“Today’s Kids, I Tell You”!

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This is such a common line exclaimed by many people, nowadays! So, what makes today’s kids different from the older generation? A host of factors, with technology scoring the highest in the list. New innovations have managed to create diverse outcomes. Kids, today, keep you wrapped around their little fingers and how!

Looking back at my journey as a parent, I remember this incident very fondly today, which, at that time was horrifying. After finishing my household work, I was thinking of relaxing, when I saw my two year old walking towards me with a two litre oil can. Before I could utter a word, I saw the oil rushing towards my feet, and the entire floor in the drawing room was doused in oil. It took me a good couple of weeks to clean up that slippery floor. Now where had he learnt this, I wondered? Ahaa, the cartoons aired on the idiot box, yes that’s it. He had seen this in a cartoon show. Some months later, in the afternoon, I was taking a power nap and woke up to find the curtains and tablecloth torn! There, was my two year old, snipping away at the bed sheet, happily, with a pair of scissors. After this, I made it a point to watch the cartoon shows along with him, so that I could monitor what he was being exposed to.

Fast forward, a couple of years later, I had gone out and came back, to find the drawing room spewed with oil and watched in horror, as my younger son, all of 16 months, scattered lentils all over the oil laden floor! The lentils had got stuck to the floor. My elder son, then, 5 years, had told me later, that they had watched this act in a comedy movie on the television. Younger kids are naughtier as they are pampered more. All children love mobiles and keep playing with them whether they understand it or not.  In another incident, my younger son had dropped my husbands mobile in the bath tub and was squeaking in delight as he saw it drown in the water. My angry husband was demanding an answer from the elder one, as to why he had not stopped this. Just then, the younger one, came up from behind and lifted his lungi (A cloth draped around the waist by Indian men) with a stick, as he could not think of any other way to stop my husband from reprimanding his brother. I burst out laughing, as the three of them looked at me. The chronicles of the idiot box, I tell you.

Parenting has become quite a task in the modern times. Exposure has increased by leaps and bounds. It can be quite scary to allow your child to surf the internet as vulgar advertisements are being placed on many websites. The lure of social media is quite addictive. While it is Joyous to connect with long lost friends and catch up, one has to remember that the internet is a deep dark pit, open to all. You never know who is behind a profile pic. Modern technology has made it possible to enter homes of people living far away, within seconds. Video chatting is a nice way to talk to friends and relatives. At the same time it is terribly dangerous to use it with strangers. Mobile apps have free chatting rooms where in, you can stay connected to people at all times, at a minimal cost. Now, this can also, be irksome at times, as one has little privacy. Anyone can ping you, anytime. Gone are the days, when people informed in advance about their calls or visits. Staying connected at all times has it’s good and bad points. Too much familiarity is causing breakdowns in relationships. At the same time, it’s a boon during emergencies. Children spend more time glued to their gadgets these days. Now, this has resulted in obesity and other eye ailments. Spending more time indoors,  is unhealthy, as exposure to sunlight and some exercise is necessary for their growth and development.

One has to just search the internet for information and you have it in minutes. Many old timers feel that, having things easy, has brought about boredom in children as there is nothing left, for them to explore. Back then, in their days, knowledge was hard to come by, as one had to really work hard, read books, talk to people and then gain it. But they fail to understand that, kids these days are well versed in various fields due to this very thing called “the internet”. Technology has catapulted learning to an entirely new level.

Fast food joints have mushroomed with the home delivery option available, in most of them. This has made it easier to order food sitting in the comfort of your homes. Kids demand, pizzas, Burgers etc, on all days. The concept of eating out on weekends has lost it’s sheen. On the other hand, this has come as a blessing to busy parents, who can order in, making their lives comfortable. Online shopping is another fad, which has made it possible for people to shop comfortably, sitting at home. The ease with which one can shop has caused havoc in families, with kids not realizing the value of money. At the same time, the variety offered by online shopping sites, especially in books and educational Dvd’s, is very helpful for parents with time constraints.

Home works have become interesting, thanks to technology. Few Teachers in my childrens school have introduced the concept of problem solving via WhatsApp, after school hours. This gesture has tremendously helped in the completion of assignments on time. The concept of teaching has undergone a change with audio visual aids being present in classrooms.

It has become a social status to own a mobile these days. Kids are fascinated by them. There is a tug of war between parents and the children, in this regard. My elder one had requested us for his own mobile, which was politely refused. Soon, he demanded one and we gave him an old one to use. Within a couple of months he wanted a new one. He tried a few antics like, keeping communication to minimum, staying put in his room, etc. He did get a new one within the budget, but, with a tagline that ” freedom comes with responsibility”! It is handy, as he is within reach at all times. Ultimately, it’s how you conduct yourself, when tantrums are thrown, that creates constructive dramas. By this I mean, giving them what they want with a set of instructions, spelled out politely.

Gaming is something my boys love and I have somehow developed an interest in it. So yes, we play games, discuss the new features of the gadgets in the market, create artistic photographs,videos and more. Technology can be fun, at these times. Reality shows are our favourite and we enjoy watching them. Who knows, your kid can be the next star, what with, so many opportunities open for all!

Children of different ages, need to be addressed in a specific manner as their ability to understand things, differ. I have a teenager(14 years) and a pre tweenager(9 years). The tantrums thrown by both differ. While the elder one cuts off communication and keeps to himself, the younger one screams, cries, throws things around, etc. The way to handle this is to keep calm. Teenagers need to be addressed as friends. It is important to keep the conversations short and crisp. Do not create a hype about this age. It’s not all that scary as it is protrayed. Give them their space, while you monitor them. Talk to them when they are ready to listen, believe me, they are receptive.

Children, much younger, need to be held and comforted first. Once they are calm, tell them when it is possible to get them what they want. Do not, at any point, yell back at them during this discussion. Point out at something, they bought recently, but have not used. It’s easy to divert their minds, get them to draw, colour or go over a photo album together, and other such interesting things. In the end, love is all that matters. Parents, meditate before you dictate!

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Kavita Panyam is a Counseling Psychologist by profession and a Freelance Writer by passion. She has won competitions in various magazines for slogan writing, reviews, Quotes, poetry, captions, Ads as well as many reputed blogger contests. Her work has been published in reputed magazines across India and abroad. She writes soulful poetry, inspirational articles and more on her personal blog https://kavitapanyam.com. She is an author at several well known E-zines, print magazines and is also a guest contributor to various websites.

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