Sunday, June 03, 2012

Upbringing .....

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.

34 comments:

Rajesh K said...

Fortunately, I don't have to handle either the disrespecting kids or the buttering types. But I don't know for how long.

What I ponder is - Does this happen every generation? Would our parents have had similar thoughts about us (when compared to their parents who were stricter)?

I am no expert in child rearing, but I get quite upset when I read in blogs that children today need to be bribed even for participating in a school level contest!! We used to consider it as a privilege, back then.

We should also look at one more thing - As the society is progressing, the scenario is getting more competitive day by day. Perhaps because these kids get into the 'performance' culture very early, they tend to be rude? I know it's not an excuse, but not sure.

Chumi @ Lakshmi @ Lucky said...

i completely agree with u. i'm 29 years old, live in d UK and have been in dependent for a few years now, but i still ask my mum permission (even on wat to wear) n keep her informed on my whereabouts. n my mum is 50 n she still asks her parents permission!

my kid is definitely going to grow up like me.

Kailash said...

Well said Chinmayi and good that you brought this topic up! My hypothesis on why this happens is because of 2 reason a) Parents are extremely career-oriented and with very little time for the kids - so they substitute money for love, time that they should ideally be sparing for the children. That imbibes the feeling in children that the can get away with anything by throwing tantrums b) Parents pass on their 'competitive instincts' to the kids and kids start believing 'winning is everything, even if it means you trample on a few others on the way up' - and that false sense of identity probably stays with the kids and parents who believe they now have the rights to rule the world! And as far as what you call street-smart, I'd say there is a fine line between being street smart and being shrewd - And I think most kids err on the other side. Heard a child psychologist once tell, 'Kids dont talk like kids anymore, because they dont play with kids anymore - they are always around elders'

I fear the day when these kids grow up to become parents! Heard an incident that happened in Mumbai recently where a dad helped his 16yr old son scheme the murder of his classmate who had apparently chided him for having sent lewd smses to another female classmate

Well I can empathise with the shock on your face after having read this story! Retiring to the hills may not really be such a bad option!

Preeti Shankar said...

Too much of mechanisation has left children spend more time with gadgets and not humans. So the infusion of moral values becomes difficult. Parents are worried about child's career development ignoring the charecter development. I found a child's mother provoking him to sing "sheila ki jawani" when her neighbour asked so. The mother did not worry about the impact cheap lyrics would have on her son. This is the present scenario and people wrap it up aa "generation gap". Its crap. We still find courteous children. Its "parenting gap".

gbalaji said...

Well Chinmayi,

Reality is Parents don't respect their elders & society around them and it caught instantly with kids. Based on your own story your mother respect your ammamama and hence you respect your mother.

Parents needs to stand as an example on manners, discipline etc., for kids to follow & behave in proper manner.

I only blame giggling parent for kids mischief at that point of time gave rights to Kids to start abusing elders afterwards.

Anandhiselva said...

Very Very true. I have two kids and still working on them to make them grow as the way i did. But nowadays, when we beat them or scare them as if we are going to beat my parents are the one who is coming for their rescue.:(

Didn't know how to handle???

Anonymous said...

I'm scared to be around kids who are badly behaved.Parents,grandparents take great pride when the child behaves badly!..worse they find excuses for their bad behaviour.I worked in a school environment for many years and parents trusted us and allowed us to discipline the children.But over the years I found it difficult to deal with the parents/kids when it came to conforming to rules/discipline.

People around me think I'm archaic and I'm headed to the hills soon!
The basic etiquette of Please ,thank you, sorry ,seems to be missing in many young adults.
Thank you for writing this post makes me think that I'm not alone who thinks differently.

Priya

Anonymous said...

Hello Chinmayi,

Being a parent myself in the US I am constantly frowned upon for disciplining my kids. I guess the kids can feed off this attention the other parents/adults give. When a parent disciplines and asserts certain ground rules it's best for other parents to stay away. You are so right. Life is not all fair and smooth. The kids need to learn that no matter what other kids do and get away with, there are certain rules and guidelines that are never to be broken. I fight this everyday. Each parent has their own style and when I have to have my kids mingle with the not-so-well-behaved kids I struggle with questions like "Why can she scream at her mom and I can't?".. My answer is simply because I am not his/her mom!
Parenting is an adventure and a lesson for both the kids and parents each day. To make the decision each day about not being a favorite parent but rather a good one takes much self-discipline!!
My 2 cents!

Arun said...

Retiring to the hills..! Same Pinch..!
For a different reason though... You've taken a dig at the upbringing of kids today. I don't have that choice in the life I live.
And, tell you What. Retiring to the hills.. is again just not a choice either.. :-)
Nevertheless, this was a kalakkal post. Sadly, you don't have control. It should be a good husband and a good wife complimenting each other at the first place.., their value systems be the same and ofcourse good.
Missing out on this combo, you don't expect the kid to be good.

bonziegal said...

