Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I'm not kidding

So there I was, sitting at lunch and telling my colleagues about this hot new television show called Desire: Table for three which for the last few days has been causing quite a disruption in my studies, when out of nowhere, without our knowledge, we realised that the topic had switched from the two hot brothers in the show to parenting. Much as I try to link back, I am unable to figure out how it happened, but it happened. So we started talking about how difficult parenting is, and how annoying unruly kids are, and how sometimes you just wanna slap the spoilt brats, irrespective of whom they belong to.

My colleague told me about how annoying her little cousins had become compared to the days when "at least they were cute". So true. Often, we see the best side of other's kids and don't really see the pain of parenting that people have to go through. Beyond the cuteness, lies the sinister reality that strikes the parents first, and eventually others too. We started discussing about how we would bring up our kids, and whether 'Spare the rod and spoil the child' is actually a myth. Well, I guess it depends on many factors such as the genes, the upbringing and the company the kid keeps which determines how disciplined or unruly he/she is. Sometimes the kids are already well-behaved and do not need constant discipline. I think I did pretty okay when I was little. Sometimes I wonder how my parents coped with my sister and me. We were never caned but I do remember being whacked only once by Dad, when in a fit of fury, I tore up his favourite 'Illustrated weekly of India', a news magazine popular in the days when I was a kid. It was a brand new issue and he hadn't even read it. I still remember the sting of the slap. The good thing is - I realised it pretty soon that I deserved it. That one slap was enough to teach me that my unjustified fury was wrong and would get me nothing.

I guess I belong to the school of thought that advocates the use of the cane. Not the 'cane' literally (though I remember getting caned in school by my class teacher in a mass caning of the entire class session!) but that of discipline - punishment for wrongdoings. I don't believe that it is enough for one of the parents to be strict (it could leave the kid confused or make him favour one over the other). I believe that both parents must be equal in their strictness and consistent in their dealings over bad behaviour.

Very young kids learn in stages. In the early stages, they differentiate right from wrong by observing the behaviour of their parents. To them, something that "makes Mummy or Daddy angry" is wrong. They do not understand the morality of right or wrong behaviour, nor do they understand what is reasonable and what is not.
Gandhiri is perhaps not entire suitable considering their cognitive abilities at that age. As they grow up, it makes sense to sit down with them for more mature discussions, and explain to them why exactly Daddy and Mummy get angry at certain behaviours. They can process reason better at that age.

I truly feel that kids need to know that there are lines, which if they cross, can lead to serious consequences. At that age, sometimes it's not easy to deal with them in a mature way, and perhaps talking it over is not enough. Perhaps a slap is the best way to make them understand what they should and should not do, and let them grow up and find out why they got slapped. It's kinda like pocket money. I spent a large part of my childhood wondering why I did not get pocket money like my friends did, even though Mom and Dad bought me everything that I asked for and deserved. No amount of "But why can't I have the money and buy the things myself?" arguments were accepted. So I had to accept their "No" albeit grudgingly at first. But now I know and I understand and I think they were right.

Frankly speaking, I'd never been really 'pally' with my parents. I never really considered them my 'friends' when I grew up. My interaction with them was based on respect, love, trust and to a certain extent, fear too. But I have no regrets. Today, even though I'm 26 and do not agree on everything with my parents, I do know that they know what's best for me. They trust me just as I trust them. Years ago, when I'd told Mom and Dad "I'll pick the guy I want to marry. But if you have any objection at all, I will not even ask you why. I will follow your wishes." I really meant it. And perhaps that is why they trust me. I think it took a lot of courage and trust on their part to send me off to a foreign country for ten years, and I can never forget that.

In modern times, where it is 'cool' to be of the same mental age as your kids, sometimes I feel that kids cross the line and behave too mature for their age because of the liberties given to them by the parents. The worst is when they forget to respect their parents because of these very liberties. I've seen kids talk back rudely at their parents and even use words like 'stupid' and 'shut up!' It shocks me because I remember getting a real bad scolding for being rude to my nanny.

Maybe it works differently for different people. Some kids are just naturally well-behaved while others are not. It's true that some kids respond better to conversation, and can be talked into being disciplined, but what if they can't be? Haven't we all seen kids who seem to be out of control - even of their own parents?

"I think I will whack my kid(s) if they don't behave." I declared to my colleagues.

That's when we realised that it was 1.35 pm and lunchtime was over. As we laughed over how four people who have no kids had been talking about parenting for over twenty minutes, and dispersed, I suddenly realised something else.

What a day to be talking about whacking kids, Sayesha! :/

Nehru chacha, maaf karna... but I still think I'll whack my kid(s). I'm just hoping that I won't have to.


oxymoron said...

awwal number! gold medal!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

hee hee!! its my fantasy too! spank the kids!! naah! spanking would suck. one tight slap brings out the real flavour. HA HA HA.

Happy Children's Day.

Inder said...

kids understand the 'whack' language a lot better than anything else. so, it is good for others to communicate with kids in the language they understand well... :)

TMaYaD said...

