I hope to be like you – someone who hasn’t given up her profession, passion, hobbies, causes you believe in and still finds plenty of time for family and friends. 🙂

    If I can be half as good as my parents have been to me, to my kids, I would believe I am a good parent.

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    1. Destiny’s Child, you and I go back a long way and to hear such wonderful things from you makes me feel so cherished. Thank you so much! As much as I accept your compliment with humility, I am just a normal woman with a conscience that questions. I make mistakes and have many flaws, but I am eager to listen and change. Besides, I have wonderful blogger friends who guide and motivate me :).

      I agree that if I am half as good a parent as my parents have been to me, then my kids will turn out just fine.

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  18. Beautiful post, Rachana, And I completely agree with you …I find today’s parents are either over-ambitious or totally indifferent ! Wonder what is the problem in getting genuinely engaged in parenting tasks…?!
    I think, children are our biggest assets, so they should be nurtured and taken care of properly first. Parents who care about their kid’s development, .create an ideal environment that stimulate them to develop into a responsible adults… make contributions to their own family and to society at large end of the day!:)
    Bringing up a child in this “busy” age is no doubt a difficult task but a friendly and optimistic attitude confirms a breakthrough !!
    Lovely article…and Kudos Zephyr for allowing Rachna to use this page so appropriately!

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    1. Thank you Panchaliji for your warm comment. I think it is balance that we are lacking as parents, as wives and husbands and as professionals. Everything is being consumed in this all powerful urge to be successful.

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  19. I agree with everything you say and it saddens me that it all boils down to the stupid rat race. As a person who doesn’t have kids, I don’t really know what it takes or what is right or wrong, but what I do know is I enjoyed my childhood with no tuitions, plenty of playing physically and not virtually and never got into the ratrace. I daresay, we turned out to be perfectly fine and as good as my parents ever wanted me to be! It might just help if parents paused for a minute and think of how well they turned out even if their parents didn’t egg them on in a huge list of activities or prod them to achieve 90+ marks in everything.

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    1. I totally agree, Richa. I have such fond memories of my own childhood. And, my siblings and I turned out so well despite of my parents not pushing us towards anything. Then, how can I deprive my kids of the same joys?

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  20. ..an important issue so sensibly and warmly presented..made a real wonderful read! Thanks a lot! Loved this post!

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    1. Thank you so much, Amit, for such warm words!

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  21. You know, the scenario is so painful, especially in a city like Delhi, where the one-upmanship extends into how brilliant one’s children are. Not to mention unfair – parents try and live out their own dreams through kids. Where is the scope of the childrens’ dreams then? I have a nine year old and a four year old. Both are quite a handful, but like someone mentioned here, the laughter and the joy of being a child is so precious!! Lovely post, ofcourse!

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    1. Nirvana, I see this phenomenon everywhere. There is so much snob value attached that when mothers meet, they start immediately showing off how brilliant their child is and what medals they have won. There is a huge competition, a certain madness prevailing among parents. We have a problem of heaping our lofty ambitions on our kids. Of course, as a parent I want my child to do well in life. But, going crazy in the bargain and driving the child nuts is hardly going to achieve that. On the contrary, the child will wilt under the intense pressure.

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  22. You’ve captured the stereotypical parent behaviour so well. There was a similar post on the NRI too, where someone had posted about the typical Indian tiger parenting. Helicopter or tiger, at the end of the day, its the children who take the burden on their shoulders. Children should be encouraged to try their hand at what they like and truly enjoy. As it is, they end up studying and choosing a career field too early in their lives when they don’t even know one from the other, some go on to enjoy it most dont and change their fields. The least parents can do is let them pick activities that distract them from pressures of schools and exams and let them be.

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    1. Thank you Deepa! I believe that Indian kids were still excelling when we were growing up, and we were much more relaxed. Then why the panic when things have moved in a better direction in terms of technological progress. I believe parents have become super ambitious and somehow see the kids as being their own reflection. Thus failures hit them hard, and it is taken out on the child.

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  23. Hi Rachna

    Super Dooper Post…A one-tight-slap to all those who are going absolutely bonkers in the name of parenting…

    I recently read somewhere in a similar article about two boys in some metro who are siblings and stay in the same house yet get to see each other for only two hours or so in the whole week due to the different schedules they have! Phew!!

    I have seen so many parents going crazy about classes and competition…Children do not get the time to discover the world on their own and marvel about its wonders….They become like a recording machine meant to absorb all thats thrust in their direction…In this aspet some countries in the West seem to have a much better approach. High time we learnt!

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    1. Thank you so much, Jeyashree! Yes, the learning methodology in the West is more sound at least in the initial years. Here, we just keep pushing kids to do more.

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  24. A happy childhood is the least we can do for our children. It’s not a duty but a cherished bond.

    And I am dead against parents who pamper their kids silly and can’t say no to them.

    Good post, Rachna.

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    1. Thank you Purba! I agree.