Interesting post and I could so relate to what you have written here, as I crib often about how "values" have lost their significance in today's youth.

Rajesh Alias Balasubramanian said...

True

Maddy said...

Answer to your question and thought is there in your question itself.

Or have the parents at some time failed to lead by example? Could that be the reason?

Thats the very reason. Not only now,in every generation if a parent fails to correct the misbehaviour of their kids, it is not a good parenting.

Raghavendran Thiruvallur Eachambadi said...

There has been these cartoons floating around, which compares children and parents of yesterday and today. In those days, kids were reprimanded for not studying properly by their parents, but these days, it the teacher who gets reprimanded for their ward not doing well!

sundarmdu said...

Don't worry.Times are changing. Some 100 years ago,my father used to say, the women folk were not allowed to see the men of their own family face to face. Drinking coffee was a taboo. Changes are inevitable. But there is a self regulating mechanism in the society. When things go awry, nature will correct it. Be hopeful and positive. Today the children with greater exposure try to know about every thing quickly. their inquisitiveness is worrying some. but I foresee a brighter tomorrow for the youth.

Sridhar said...

While I agree that display of 'respect' and the definition of 'respect' has altered today, it is also important to remember that respect cannot be inherited but has to be earned. And then again like most things are 'marketed' today, a parent cannot / should not market the fact that they are indeed 'respect worthy'. I have seen that children just follow what they see and it is important that as parents, parents must exercise extreme caution and subtlety in their actions and words. Subtle messages have lasting impact on children as against having a 'war of words' with them, which they would use it back against you.

A simple act of abusing verbally a politician in front of the child, can have a detrimental effect on the child who loses respect not just of the politician but also of the post he represents. As a parent, if the child is around you, and you do not agree with a certain politician's views, the best is to explain the act which you do not agree to and explain that this person in the post that he is holding is doing an act that you do not agree and that is not to say that you are ridiculing the politician's post or the democratic framework of India, but you are ridiculing an act. Same thing goes when you discuss a friend's parents / grandparents and ridicule in front of your child.

Today morning, President was being made a joke on an FM channel. Children do not get this. They cannot differentiate between the candidate who is the President and the Post of President. The post was, is and continues to be a position of respect, awe. That level of dignity is the responsibility of the person who holds the post. The person and the post are different things.

Similarly, there is a difference between Being bold v/s being brazen, being blunt and direct v/s being diplomatic, being determined v/s being stubborn, questioning with an open mind v/s questioning with presumptions made before hand, curiosity v/s arrogance, use of force v/s gentle persuasion - while children need to be educated on these, there are many of us adults who also can do better with a crash course.

Vidya Krishnamurthy said...

Nice to read your thoughts Chinmayi. As viewers of this program, we also feel that the kids are going beyond their age (in the way they talk, attitude etc) and parents are only sadly supportive of this.

Anonymous said...

As a follower of your blog, I am 16 years old and I have been brought up in Australia. I respect your generations' view but you guys just don't get it. I understand some of us are rude but we are just being brutally honest.. The culture and values that are being passed on differs in every decade.. I cannot be my mom and my mom in most certainty was not like my grandmother. I have no clue why this is such a big issue.. You just live once and live it to your fullest...Make mistakes and learn from it. Suck it up.. It's no big deal P.S My mom made me read your post... Was just annoyed..

As your fan, you are my inspiration and I have been learning music for 9 years here...

NiveRaghav said...

Hi Chinmayi,
It is good that you wrote on such an issue that has been burning within me for several months now. I have discussed this at several instances with my husband. We are both scientists living abroad and have a habit of analyzing and discussing almost any topic under the sun. Both of us possess the ‘first child syndrome’ which I guess used to be (but is no longer) seen in families. I have had opportunities to observe my cousins once in a while who apparently belong to the ‘current’ generation and also children on television reality shows. And whenever we discussed about the attitude of the present day children, we only came up with one causative attribute – parents.
Today’s parents belong to our generation – born in late 70’s or early 80’s. Almost all of them have been raised under similar conditions you have described. I find no difference between your family scenario and mine or my husband’s. The main priority of our parents was to bring up their children with discipline. They wouldn’t tolerate the least bit of nonsense when it came to discipline. Although they had so much control over their children, it was in most cases by purely authoritarian. Most of them failed to communicate with the children trying to make them understand why such discipline was expected of them and why it was important. This lack of communication is what is having its consequences on their grandchildren. Today’s parents do not want to subject their children to the ‘authoritarian’ control that they experienced. They do not want to portray themselves as the kind of parents they had seen. Unfortunately, they still do not understand what the exact problem was. The problem was not in trying to control the children and imbibe discipline in them, but was in poor communication. Today’s parents want to give ‘all’ the freedom to their children which includes the option to not be disciplined. Also there is no importance given to moral values – neither in schools nor in the family. Those parents who understood that their parents were right in the way they brought them up, who may be just a handful, bring up their children just like they were brought up. Priorities in today’s world include a lot of things other than moral values and discipline. Nobody expects you to be disciplined as long as you have money. Success today translates to money. The more money you have, the more successful you are. Parents want their children to get whatever they ‘want’ rather than what they ‘need’ at any cost. Be it admission in a medical or engineering college, today’s child is taught that he/she has to just decide what he/she wants to be and let the parents know so that they can earn money to buy that seat. The term hard work is nowhere to be seen in the dictionary of children today. Even if you don’t deserve, you could succeed buying what you want. The children have learnt this from none other than their parents. For the unacceptable attitude of today’s children, today’s parents who belong to our generation have to be blamed. It is a pity that this damage cannot be undone. What the parents haven’t taught them, life will teach them in the bitter way.

