Friday, June 24, 2016

Rise of the "Individual"

These days, whenever I meet parents of age group  3 to 12, I hear the same complaints as MINE! My child watches too much TV, won't listen to me! My little boy insists to eat out every time we go out! My daughter constantly wants new toy every week. My little boy doesn't go down and play at all! My son cries whenever his school teacher gives star to his friend and nothing to him! . These repetitive words I hear all the time and I repeat them as well. Why are we facing this problem? I wonder. Thought about it for some time and I feel the problem starts with US.
All the above situations the child faces are quite normal. We all have gone thru them at one time or the other. We as children have wished for toys secretly, wanted to travel in aeroplanes, wanted to have lavish birthday parties "just" like our friend. Have cried for not getting first rank. So what is the difference now? The only difference I see is that the way we as parents react to these situations was completely different from how our parents reacted.   
Our parents downplayed most of the situations with a "Bah"   or  by simply refusing our outrageous wishes. We want gulab jamun? Mom will say there is no flour,sorry. That is it. If some friend is always making us "den" in hide and seek , Papa will only half listen to our problem. We needed to figure out how to make sure we equal chances in a game.Essentially, after their initial(feeble) reaction, we were left to ourselves to overcome these "uncomfortable feelings"  . To face the difficult situation on our own. To let us fight our own "battles"  . Mama , Papa stepped in , only in case of a "war". And magically with every "uncomfortable problem"  we grew up a bit. We learnt to take baby steps and made our heart stronger and stronger with every problem. Readied ourselves to the "Big Bad World".  We grew up to be a Individual  thru our childhood experiences.
But what is happening now?  Your baby girl  is unable to get a chance on the swing? Mamma will run and fight it out with other kids(yea , other kids) and get a place for your child on the swing. The child feels enormous pride , of able to get the swing from others. But also "learns" another thing that " I will not go thru these uncomfortable situations and even if there are such, I need not solve them. Somebody else will" .  Child does not get star in the class  and comes home upset. What we do ? We tell him , how special he is , that what if Mam has not given a star, we will give them one ourselves.  We want to quickly douse off that  difficult feeling the child is facing and bring a smile to his face. Before the child even understands , we ensure that he forgets the whole thing quickly. He never learns that he needs to do something to "earn" a star.

Basically what we are doing now is , we are constantly ensuring our child  that he is special, he is unique , that he will get anything he wants , he is the best , his achievements  are the best. We are not helping the child to grow UP to be an individual instead we are helping a child to grow up to be a egoistic, socially unfriendly  person living in a protective shell with the shell as hard as a walnut's.
The irony is only this , by giving importance to the individual  , we are killing the child's individuality.

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