I beg to differ! When you whack the kid, it shows your difference of opinion regarding his action than the consequence of it. Rather like an artificial reaction than a natural one. He would refrain in your presence or for his love towards you rather than be motivated against the wrong.

Cane is never the answer!(I never knew the other side! My school gives complete freedom to child :) )

Anonymous said...

TOP 10 Again!!!
I am not against caning but truth be told I have never been caned by my parents... may that answers a lot :) But to be fair, I was shit scared of my Dad and the threat "Wait till Dad gets home" was enough for me to be on my best behaviour.
I think caning gets the child' s fear but not his understanding. If you respect the child and try and make him understand what was wrong, I think you will end up with kids who do treat you as friends... This I say from experience- my parents are my best friends.

Bivas said...

//Some kids are just naturally well-behaved while others are not.
errr...u really think so? Doesn't the environment they grow up in influence them at all...kids have a very receptive mind and what they see or hear makes a very deep impact ontheir behaviour...i have seen a few of my cousins who are totally out of control...maybe the reason has been the kind of freedom they were given since bachpan...agree that discipline is rqd from the beginning but caning(or a zor kaa tamacha) isn't the way...
just my views.

arpana said...

rather than the "coolness factor" or the "pally factor" me thinks , as youve pointed out , it is the trust thats important. and yes , I'll definetly whack my kid if he/she crosses the line ... chalo ab mere liye ek acha sa Cane dhoondo .. :D

Sayesha said...

Bahut dinon baad huh? :)

Happy children's day! Don't beat my kids when they go to Satish Mamu's house in the summer holidays ok? Only I will beat them muahaha! :D

Yeah, I feel that when kids are at that weird age where they don't really process information the way we do, sometimes you just have to use an alternative way to get understood.

I guess you're talking of the ideal scenario when you can tell a toddler something and he will adhere. But kids are different kinds, what works with one may not work with another. While calm discussions work with some kids, others may need a bit more discipline.

Haha... I think I was scared of Dad more than Mom too :P As for fear vs understanding, if the child is really young, it's very difficult to make him understan (at that age) why what he did was wrong/dangerous. Perhaps when they grow up a little, such 'talks' will be useful.

I think genes play a great part, and hence yes I really think that some kids are naturally well-behaved. But of course the environment and other factors do influence their behaviour. My sister and I grew up together but we were the exact opposite of each other.
ps: By 'caning' I did not mean just caning or a tamacha. I meant discipline in the broader sense. :)

Chala aapka gussa toh utra... warna Ramu ki khair nahin thi! :P

TMaYaD said...

//I guess you're talking of the ideal scenario when you can tell a toddler something and he will adhere.
What I meant was, you don't 'tell' him anything(unless he asks). You have to let them find out themselves. Tough, I know... but, one can take the trouble for their kids I suppose.

Anonymous said...

Happy children's day bacchi! :D
Abhi jaake kal ke paper ke liye khoob padhai kar! nahi to ussi cane se pitegi tu! :P

chanakya said...

Ill go with sakshi here.
i was so scared of my dad.
His threat of skinning me with a belt was enough to keep me well, moderately behaved, until i realised he would never do that :D

i dunno abt the need of the cane though. I have seen enough really well behaved kids and badly behaved ones (all cousins at present) to realise its more upon how good the parents are with their kids. I mean in giving in to their every whim/ not indulging them too much. It makes a huge factor i think. Well atleast in the sample set i have had to babysit.

chanakya said...

btw Best of Luck for your Exams

HaRi pRaSaD said...

Reading your post I am reminded of the Tamil Movie "Punnagai Mannan" (King of Smiles!!). Kamal Hassan plays the dual hole of the hero as well as the hero's uncle. This character of the hero's uncle calls himself Chaplin Chellapa( he dresses and walks like Charlie Chaplin). In one scence Chaplin Chellapa comes across a very angry little girl. To calm her down he does many antics. He goes behind a rack of suitcases and slowly as he walks he reduces in height and when he comes out the otherside he is only half is height, leaving the little girl in splits.
In another scene he comes across a wailing boy. However much he tries with his antics he couldnt make him stop crying. As he stands there perplexed what to do, in walks Srividya and lands one tight slap on the face of the boy. Both the Uncle and the kid fall speechless!!!
So, it all depends on the type of kid you have in your hands!!

Strider said...

What a coincidence!
I watched this today in Virdi's video blog and you wrote this post!!

I wasnt given pocket money either;it probably was a good decision on my parents part.

I believe that kids learn a lot from the behaviour of their parents .... if the parents themselves dont respect elders the kids pick the same habit...

Btw kal exam aur aaj bar open?!!

Taking a break??

dharmu said...

for the kid i was, my parents should have disown me or put me up for adoption. but my only record has been of dad raising his voice 2 times, only 2 times.

and now i think they did a good job of me, i wonder how. i dont think i could ever tolerate something like me for more than 24 hours, god know how they did the 24 years thing.

btw, guess what, its my mom's bday today!

