Childhood Gone Amiss Or Children Gone Amiss?
Children learn early, they learn from their surroundings. In a way, they are a reflection what’s happening around them. It becomes really important to pay attention to what they’re picking up and from where. The job of a parent is to not dodge questions but to help them grow through learnings at every level, would you agree?
Here’s a piece written on parenting and children by our very own Chief Commercial Officer, Deepti Beri. Have these questions raised by her crossed your mind too?
A few days back, my 7.5-year-old daughter asked me a riddle, “Fill up the blank. In the school, I was walking past different classes of Grade 2, Sec A, Sec B _____ and Sec D.” I was about to say Sec C and she smiled at me. I asked her, where she learnt this riddle from to which she replied that a boy from Grade 3, who she plays with, had asked her this riddle and she was trapped to say, Sec C.
My next question to her was, “Just like you ask me these riddles, does he also ask his parents?” She didn’t think he did or does, he only aims to trick other children. Later that evening, she asked the same riddle to my husband. He had a great laugh, but I am not sure if I did (really).
One of my bedtime conversations with my daughter ended up with her describing a TV program that the girl had a BF. I asked what a BF is, she told me it stands for 'Boyfriend' but she is not supposed to say that word. When I enquired why not, she said many kids in her class said that because they are really young, they can’t use this word as it is a bad word for 7-8-year-olds. Even the teacher doesn’t think it’s a good word.
I had to make her understand that it’s absolutely alright to say the word Boyfriend and Girlfriend, and that before her father and I got married, we were boyfriend and girlfriend too.
A Threat To Rape A Teacher
A 13-year-old boy allegedly threatened to rape his class teacher and her daughter. If you are in Delhi/ NCR, you get to read such news every few weeks. When I read this news, I was terrified.
Where did the child learn that rape was a form of revenge?
What do his parents talk about? Did he get offended by something that the teacher said to him? Are we making super sensitive kids or are we insensitive to them? What about sex education to boys and what about sexual values? Yes, just like we have moral values, we have sexual values - to make them understand what a good sexual behaviour is and to state that rape is a crime.
A Murder To Avoid A PTM
Allegedly, an 11th-grade student slit the throat of a 7-year-old boy to avoid a PTM (Parent Teacher Meeting). My heart goes out to the parents of the innocent 7-year-old boy and also to the 17-year-old boy’s parents. What could have gone so wrong? When did it become so easy to slit the throat to avoid a PTM? What is the big deal about a PTM anyway?
What good is a PTM where we have a child who cannot face his parents and teachers in the same meeting?
Is this meeting done as a collective effort for a child’s development? If he wasn’t doing well in subjects, then so be it.
Let’s face it, we don’t know how to teach and we keep putting square pegs in round holes. Could he have gone to his parents to say that he is not able to cope up with the subjects because they are too complex? Could he have gone to his teacher asking to teach him again, that he probably didn’t understand the way his teachers taught him and could have requested to teach them in a way that he would understand?
Question Papers Leak
Is it the inadequate seats in schools and colleges or, in fact, inadequate number of colleges? Fewer good teachers in schools and colleges coupled with a meaningless curriculum and we are assessed on ‘marks only’. Every generation has told the next one that ‘marks matter’. So we continue to do what we need to, to score the marks rather than learn some skills and excel at something we want to. Let’s accept that we are a country with complex problems, lesser resources, more population and lesser skilled teachers.
Parenting is becoming challenging with every passing generation. There is no set formula. Sometimes whatever you may do, may not be enough or whatever you may do, could be too much. All of us hear this most of the times - rich parents, parents don’t have time, teachers are partial, social media pressure, social approvals, internet influence. And we don’t know if these are some of the factors or only factors...
I am not a perfect parent myself but some questions come to my mind as 4-5 years down the line, my daughter would be a teenager and she would be around boys and girls who attend the same school, live in the same complex and play in the same field.
Maybe we need to consider these questions -
Are fathers being equal parents - mentoring, coaching and answering complex questions of children? Do we answer children’s questions or we try and give convenient answers? Are we allowing learning or putting pressure on scoring marks? And then what are the end objectives we are settling out for our children?
Do let me know what your thoughts are about my concerns. As parenting becomes trickier and urbanisation gets faster, the need for a community grows stronger.
You can join our Parenting community to share learnings, give advice or discuss issues.
D*****Yes Dhanashri, we are in difficult times. But we all need to resolve to allow a normal life rather than putting unnecessary pressure on children. And Ahila, you are right. But unconsciously, all of us are part of patriarchy and we as society believe mother has higher role in communication and fathers' as providers. I believe so many values can come from fathers.
D*****Very well written..nowadays if kids don't get satisfactory answers from parents, they tend to find it outside.with so many means available you cannot guarantee they pick up the right one always.. Talking about education system, no doubt kids and patents both are under stress of performance..partially because of peer pressure and mostly because of the schools attitude..Nowadays if you need admission to a decent school, your kids have to pass their written exams along with doing well in earlier school's exam also. Naturally they face lot of pressure along with parents as their future depends on it. There are so many aspects of a problem.. We as parents need to take out time and talk to our kids about their thoughts on different issues ..
A*****I personally feel we should give honest answers to our children when they come to us with doubts. I know most Of my son's friends and have created an environment where they can approach me but still many times children do not approach us. I guess, we as parents should reach out more to our children. As for fathers playing an active role, nowadays we have fathers who play an equal role in parenting which is very heartening.☺
D*****Totally agree Preeti.
P*****So we'll said Deepti, we need to address the elephant in the room -Sex education. The best way to do this is to ask a doctor to do a slide presentation, this was done in a school and it helped to clear doubts among teens and teens. We can't sit and twiddle our thumbs but act.
D*****And Bindu, I totally agree with you. We treat kids as kids and not as people. They like to be treated equal. We need more empathy to learn their point of view.
D*****Hey Ajita, agree with you. However it's becoming so complex that there are no straight forward answers. Parents' communities are needed so we share our experiences and take feedback from one another.
A*****Hi Deepti, my son is 2.4 year old and sometimes I get scared at the thought of sending him to school (that is after 2 months, when he is 2.6). All these incidents provoke concern and fear regarding the future of our children. As you have raised a question that whether fathers are equal participants in parenting, to my disappointment I don't see even mothers playing their role. The society where I live 99% babies and toddlers are seen with maids and nanny the entire day even when the mothers are at home. Even in the evening they come to the playground or for a stroll in the park with servants. They are admitted to play schools or daycare at an early age of 6 or 7 months. So that mothers can enjoy some free time. It was said that a child's first school is his home and parents are his first teachers but now mobiles,tablets, TV and internet are their first teachers and daycare and play school are their first school.
B*****I think it's high time we start being sensitive towards our children n be mire communicative with them.