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  25. nice post, Rachna, this is some thing i too feel very strongly about and face every single day….. because my son is among the very few kids in the school who goes to the least number of extra classes!!! in fact, he only goes for athletics and gymnastics, that too since he enjoys them and wants to go. lots of ppl ask me why i havent put him for x or y or z classses, and i have always told them that i want him to enjoy his childhood now…. but yesterday, i heard an interesting point of view from another parent… she asked me if i wanted to send him for a particular math class which is very popular, and apparently he is the only one in the whole section who doesnt go for the class…and as usual i said no.. she seemed stunned for a moment… took a moment .. and then said, “Oh, but u are a south indian. your son will have ur brains too, so he can manage even without extra classes…we cant” i was completely taken aback to hear this, and tried to assure her that it was nothing like that, but she was obviously convinced, so, as usual.. i gave up trying to get my point of view acrosss….but these parents honestly think that their child will miss out if they dont attend all those classes!!!

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    1. Anu, here I would like to tell you, that the moms who used to hang around the school gates waiting for their children to bring in new, new projects were all super smart brilliant south Indian moms,(my husband, my children used to call them smart madrasis) These smart madrasis wanted their children to be smarter then them. It used to be a crazy gang of such mothers plotting and planning their children’s future, not having a clue as to what really their kids were interested. I was the only madrasi who stood away from this gang.
      The north Indian friends I had were very good, they themselves would teach their kids at home.
      Maybe now the situation has changed.

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      1. Thank you for sharing your experiences, Anu and Rama! Well, I’ve seen that this phenomena thrives in people across the board. North Indian or South Indian, we are one in this madness. It is rare that I come across a parent who says it is fine, let the child be. Most parents are so hyper about every small event, competition and class they want to put their child into. And, I must admit that sometimes all this gets on to me.

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  26. I was discussing this with my wife yesterday. Why to make the child go through something he does not likes? Why put undue pressure on him? It is crazy what the children go through nowadays.
    Also, I hate the whole idea of summer camps and activity classes during holidays. Isn’t the child supposed to relax a bit? Its ok if he is really interested in something but most of the parents do not understand this. The child is a horse and they are jockeys.

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    1. Thank you Amit for talking about it. If more parents raise this issue, then we will be conscious about our own behavior! //The child is a horse and they are jockeys.// Very aptly worded!

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  27. Stands up and applauds loudly

    I loved this post Rachna…so so so true, I kept nodding my head so much that the neck is hurting now 🙂 but seriously, I think this is a post EVERY parent needs to read!!

    @Zephyr – Thanks for hosting Rachna, we all learnt our bit of parenting today 🙂

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    1. Thank you R’s Mom for your unadulterated encouragement! It really makes me feel so happy to come across so many like-minded parents here. I can’t thank Zephyr enough.

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  28. Bang on! Somehow, we always tend to blame the education system for all the pressures that a child goes through today in the name of education… but I think, parents are equally to blame for all the ‘rote learning and scoring’ that is prevalent in these times. It would be so nice if children were only encouraged and not forced into doing things which would nurture their creativity and help them grow into bright individuals with a unique gifted personality of their own.

    Kudos to Rachna for this thought provoking post raising a very serious issue plaguing our society of today and thank you very much Zephyr for featuring it here. 🙂

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    1. Arti, you are bang on with your observation. Yes, we blame the education system, the exams, the teachers, everyone except look within ourselves why something related to our kids are going wrong. If anything, I can fight with my child’s teacher or even go to the Principal with my point of view today and still can expect to see changes. This was not so in our student days when we could not question our teachers or their teaching methods. Many times the teachers are constantly harassed by parents to “challenge” the child more. Like hawks, they are there to interfere in every minor detail. Thank you so much Arti for liking the post and for sharing your views.

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  29. Hi Rachna! Well, I am 4 years out of college, and I look back to see that schooling, exams and competitions were a nightmare for me. I was always expected to do well, but everytime I sat down to study, my mind used to wander. I have a an imagination that often goes astray, and I loved my time in the world, where I used to get lost without a worry.

    I wish I’d done something about that crazy imagination, and seemingly innocent but bright ideas! I don’t believe that a child is given that chance anymore, with all the pressure that is brought down on them. With all those competitive exams that they need to prepare for (brrr, cold shivers when I think of those), they’re weighed down.

    I wish parents would let their children expand their horizon, like they want to. Not like their parents want them to. Unfortunately, due to various reasons, pressure from the society being one of them, things will not change anytime soon.

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    1. Hi Pzes! Thank you for sharing your perspective from the point of view of a student who has undergone the grind. Isn’t it so sad that we recognize the importance of creativity and freedom in learning and yet are unable to do something about it? Things might not change completely soon, but I will continue to fight for the sake of my children. I will fight with the teachers and my fellow parents who want to enforce their ideas of factory-produced robots instead of children. I will continue to raise my voice for the innocent children who will never get a chance at innocence. I hope more among us find that will within them!

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  30. I think Rachna has a good point. Parents should not live their ambitions through the kids. Instead children ought to be able to find their own way, find out what they want in life, without pressure from parents or society. But of course it’s a balance between wanting the best for your kids and pressuring them into doing something they don’t want to do.