RP said...

poor kid is being whacked even b4 born. :-) is there any way to tell them in advance that your mother is gonna whack you after you are born?!! ;-) and also hint that "plz take revenge when inside"

Dev said...

Happy children's day, Sayesha bhai! :D

I was a very nice baccha, and my mom scolded me only once (an hour). I used to bite our Harley bhai in LKG, it seems. (That's what she claims, but I don't remember). Anyway, they were love bites... ;)

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Aashun said...

I used to romp around my home driving my mom crazy. (Image: calvin) Sometimes she tried to beat me with her small hands and I laughed like she was tickling me, so few times the case went to High court. And boy, was I scare of high court. But, When I look at my review mirror, I don't have any grudges for them as I was the one who always had it coming. I cut my nails every monday even now, that's because of them. So, I will whack my kid(s) if they mishave or broke pickel bottles using as stumps :-) and if you want to, but can not, send them over to me, I will whack yours too.
- One sadist mama!

Iday said...

Kids and control :)

If you slap or whack a kid, i believe that it seriously dents the self respect of the kid. We never really consider kids to have self respect, but they do. I still remember how i felt seriously ashamed when i was whacked by my mom for little stuff i did. My mom was, like bhai here, a bit too fond of using the cane and the particularly mischievous kid i was, i kept giving her a lot of chances to do the same :) Many times when i did not deserve a whack :((

I definitely wudnt whack my kids. I believe that there is a non-violent route (slower though) to make them understand what is right and what isn't. I believe that whacking produces immediate results coz of the associated fear factor. The kid does not fear the wrong, nor the parent - but the cane. With this case, when the fear of the cane is gone - the kid might try the same wrong again. In my opinion, the kid remains corrected for life only when he/she realizes the wrong and starts fearing the wrong. This, i believe, can be done in a more amicable way (read - with an arm around the shoulder) :)

I guess i belong to the "pally" group of parents :D

Sneha said...

Super Nanny is needed!! there's this british woman called Super Nanny and she features on Oprah at times. she does make an interesting guest :))

Ramkumar said...

"That one slap was enough to teach me that my unjustified fury was wrong and would get me nothing."
Hey don't be so sorry. At least u got something...hmm.. the slap at least.

The Inquisitive Akka said...

I have no idea what kind of mom I'm going to be but i find that I agree with you. This "being friends with your kids" idea doesn't always work out.

arpana said...

@ the reply to the comment above ... **smiles**:D

Viky said...

Jisne maaf kar di apne aulad ko chadi,
usne samjho mol li musibat ki jhadi.

mit said...

I like to set up a link to you from the Map Travel blog. What do you think about that?

Anonymous said...

hey sayesha

Even though my parents never spanked me..but that was because i was a seedha sadha bacha..but my bro got loads of it :D
but somehow i m of the thought ki at times..u really need to give it to th bacha..sometimes they jst dont get it anyother way..
1 nmore thinsg i have realised is..if u spare the rod..and agree to watever the kida does..then wahi bacha kal ko sar par dance karta hai..and then parents find it v tuff to cope with em..
so i think..time -2 par dose dete rehna chahiye

Anonymous said...

lol.. im not sure ull njoi parentin a messy kid like me..lol
jus read dis..

Sayesha said...

They will ask. But yeah, it's a tough job. :)

Thanks re! :P

Sometimes it's easy to just put the blame on parents, but I guess a lot of factors come to play to decide how the kids will turn out.
ps: Thanks :)

Hahahahahaah! I like this Sridivya chick! :P

Bar toh always open hi open re! :)

Hahahaa I wonder that too! :P
ps: happy belated budday to Harley dad's mom! :)

Sheesh! :/

Hahahahaa! Harley Bhai ko kaata? Woh bhi LKG mein? Hahahaha! Ab dekh kya mast badla legi! :D

You will whack my kids?? Oye apne bachon ko sambhaal pehle, phir mamagiri karna... Bhai is enough to handle her kids! :D

Hahaha! Jab tere bache honge tab pata chalega!
ps: Hahahaha I'm talking as if mere khud ke do-chaar hain! :D

Yeah I've heard about the show but never watched it :)

Yeah :)

Let me know when you find out yeah? ;)


Hahaha I read that as chaddi! Hahahaha! :D

Yeah, that's what I meant :P

uh... not quite sure what you wanted to say... fill in the rest of the letters of the alphabet? :)

Sudeep said...

surprising tht we both wrote on tht show.. now lemme read it

Sudeep said...

ohh.. bacchon par aagaya post frm the 2 hotel hunks
they shifted seinfeld further for this show.. lekin m not complaining coz of the babes ;)

i believe tht a lil use of cane is okie..

i remember being slapped by my dad when i was half-asleep just coz i had heard 'tomorrow is holiday' instead of 'tomorrow is halfday' :(

Iday said...

//Hahaha! Jab tere bache honge tab pata chalega!
//ps: Hahahaha I'm talking as if mere khud ke do-chaar hain! :D

Waise tere post hi aise hi tha - jaise tu koi dadima hai, jo apne past life ke bare me bhol rahe hai :P