The other day when we visited someone, I saw a kid, perhaps around 5-6 years of age demand in a loud voice to his grandmom "Where is the 500/- that I kept in my box?" To which the lady replied, "You were the one who gave it to me last week, isn't it?" And now the upstart of a boy demands again, "You better give me the money right now" And the grandmom says "I will give it back to you with interest, don't worry" Now the boys starts throwing a tantrum. The mother of the boy watches this entire exchange with a smile on her face and doesnt move an inch to reprimand the kid. To say the least, we were stupefied. What is this concept of a 6 year old who has just learnt to talk full sentences demand 'his' money, from his grandparents? And what is this concept of the parent just watching this like it is entertainment?
In another case, the parents of someone I know hardly care where their son/daughter goes. And the kids hate being questioned, "Where are you/when will you be back/whom are you with?". The response from their side will usually be rude "What the hell..... blah blah blah".
Now the thing is, I have been told and taught to report at each given instance about my whereabouts to my mother. The concept of reporting simple things and at times, even important things to elders has probably become extinct today, that I find myself not able to gel with people my age and even looking down upon attitude problems between peers and their parents. "Araatthu" is how such youngsters have been termed by parents I know. The thing is, what prevents parents from reprimanding their children? Or what prevents children from obeying their parents? Is it because the parents have lost respect with their children at some level that these days in arguments between families reportedly, there are people who say "its not as if your parents are amazing". So, is it that if one decides to follow values that their parents perhaps didn't in some instances, immediately the retort and insults begin with the parents each other's families. In an instance of marital discord that I heard of, the first person that the man insulted was the girl's father. "Not that your father was a great man that you can question me". Now this sort of an argument I find bizarre. Is this simply an offense is a defense mechanism sort of a thing?
I remember, even when my grandfather was some 89 or 90 (he lived to 93) my mom used to go and ask permission , not announce about what she is about to do, but ask permission on somethings and ask what does he think about it? The same exercise would follow with my grandmother. Though my ammamma would eventually say "Nee enna pannalum seriyadhaan pannuve Paddu".
When I was younger I used to see my grandfather and mom agree to disagree on issues/decisions. And when I said anything remotely disrespectful (owing to something that I could have imbibed from school or other kids) my mom would be right behind me to twist my ear and make me apologize. Sometimes my grandparents used to tell me not to mingle with a couple of cousins, much to their ire, not that I blame my grandparents or the cousins. But that was how it was. Maybe their blessing is taking me forward.
I hardly see parents reprimanding children for their bad behaviour these days. Why? Instead, they smile, giggle and laugh it off. I had huge issues like these when I was hosting this reality show on TV. I saw terrible behaviour from kids. Maybe their parents also couldn't handle media attention. Suddenly we were asked to refer to a 12 year old boy as "Sir" by his parent and interestingly the father himself referred to his own 12 year old son as "Sir". I see the trend continuing with some other parents who think their kids have become too big.
Now I see a huge chasm in the way my mother used to insist on several things with me, which have now become a habit and others who don't follow it. At any given point in time, my mother knows where I am. I know so many other parents who don't know and don't seem to want to find out. Is it fear of being insulted by the kids once more if they ask "Where are you?" or "Where were you?" or "Where did you go?" that they'd rather keep quiet and not ask? Is it the parents' inability, apathy or the fatigue in dealing with the disrespectful attitudes of their own children. Or have the parents at some time failed to lead by example? Could that be the reason?
I guess I have become even more critical of parents who cant discipline their children or teach them how to behave, especially post my experiences on being a presenter on a reality show that dealt with kids. Needless to say, I have criticized the attitude of some contestants openly when they spoke in a certain manner to the judges or anyone else. I, however, to most of these contestants was 'just' a compere. And I was to be treated differently than they spoke to the directors/judges in the show. I also saw how contestants knew which side of the bread was to be buttered and so many other things, in short, something I guess would be called street-smart. By the way, this is a comment and not criticism and I so wish I had had the street-smart, sweet-talking capacity that I saw in contestants ranging from 6 to 24 in Super Singer, in myself. Being street-smart is clearly a talent.I remember that some of the crew-members and I had kinda decided to not send our respective children to school, if this is the way the kids ultimately turned out. But then whats the point in blaming schools? There were times when the crew would say "you cant understand what those kids are saying, they are beyond all of us.. namma ellaarayum vithu vellam vaangitu poiduvaanunga". It was funny then, this entire thing, but in retrospect, I think its worrying. And obviously no one would care in correcting behaviour because who wants to get the 'bad name'? Which is why even judges are scared of criticising kids on any reality show. Why should they get the bad name from a general public who misunderstand encouragement and criticism for betterment? Judges are only expected to praise, praise, praise away even very mediocre talent. And no performer will want to jeopardize his popularity quotient by criticising children/contestants in a reality show today. There is a huge difference between encouragement and wanton praise. And praise at that fledgling level never got anyone anywhere. This however, time will easily tell. Eventually the people in the business/art know that the one who makes it would have gone through the grind and there is no short cut. In the meanwhile however, season after season contestants come and contestants go. We know where they come from in most cases. But God knows where they go. The channels would only be interested in the next batch. The older batch is forgotten the day the finals happen and all is done and dusted.
Sadly upstart behaviour from kids has become the norm. And the few like me who have grown up with strict discipline have become outcasts that I am afraid to even remark or even have a ludicrous expression on my face. True like they say, this is not the era of values, ethics or even basic things like having an innate respect to an elder. And many a times, I feel like I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. And these are instances where I feel I truly don't belong and feel like retiring to the hills :p hehe.