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    1. Thank you so much, munchow! As you rightly said, it is a balance between wanting the best for your kids yet giving them the space and freedom to achieve their best.

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  31. Rachna, there could be no mom who will say, “I don’t agree to this”. As you always say, yes, parenting is a big challenge. I so agree with you. I myself have seen so many super moms who want their kids to participate in all the activities..esp, the soccer moms…for some reason, I can never be one of them..I will give a small self experience here. I was talking to a friend of ours ( both the parents are competitive) on the phone asks me: Did your son get the so and so award at school?Both our kids go to the same school. For a moment, I did not know if I should declare my ignorance that I knew nothing of that award or pretend that no, he didn’t. The usual self I am, I say: Hmm..I don’t even know there is something like that. And for the capabilities my son has, I don’t even think he will be anywhere near to get the award. Then she goes, ahh!! My daughter didn’t get it this year and am so disturbed. Poor thing, what can the kid do for that? if I compare them to my son, their kids do their own homework without any pushing, reading, maths. Still, why are the parents not happy that kids save them that trouble? In any party I go, moms who see me after a long time, after first few questions, the rapid fire begins. Oh, what classes is Rishi going to right now? Oh, nothing. I am sending my kid to this,, that and the endless lists..
    The helicopter parents..hahaha..I was self introspecting and I felt am definitely not one of them. yet, i fall somewhere in between, harassing my son to do his chores on time. As parents, we are in the process of self realisation that this is only what he can do and don’t push him beyond that. Being a sports person, hubby always feel bad that my son doesn’t do great in sports. All I say, join him, he needs to know how to play and talk about the sport and not be left out of the crowd. But don’t expect him to be a sports star.
    My hubby’s friends have only one son and spend their entire time playing games with him and engaging him. I learnt a lot from them. give more of your time to the kids. My son doesn’t have many friends in this city or apartment and kills his time on the ipad playing games which I hate. and he is in that alien world all the time. They are our example and we have decided to see how we can entertain him and bring him out of the alien world. That’s the reason I gave up my classes for a while. We will get there. I am positive. Sorry for taking a huge chunk of the space. Felt like sharing my experience.
    Thank you Zephyr for having Rachna’s post.

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    1. Absolutely loved your comment, Latha! I can relate to your experience too. I’ve faced this umpteen times when I was asked why my son wasn’t going to so-and-so class. There was a parent who was waking up her child at 5 am to send him to a horse-riding class which was held quite a distance away from our place. I mean horse-riding??? Then, there was this super achiever mom who was a part of the organizing committee who held competitions so that he kids could win them. I am not exaggerating! She actually supervised a silly drawing competition. She even redid the drawing herself for her child. What is the matter with these parents? It fails me. And, they are pretty proud of it too. When I speak to her kids, they feel like adults to me not smiling or communicating like normal kids but having a very mature, studious feel about them all at 8 years! For my younger son, I faced so much trouble with teachers pressuring him and me in kindergarten that he could not read/write to the level of the class! I’ve seen my poor baby cry and refuse to go to school because the teacher was getting angry at him, this when he was 3! I went to the teacher and told her what her behavior was doing to a young child. I told her to smarten her act or I will approach the Principal. That was when she modified her attitude. Other parents pooh-poohed and give their sympathy! But, I held my head high. In every class, I was the one telling the teacher to let him be and learn at his own pace. He is such a bright, sensitive and observant child and so happy too. I don’t want that stifled at any cost. And, now finally he has teachers who treasure him for his own skills. Sometimes, parents have to fight battles for their kids in this over competitive world.

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      1. You are my role model mom. Oh, I can write a book about my son’s stories…:(. I learnt to stand up for him and say he’s normal. He’s already tagged with all the disorders available out there in the market.

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    2. It was a pleasure to have Rachna here. I knew she would have something to say which the younger generation would identify with. See the advantage of having a younger friend who shares your own views? 🙂

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  32. Well, you said it. As parents we have their good at heart but it does not always mean good 😦

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    1. Thank you Ghazala for your comment! Well, it is time we looked within ourselves and actually introspected whether this is really “good” for our children — this crazy obsession with achievement.

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  33. wonderful post Rachna. I remember the time my 4 yr old son flunked in his hindi class test and the same day I flunked my driving test. He was surprised to see me smiling even thought I had “failed” . There were a few lessons learnt that day 🙂 More than a genius I want to raise happy kids who would grow up into responsible citizens …

    And Zephyr you have a great blog here !

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    1. See this is what I say about children imbibing what they see their parents do compared to what they hear. Kudos to you for doing that. When parents overreact over every small failure, show frustration and judge the child, how can the child take things normally? Failure would be very hard to handle for such kids. I share your views on parenting. Thank you for liking the post.

      Like

    2. Thank you Tangy Tomato for appreciating my blog. Do I have a new friend then? 🙂 Come again!

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  34. we see grown up people who always seek approval and cannot take a decision without a little help.

    being a bachelor, i wouldn’t understand all the aspects of parenthood but what i see, even in a small town like mine, is that life has become more of an activity. kids are not allowed to live their lives the way the should.

    i still have fond memories of my childhood. it was a fun thing being a kid. but may be it’s something which is not possible in today’s world.

    very well written post Rachna!!