Nivethida said...

Hi Chinmayi,
It is good that you wrote on such an issue that has been burning within me for several months now. I have discussed this at several instances with my husband. We are both scientists living abroad and have a habit of analyzing and discussing almost any topic under the sun. Both of us possess the ‘first child syndrome’ which I guess used to be (but is no longer) seen in families. I have had opportunities to observe my cousins once in a while who apparently belong to the ‘current’ generation and also children on television reality shows. And whenever we discussed about the attitude of the present day children, we only came up with one causative attribute – parents.
Today’s parents belong to our generation – born in late 70’s or early 80’s. Almost all of them have been raised under similar conditions you have described. I find no difference between your family scenario and mine or my husband’s. The main priority of our parents was to bring up their children with discipline. They wouldn’t tolerate the least bit of nonsense when it came to discipline. Although they had so much control over their children, it was in most cases by purely authoritarian. Most of them failed to communicate with the children trying to make them understand why such discipline was expected of them and why it was important. This lack of communication is what is having its consequences on their grandchildren. Today’s parents do not want to subject their children to the ‘authoritarian’ control that they experienced. They do not want to portray themselves as the kind of parents they had seen. Unfortunately, they still do not understand what the exact problem was. The problem was not in trying to control the children and imbibe discipline in them, but was in poor communication. Today’s parents want to give ‘all’ the freedom to their children which includes the option to not be disciplined. Also there is no importance given to moral values – neither in schools nor in the family. Those parents who understood that their parents were right in the way they brought them up, who may be just a handful, bring up their children just like they were brought up. Priorities in today’s world include a lot of things other than moral values and discipline. Nobody expects you to be disciplined as long as you have money. Success today translates to money. The more money you have, the more successful you are. Parents want their children to get whatever they ‘want’ rather than what they ‘need’ at any cost. Be it admission in a medical or engineering college, today’s child is taught that he/she has to just decide what he/she wants to be and let the parents know so that they can earn money to buy that seat. The term hard work is nowhere to be seen in the dictionary of children today. Even if you don’t deserve, you could succeed buying what you want. The children have learnt this from none other than their parents. For the unacceptable attitude of today’s children, today’s parents who belong to our generation have to be blamed. It is a pity that this damage cannot be undone. What the parents haven’t taught them, life will teach them in the bitter way

ద్రవిడకేతనం said...

Actually,such a kind a behavior is result of lack of care and guidance of parents.ultimately it is a job of parents to properly guide growing up young ones.when something went wrong,parents must say clearly..."you're wrong.. never do so."otherwise one day unnecessary pampering may make their child as pauper one day...

Anonymous said...

Sheesh tell me about it...... a shouting kid is alright I should say. My 5 y.o nephew spits on me! My cousin, his mother wont keep in under control! If I dont take it, I am the rude one!

Incidents of the like made me think no marriage, no kids, and a loud end to the chain of morons of my kind, the human kind.

-Koushik
(linked anony. so that my cousins dont find out that I love to complain about their kids, and ofcourse they like the singer chinmayi not the blogger... I am safe!)

Arul N S said...

Was watching "god bless America". Your post also mirrors a similar thought process... Do watch if not seen earlier...

Anonymous said...

I think wherever there is excess pampering, this will happen :
1)People only have one kid now and so all affection is showered in excess, esp with career oriented parents(Will having 2 kids reduce the problem a bit? )
2)Even in IT industry, good talent is pampered and people want to travel to US after writing their first line of Java code
3)The kids in US are a pampered lot and all that culture is getting infused into our kids (Osmosis) through media/cartoon tv etc
4)Increase in nuclear families compounds the problem multi-fold, as there's very little value education

Could it also be possible that the talented population is reducing due to which pampering from the rest of the folks has increased? I see celebrities worshipped ! They just have a special talent. Has talent in society become such a precious commodity that talented people are worshipped?

