Bringing Up The Children: Old Philosophy v/s New One

Posted on May 6, 2011 in Society

By Srishti Chauhan:

Talking generally in the Indian context of things, most people are aware of the fact that the manner in which their parents were brought up is vastly different from the manner in which they were brought up and this manner is, in turn, majorly different from the manner in which they are bringing their children up.

The basic guidelines for bringing up children have altered so much over time that it is quite impossible for a person who is even one generation removed to identify with them. Earlier, the Indian ways of bringing up children were derived from the British ways- a natural consequence of the dominance that prevailed till 1947. The idea that children should be seen- not heard- was not only popular but also a framework within which well-mannered children had to be brought up.

With time, this has changed to quite an extent. There came a period when the idea of children not being heard at all was diluted to some extent and a more moderate method of bringing up was adopted.

Over time, this moderate method has further been diluted to the extent that these days children are heard more than possibly required.

This is the day and age where, in many senses, children dictate their parents. Many would find these words to be an exaggeration of the reality that this is. I, however, beg to differ.

Firstly, the threat that their children might take to drastic steps like committing suicide is a major fear that parents continually fight. The smallest act of restricting them from doing what they want or providing them with what they desire can lead to this strong reaction. In the past few decades, the number of suicides committed by young people has escalated exponentially. In one of the many cases, a 12 year old has committed suicide because he was refused an ice-cream by his mother.

This has led many people, including child psychology experts, to conclude that the cases of mental imbalance and weaknesses have picked up pace in recent times. According to them this is a natural consequence of the lives we are leading where there is no time to build up values and moral conscience in children.

This is a natural consequence of the kinds of life that we are leading now. With hectic schedules and nuclear families, children are brought up mainly by maids. And the little time parents can devote to their children goes in trying to please them so that the satisfaction that you have been able to provide your child with adequate facilities and hence he or she is happy. This is what gives most parents the satisfaction that they generally exhibit.

Many pediatricians are of the opinion that children who are in the care of nannies since birth are more prone to psychological disorders than those who had their mothers or fathers taking care of them. It is said that staying with a nanny who generally looks after the household work as well hampers the mental development of the children. Also, the early signs of disorder are mostly ignored since most parents find it hard to accept that there may be some problem with their child that needs to be addressed.

The difference between the new age thinking and the old age thinking is drastic. While both are extremities, both have their own advantages and disadvantages. However, what is often forgotten is that nothing is good in extreme and moderation is always required. Maybe that is what we need. A moderation between the old world strictness and the new world leniency is probably the need of the hour- before things get too out of hand.

The writer is a Senior Correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz and a student of University of Delhi