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    1. Thank you so much Deb! Indeed, the world has become very competitive and not such a fun place anymore for children. I have some great memories of my childhood as well.

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  35. Mom, it was a nice post and surely you do what you preach to others:).

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    1. Hey, it is lovely to see you here Sid. And it is precisely because you mother does what she preaches to others, I asked her to do this guest post for me. What is your blog url? Do send it to me so I will start following you too 🙂

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    2. How nice to see you here, Siddhu :). Who better to hear it from than my own wonderful son! Zephyr, this is his blog link: http://mymysteriousmusings.blogspot.in

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  36. Rachna,

    An eye opener factual post. I sincerely hope over ambitious parents read this and stop pressuring their children. All children need to be given space and choose their own career. Parents can guide them but not impose their will.

    Take care

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    1. Thank you very much, Jack! I am glad you liked the post.

      Like

    2. Nice to have you here Jack! Do visit again 🙂

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  37. Zephyr, did you change something about the comment box here? There was no problem for me to post my comment today. 🙂

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    1. No, I didn’t do anything and I am so glad you can post comments easily. You know why, don’t you? 😀

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  38. What a thought-provoking post! And many thought-provoking comments, too!

    I quite agree with what you’ve written. Too much structured activity time, too much pressure to excel and what will be the result? Children who cannot think creatively or ‘out of the box’.

    The pressure to excel may have another undesirable effect. Children may begin to feel that competition is more important than co-operation. Each one looking out for him/herself does not lead to a healthy society…..

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    1. And you make a very valid point, Manju. Since everyone is competing, there is more jealousy and one-upmanship than appreciation and graceful cooperation. Is it any wonder that we have more sore losers these days? I wish that we could teach our kids to accept defeat as easily as victory. Now, that would set them up beautifully for life.

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  39. Jane Healy · · Reply

    When my children were born I made a concious decision to let them be kids. We were living in Hong Kong at the time and I was held up as quite a freak for not ‘hot-housing’ them before they started school. When they started school neither of them could read or write, but they were socialised , had good a good vocabulary and had so much more confidence than alot of their peers.

    The first parents night we went to at school a woman in the group said that she had heard that one child in the class couldn’t read or write yet (he was all of five years old!) and she hoped that he wasn’t sitting next to her little genius holding him back because some parents hadn’t taken their social responsibilities seriously enough. I just shrugged and said quite calmly that I hadn’t learned to read or write until I started school and had managed to master all the skills within a year – I was sure my son would manage. The teacher agreed that there would be no problem. Several years later I met that woman again at a cocktail party – my son had just started at Cambridge university having been through the State school system in this country; her son (who had been to Harrow – the second most expensive school in the country) hadn’t gone on to university because he didn’t get the required grades.

    I know this sounds a little self-congratulatory it’s not meant to be – I believe very strongly that kids should be allowed to be kids and that all this pressure is not good for them. My children didn’t do heaps of after-school activities, Brownies and Cubs one evening a week and sports clubs at the weekend – most of the time all they wanted to do when they got home was unwind by playing on the field or just sitting down with me to listen to a story.

    When my daughter started school she wrote a story using dots and dashes, her teacher asked her what it was all about – she asked her teacher why she couldn’t read morse code (none of the hot-housed kids even knew what morse code was) At the end of the first year her teacher singled her out as the brightest child in the class and used all of her work as examples of how important it is to allow your children to be children. Enquiring minds are all that is required when they first arrive at school. My daugther graduated last year from Trinity College in Dublin with an MA in English and Classics so I can state with authority that delaying teaching your kids to read or write until they are 5 or 6 is not a delay at all – rather you are giving them the opportunity to develop other skills whch will serve them throughout their lives.

    I apologise for hogging so much space here but this is a subject I am passionate about. Well posted Rachna.

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    1. Jane, Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us. It is an eye opener for someone like me. I made my hubby read it because I was so touched and so was he. We need to know more people like you and their stories in this world gone awry. I have heard many stories about your daughter from you. And, I admire you for the person you are, so positive and full of life and such a good mom to your kids! Thanks again!

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    2. Thank you Jane for sharing your experiences. They certainly would serve to open at least a few eyes. In India, when we were growing up, there were no kindergartens and we had play schools which were just that. No reading or writing, but having loads of fun playing games and singing and dancing. My sons went to such schools too but by then the KG system had started though they were pretty laid back and not as demanding as today’s KG classes. The younger one never excelled academically but the teachers — the real ones — assured me that he was more intelligent than the first rank holders in the class. Both have done wonderfully well in life and I am glad I didn’t throttle their childhood too just as you didn’t 🙂

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  40. //It is not possible to rebuild the relationship in their teenage years. There is no greater joy than to raise a well-mannered, loving child, who need not necessarily be a genius//

    If they are genius, it will find its way of showing up. But making them enjoy life, and feel their responsibilities and freedom, takes a lifetime!

    Loved the post Rachana.Wonderful , heartfelt and thought provoking post. Hope many young parents get to read this.