But overall, the society is losing balance !

For you the reader, I pray the almighty to bestow balanced living !! ( Chin, I know the wishing part was supposed to be yours, but have been missing it in your posts, so filling in )

Anonymous said...

Given your dubbing skills, and interest in amar chitra katha, why don't you initiate a project of narrating those stories in your sweet voice to children ? Not many people have the time to narrate stories to their children and grand children and am sure you'll be tapping into a lucrative market. Yes there are animation CDs etc, but nothing like good old story telling , which increases the grasp of children..My 2 cents...

janamejayan.wordpress.com said...

It is the beginning of the end of family as a unit. After all we are aping western culture, economics, politics, ethics even religion and vote for Antonia from the vatican and defend islam's oppression of Hindus. All these are called secularism!

Anonymous said...

Just listening Ramarajyam songs...What an amazing experience it must have been for you , dubbing and singing ! It'll be great if you can share some of those treasures(Enriches us and also doesn't deplete you ) . Also I remember you posting about injustice done to Sita in Ramayana..has your opinion changed after this experience?(Personal question yes, and obviously optional) . I've had innumerable questions on the epics, but I recently learnt that having sthula drishti while analyzing epics is dangerous and will lead to atheism. Sukshma drishti is needed and my whole view on epics has changed. My 2 cents .

Also, not sure if mami checks emails regularly..Dropped a couple of them recently.

Cheers !

Anonymous said...

How did you sing 'Sree rama vaarai' song? I can't listen it even once without tears ! Reminds me of Andhi mazhai, but multiple notches above that !

-Raghav

Rans26 said...

Hey Chinmayi I'm a big fan of yours right from your kannathil muthamittal days. Was watching SIIMA yesterday and found that your voice sounded different. Not sure if it's because of technical faults but somehow felt your voice dint sound as before. Maybe it's due to too much compering or dubbing for actresses? Please take care of your voice as it's really unique. Kindly consider this as a thought from your well wisher/ fan.

Chinmayi Sripada /Chinmayee said...

Raghav: Yes I did

Chinmayi Sripada /Chinmayee said...

Rans26: SIIMA recording my songs was a fiasco. Sound picked up only around Mayya Mayya. I neither heard the track nor myself. They didn't let me record again which I asked for. Well it always happens to me and I am used to it now.

Chinmayi Sripada /Chinmayee said...

Rans26: And dubbing has nothing to do with any of this. In all his life, dubbing never hurt SPB sir's singing, how will it affect mine? :p

Asuri Praveen said...

Nice Post Chinmayi and very much true at these times. I see lot of my relatives kids also growing up in this way. The problem I believe is that the Parents not only laugh and enjoy these things but also feel proud about their kid being that way.

I also get this sense, when I watch some of the reality shows on Televisions featuring Kids (Junior category). As you had mentioned mediocre performances area also praised like anything. Thats why I stopped seeing some of these shows. I used to tell my wife about it as well, even though she likes to see these shows.

In my personal opinion, So much of public attention and praise at that small age is not good for the kids too. It is the age to have fun and learn and not get into praise, fame, etc.

Viyasan said...

Hi chinmayi,
I could know that the path u travelled was not quite an easy one..its great u thank ur mom and many celebraties exists and they all donot becom mentally matured like a.p.j.abdul kalam..there is a maturity in ur talk ...ur this style of blogging seems to be that of autobiography of great leaders... Keep it up..

As rans26 said i did find a difference but i thought its ur own new style..

vijayaditya said...

Hi,

A very useful discussion indeed and i agree with most of the people who commented above. IMO There are a lot of reasons why children are not really brought up in a way which would have been ideal and a lot better.
1. As Kailash said, both the parents are finding it difficult to spend quality time and active mentor their kids effectively due to both working or whatever the reason might be. Both Working is a integral part of the So called progress but time with kids specially during adolescence should be mentored(not dictated)which i don't think is really happening.
2. Peer Pressure, many kids we see these days take refuge in other kids or so called alpha-Kids of their age, in their groups since they dont get attention at home or get more than required. For most kids in so called gangs/groups at really young ages there is a very good possibility of the alpha-kid of the group's decision to sound like gospel truth while the fact is the alpha-kid is of the same age and is equally vulnerable to pressures and bad decisions.
3. lack of reprimanding when supposed to by parents as mentioned by you and many is also a reason. I know many people who inform parent's(including me too) if going on weekend trip's or somewhere just being responsible to respect parent's responsibility over us. Alas, kids if not mentored properly might think its a restriction on their freedom by parents.

While all this happens, there are people who make money posing as therapists whose counselling does not have an ounce of effect on the ward.

Nevertheless, hoping for a day when parents and kids realize mutual importance and respect each other and elders realize the need for a positive mentoring of kids till a particular age atleast.