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    1. Thank you Pattu! Exactly, if they are geniuses, they will thank us because we allowed them the freedom to cultivate that genius. If they are not, that ought to be fine as well. Are we only aiming at raising achievers? How will they get through life if they don’t get the other skills and an open and free mind? Thank you so much for liking the post.

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  41. Being a teacher since 1999, have seen more than a generation of children grow up! Children merely reflect society and the adult world they live in! It amazes me when parents wonder why their child is growing up so fast, when the answer is right in front of their eyes! Alas, for parents who are reflective and conscious, it is a tough challenge to preserve that child in their child… in a world of helicopter and negligent adults, rapidly changing values in society and greed and discrimination fast competing with the beauties of life!

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    1. Abhimanyu, thank you so much for sharing your experience as a teacher. I am sure you have seen the change in parents’ attitudes and the increasing pressures on children from very close quarters. Yes, we all nod our heads over declining values in children yet never once pause and look within us.

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  42. Great post and I couldn’t agree with you more there. yes, its true and sad to know that most children today live a very stressful life. Stressed not because of the classes they attend but because of parental pressure.

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    1. Thank you so much, Haricharah for your comment. I feel very sad for the kids myself.

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  43. Rachna, LOVE this post. Also the comments others have left here. I think childhood is definitely different than even when I was a kid. My siblings and I, we were so relaxed, had so much wonderful free time to play outside, were encouraged to read, draw, build, just to simply play and childhood was carefree and happy. We were of course also taught but we were not made to do stressful things or rush around.

    I have a lot of opinions as well about how children are being examined and judged by health nurses, pre school teachers, everyone really. They are pushed so hard at such a young age to be like everyone else and I fear that children’s precious individuality is being stolen from them in this mad quest to have “superkids”.

    A child’s worth does not depend on how smart they are, how accomplished, or what they can do. Just let them be…

    You are great Rachna! Thanks for this post!!

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    1. Colleen, thank you for your lovely comment and for your encouragement! You know how much I relate to you even though we are separated by continents :). You are a wonderful mother! And, you have so much to share about society and life. I do love your posts and the special bond that we share! Just let them be… Such wise words!

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  44. Rachna, now you’ve gone and done it! You better get yourself police protection girl, because the army of Super Moms is growing by leaps and bounds in this country. I’m not a Mom, but as a person who has worked with children and teenagers, I begin to wonder what standard the parents are trying to live up to? Who is constantly raising the bar for them that they feel such a need have their children excel at everything. Just two days ago, I watched a mom hover over the hairstylist (in our days the barber would do!) as he cut the hair of her two kids – 7 and 4 years old! I was wondering what message she was conveying to her kids. In our times all our moms worried about were that we were neatly dressed and clean and our hair was manageable. But here already a little girl is being taught to preen and focus so much on her hair – isn’t there time enough for that?
    Your post is a very strong message coming from a Mom with young kids and I’m so proud of you for writing this and thank Zephyr for inviting you to do so. ♥

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    1. I was apprehensive, Corinne, of sounding harsh and judgmental. But, Zephyr provided me the support to go right ahead. I know of the supermoms or Tiger moms that you are talking about. I see loads of them around me. I have even had doubts that I was loony for being so laid back, and I got my spells of hyperness too. I wonder the same things as you mentioned. Who says that kids have to excel at everything? I am so thankful for your warm words of encouragement. All the stories shared here mean so much to me and to other parents like me.

      I am grateful to Zephyr for giving me her illustrious space to voice my views and for her support as well.

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      1. Have you read Tiger mom by Amy Chua ,Corinne ,Rachna? It is a must read for all parents.

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        1. I’ve heard loads about it and excerpts but haven’t read the book yet! I am afraid to pick it up, Sharmila.

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  45. I am amused when stay at home mothers accuse working mothers of being unable to spend ‘quantity’ time and working mothers countering these allegations by saying something about ‘quality’ time being more important.
    Rachna you are bang on with this post.
    Let me tell you about something that happened last Saturday at my clinic.After cancelling three appointments,a mother finally brought in her son .Treatment over,I requested them to take the next appointment from the reception between 930am-530pm (my working hours) After much discussion with the child and the mother,my receptionist gave up and came to me with the child’s timetable that looked like this:-
    Monday to Friday school till 3pm,
    Monday-Wed-Friday—3.30pm-5.30pm,Physics tuitions ( child is weak in the subject)
    Thursday-Saturday—–3.30-5.30pm,Math tuitions
    Tuesday-Saturday——5.30pm-7.30pm,Chemistry/Biology
    Monday-Thursday——-7pm-8.30pm,Hindi
    Wednesday-Friday——7pm-9pm ,Technical Drawing
    Tuesday——————-3.30pm-5.30pm, English
    Saturday——————-8.30am-11.30am-Basketball
    1pm -3pm Guitar
    There was no way he could be accommodated during my working hours.Mother suggested that I open my clinic for such students on Sundays too! It was insane!Every single day for all subjects he has classes and he hops from one to another to come back home at 9pm.
    I felt mera beta toh beta, uski maa bhi veli hai ekdam !Hamare paas toh waqt hi waqt hai ..
    I still teach both my children ,so what if we have less hair on our scalps in the process.
    Sorry for the long comment Zephyr,but I had to share this….I can not get over the guy’s busy schedule.

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    1. He is not the only one, Sharmila. There are thousands like him and they start much younger. And the thing to be noted is that such children don’t always clear their exams with good marks. If they do, it is not due to the tuition but because they might be good students.

      So, did you open your clinic on Sundays? 😛

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      1. Wow, Sharmila! I am glad that you shared this. It shows the extent to which parenting has gone wrong these days. I am sure there is a lesson in that schedule for all the parents who read this comment. I am grateful that you shared this experience for our benefit. And hats off to parents like you who are maintaining a beautiful work-life balance! I agree with the less hair bit coming as it does with my experience of teaching and spending lots of time with both my naughty sons ;-).

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      2. No way! Day reserved for Laziness 😀

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  46. G.N. Balakrishnan · · Reply

    What a wonderful, vivid and true to life portrayal of the pitiable condition of the present generation of students. They are being unceremoniously being pushed to the wall and if still, they succeed, the are prodded on further. If they do not make the grade, the parents throw up their hands in despair and make the child much more miserable. My heart felt sympathies for these hapless kids.

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    1. Thank you G.N. Balakrishnan for connecting with the post. You have aptly brought out the stress faced by kids today.

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  47. Brilliant post, Rachna! Children these days anyway have tough competition out there in the outside world. They can do without having to ‘earn’ parental love by trying to fulfill their ambitions. There is definitely a thin line between recognising the child’s potential and then pushing the child to do better in that area and simply enrolling the child in various activities in the hope of all-round development.
    Interestingly, I read an article on similar lines in today’s magazine section of the Deccan Herald.
    http://www.deccanherald.com/content/267661/like-parents-like-children.html

    and thanks to you, I got introduced to Cybernag 🙂

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    1. Thank you so much, Uma! And, you are absolutely right! Do kids now have to “earn” their parents love? Wasn’t something so basic unconditional? I agree wholeheartedly that activities must be tailored around the child’s aptitude and interests. When I see the tired and dull kids of today, I feel really really sorry.

      Yes, Zephyr has an amazing blog. I hope you come back and read more here. Like I said, I learn from each post of hers.

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      1. Thank you Rachna, for your appreciation. It means a lot to me and you know why 🙂

        @Uma, do visit again!

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        1. Where has the cute pic with belan gone?

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          1. When I comment on the blog, it disappears due to some setting. That’s why I reply from my dashboard 🙂 Enjoy!

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  48. Raising a child is no easy job…. but it is so important for parents to responsibly and sensibly bring up children, so they turn into confident and good-hearted adults. Most people don’t have a clue as to how to bring up their kids well, though.

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    1. Thank you Ash! Indeed, bringing up a child is the toughest thing in the world. And, we need to give it serious thought and learn along the way.

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  49. A super-duper post-it should be dinned into all parents’ ears…i see children all around me being hounded from one activity to another & am i glad that my children had a normal childhood!
    No wonder depression,crime & disconnect are manifesting in younger age by the day!We don’t give them time , space & thoughtful care.

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    1. Thank you so much, Indu! And, I am glad that we still have balanced parents like you in our midst.

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  50. True, Rachna the innocence, the masti and the bholapan…all have gone . I often smile at children in a lift or a playground and they give me that look,”don’t mess with me…or keep distance.” A picture of the times we live in.

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    1. You are right, Alka. They are growing up too fast and doing and saying things appropriate for much older people. It is sad this loss of innocence.

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  51. A very heart felt post Rachna. I am sure every parent will connect to it. I have seen many parents around me who want to have super kids and I can totally relate to that bit about colony competitions. I have seen myself swept away with the wave too at some points but thankfully I have realized that the right point of starting is to treat your child as an individual and not someone on remote control.

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    1. And, you know what Jas, sometimes I have my moments of darkness too when I wonder if what I am doing is right. Thank you all for reiterating my faith in letting my children stay kids. I thank everyone for sharing their positive experiences with all of us to learn from. Thank you so much for connecting with it.

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  52. As a person who is yearning to have a child..I really wonder why people who have children think it is a burden to raise a child. I have seen so many examples of badly behaved children who will cry at the drop of a hat if his/her wishes are not fulfilled. Parents sometimes make the grave mistake of giving in to the child’s demand to absolve themselves of their guilt of not being able to give sufficient time. Every child is talented in his own way and putting pressure on the child to excel just gives them undue stress at a young age which manifests in different ways..

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    1. And, I agree with you Lazy Pineapple. Alas, this gift of life is not fully appreciated in this rat race called life. Badly behaved children are a reflection on the parents who did not heed the signs and did nothing to mend their own behavior as well as the child’s. Every child is special, and I say this from experience. I have two sons who are like chalk and cheese; and I cherish them for what they are. Thank you for your wonderful comment, Lazy Pineapple.

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  53. Rachna, you have broached a subject which has far reaching consequences on the future of humanity. In our morbid obsession to metamorphose our children into superkids, we are taking away the joy, happiness, carefree moments and childlike emotions from them. These robots are going to make for a very very grim world tomorrow. It was a much needed post and I request you to keep writing timely reminders too. Thanks to your post, I have asked my daughters to have fun today and also decided to take them to a theatre playing ‘Ice Age 4′!

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    1. Thank you so much, Umashankar, for your unbridled encouragement. I was a little apprehensive about writing this post due to the fear of it seeming harsh or judgmental. I must admit that I am a parent with many flaws, and I learn through others and experiences daily. I just hope that parents of our generation take a step back, slow down and really think how we are raising our kids. I see so many of the types that I described that I positively feel dismayed. Glad that your daughters are watching “Ice Age 4” today. My sons will get to see it next weekend :). Thank you for your wonderful comment.

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  54. great read. it does not end with allowing your children space to be who they are instead of thrusting your aspirations and strategies on them. parents also need to reflect on the message they are sending out with their lifestyles and behavior. it is complex, since in the race to maintain the life that one creates, most families today end up devoting huge bandwidth to appearances and affluence, usually at the cost of relationships and time with the family. children see this and learn this.

    i believe sensible parenting is one of the most important weapons we have to fight the moral and cultural degeneration we are witnessing. sadly, it will fall on its face if parents do not walk the talk.

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    1. Thank you Subhorup! And how right you are. I agree that kids learn first at home and then elsewhere, and they imbibe what they see and not what they hear. So, we find undesirable traits running through generations. Thus parents have a greater responsibility towards right conduct so that their kids inculcate what is right. For that, they need to have more time to talk to each other, to the kids and discuss things. Relationships need hard work. Most of us are not willing to give that time. Also, qualities and habits imbibed in childhood define our core and how we turn out to be as people later. That is why I said that bridges once burnt cannot be rebuilt later. Time lost in the childhood cannot be made up later. Parenting is among the toughest jobs in the world. Hope, more of us pay more attention to it. Thank you for you insightful comment.

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  55. I agree with everything you have written Rachna. I remember, the days when super intelligent, smart moms would be waiting outside the school gates discussing the school projects given to their children, discussing which coaching classes were the best in town, or which was the best summer class for art, fart etc., they could enroll their children during the vacation etc., etc.
    I always told my children to do what they wanted to do, and they always acted responsibly, and they had their fun too. Yes even if parents don’t add pressure to their kids, the school definitely does, so all one can do as parents is to just leave the kids alone and not add more pressure to their lives.
    Both my children have done well in their lives despite the pressures of school and are successful in their respective lines.
    When I hear them say they have cool parents, I feel we have done our duty in bringing up our children well.
    Now a days we see our maids too are forced to send their kids for tuition right from 4/5 standards, paying hefty fees, not only for the extra coaching but also to the school too. And my maid says that her children want to choose the tuition class they want to join, that is they want to join the most expensive tuition class, and at the end they get barely pass mark after all the trouble. Now I see her going through this cycle again and again with the other son too. And as one joins college, the demand for mobile phones, new fashionable dress, and shoes too keep piling up, the demands from these children are never ending. And the saddest part is that my maid feels proud, she can somehow fulfill all her children’s desire. What do you have to say for that?
    Thanks,Zephyr for featuring this blog of Rachna.

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    1. You are welcome Ramananth. I love Rachna’s style of sparing no one 🙂 You are wise to have realised that children do well when left to themselves. My own boys have done that too. I was a ‘pathetic’ mother by today’s standards since I would let them collect rocks and quotes instead of sending them to art and music classes and let them play for hours before coming home sweaty but happy. When school tries to pressure the parents, they should stand up and say that they are happy if their child gets 60% but enjoys being a child. Thanks for sharing your views. Come again 🙂

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      1. Rama, you know how much I relate to you when it comes to parenting matters. I quite admire the way you lead your life, and the way you brought up your kids. I am an even more pathetic mom by today’s standards, Zephyr! I cook myself, never had a babysitter, teach my kids, tell them to make their own projects or provide them very little help. I discuss dangerous topics like sexual abuse with them. God Bless, Aamir for providing me the much needed impetus. About classes, you may want to read what I wrote to KP sir. Thank you for your lovely comment and for sharing your own experience with us.

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  56. This one carries the unmistakable Rachna punch all right! To create fun and laugh with the children takes time and energy and of course the desire. I have seen many parents, especially the mothers treat their children like toys who do what you make them do and not show dissent or their own inclinations. For these parents the children are there to make THEM happy and so are treated as little individuals with a mind of their own. I am not advocating the practice of bowing to all the whims and fancies of kids, but where some things, like classes for instance are concerned, isn’t it wiser to find out from the child if he or she is really enjoying it? What is the point in forcing a child to do something that makes him miserable and stressed out?

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    1. And, thank you Zephyr for your blog to write this heartfelt post. It is truly an honor for me. You have given a beautiful synopsis of what I wanted to say.

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      1. And, thank you so much for the warm words you wrote for me. I truly treasure them!

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  57. Zephyr this post like all other ones provides food for thought and what better than Rachna to write on this sensitive subject! The parents of today have really got so entangled in the rat race today that they treat their children as a part of race to push them! If you look world over only those children who had unhindered growth in childhood are the ones who excel in real life, be it Bill Gates, Steve Jobs ,Lal Bahadur Shastri, or others anywhere in the world!

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    1. “Unhindered growth” or growth peppered with appropriate activities is what I aim for. Thank you for your lovely words, Rahul. Balance is such a tough thing, and often we as parents just get sucked into all the competition we see around us no matter how noble our intentions.

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  58. While I broadly agree with Rachna that parental aspirations and impositions should not smother the natural instincts and aptitudes of the kids,one cannot deny the fact that a boy or girl these days know far more,have extensive knowledge on wide ranging subjects and have fire in the belly unlike the laid back attitude of kids a few decades back with limited knowledge on a few subjects.
    I feel the method of education should kindle the interests of the children in the subjects they have an aptitude for..At the same time a balance between pragmatism and the natural urges.is a responsibility that parents cannot abdicate

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    1. Absolutely, KP sir, and I could not have said any better. Put the aptitude and desires of kids in the spotlight. If they flourish and thrive in learning more, go ahead. Don’t do it because you want it for them whether they can cope or not. Do it because they want it. Yes, today’s kids are brighter and more knowledgeable. My son amazes me with his reading skills and vocabulary at this age. I regularly get him more challenging puzzles, Nat Geo books, Tell Me Whys because he loves them. His teacher gives him more challenging projects to do because she knows he is capable of doing them. But, for my younger son, I don’t do all that. He enjoys drawing and coloring activities. He loves singing and dancing. So, their aptitudes are different and so are their activities. Most of these are done at school. So, where is the need for me to put them into additional classes when they are coming home by 3.30 pm. They just go out to the playground to play or cycle. And, I teach them personally.I don’t care if they are not Einsteins. I am happy that they are happy, loving kids.

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  59. Thanks, Rachna for once again hitting the nail on the head! It seems that I have, unfortunately, seen both sides of the spectrum…parents who are typical helicopter parents who spend their entire weekend shuttling their kids from one class to another and hovering around them anxiously at all times, and other parents, who keep pushing their kids into classes and playdates just so they do not have to deal with them by themselves.
    One wonders about whether these parents actually wanted to have kids or had them just for the sake of pleasing society or family! Where is the pleasure of seeing a child play and laugh and where is the delight and honor of being a child’s first and foremost confidante?!
    I pity these parents who do not know what they are missing!!

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    1. Thank you so much, bigalittlemom! Indeed, I have seen many parents of both these types as well. I appreciate that parents in my generation are better read and more informed, but some of them are really taking it to the extremes. In India, it seems like we end up having kids because others want us to have them or because of family or society pressures, as you rightly pointed out. How many of us know and understand the responsibilities of having a child?

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  60. As a bachelor, I cannot help only wondering about whether spending time with your child is not fun. I find that grand-moms and grand-dads talk of fun with their grand-children but even where anyone writes of the need to spend time with one’s children it is represented more as a chore/duty/responsibility and does not bemoan the fun that they are missing out on by not spending time with their children. Does feeling responsible for a child’s welfare have to kill all the fun in the relationship for the parent?

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    1. Suresh, you make such a valid point about missing out on the fun. We, parents of today, have so many more activities to engage us. Unfortunately, spending time with kids though joyful requires a lot of energy, time and involvement. Most parents are too tired or have too many other things to do to devote that time. It ends up becoming a chore. And, kids are really high energy. They can play for hours on end and have huge demands on you. Sometimes, the work-life balance that the parents strive hard to maintain leads towards this. My mother was very satisfied being at home and being completely involved in the home affairs. She felt fulfilled that way. I, on the other hand, want to work professionally and have many other interests and hobbies that are time consuming. So, I have to consciously make an effort to give the kids the time they require and deserve.

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  61. heart felt and a very thoughtful post ! I especially loved the line – There is no greater joy than to raise a well-mannered, loving child, who need not necessarily be a genius. So right. Hope the message resonates loud and clear

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    1. Thank you Priya! I am so glad that you could connect with the message.

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  62. I learnt this was the wrong way to bring up kids. As I stay away from my home town, every year during summer holidays I visit my home town. And I used to enroll my kids in the summer camps….but, I soon realized that we were losing on our quality time. Instead of enjoying our vacation, I was dragging them from one class to another.
    Of course, my kids are TV buffs, but I keep urging them to go down and play, even if it means on compromising on their study time.
    Nice reminder though. Brilliant Post!

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    1. Thank you, Janu! I am glad that you could connect. I also put my kids in summer camps, but they are short duration ones with fun activities like painting, drawing, singing etc. The camp I choose is run by a child psychologist, and I saw my younger son actually missing it once it was over. I think these are the kind of activities that we must try to engage them in where they are having fun. Mine are not going to any after hours classes, and my evening time is totally for them. I ensure that I finish my professional work to give them time. It is this interaction with them that is so rewarding.

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