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“The kids these days”?

Posted: March 26, 2011

I grew up hearing the phrase “aajkal ke bachchey…” (kids these days…). Our parents said it whenever we did something that they were not allowed to do when they were our age. They couldn’t talk back to their elders – they got whacked if they did. They didn’t talk so much. They listened to their parents. And so on…

I hear the same refrain now, about the new generation – our kids. The “new generation” is fast, they are arrogant, more mature/obnoxious etc. Each generation of parents thinks their kids’ generation is getting off easier in discipline matters than they ever did. And I cringe at the phrase “kids today…” I mean – really? Is it only the kids of today’s generation? How did they learn all the things, behaviors and attitudes that we moan about, if not from us directly or indirectly? We either teach them these behaviors or permit them to behave this way. I once wrote “Kids might not always behave the way their parents want them to, but they will ALWAYS behave the way they are allowed to.” I still maintain that this is absolutely true.

I read this article today and have been thinking about this since then. The article does make some good points about how to relate and communicate with one’s kids. But it shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that our kids today are “maturing” faster than we did as kids. Who laughs and claps when Gudiya dances to “beedi jalaye le”? Who laughs when the two year old Chhotu uses a cuss word that he picked up from his grandfather who uttered it while driving through the city’s maniac traffic? Who, instead of immediately explaining the rules to their kid about something he/she did wrong, turns around and says with a smile “kya karoon? sunta hi nahi hai!” (ALL real life examples)

THE PARENTS! We are trying our best to not do things that we think our parents did wrong or could have done better. We try to yell less, not hit and be better “friends” to our kids. In the process we have forgotten one important fact that our parents always knew and remembered – that WE are the parents and we have the responsibility of guiding and disciplining our kids. WE are the adult in the relationship and it is up to us to set the rules for acceptable behavior. That it is more important to be a PARENT than to be a friend to our children.

Yes, not yelling or hitting are good parenting goals. But discipline and firm action is often mistaken for mean-ness on the parents’ part (been accused of that plenty of times) Being a “nice” parent is often confused with being a good parent. Discipline has its own (important) place even in the most loving parent-child relationship. A parent who doesn’t discipline their child when needed, is doing their child a huge disservice because when that child goes out in the real world he/she is going to have a hard time fitting in with the rules of the world he/she will have to live in. “No” is a healthy word for kids to hear.

Having been a parent for 12+ years, I have learnt enough never to say never. I know I can never say, with surety, what my children or I might or might not do. But I have also learnt that most of the times our children’s behavior stems from and depends upon our parenting style. So before we say “kids these days…” we should take a long, hard look at our own behavior and parenting and try to find out if it is the “parents these days…” instead.

Guest Blogger Cee Kay is a mother of two girls, a networking professional, a cooking enthusiast and a resident of Norwalk, CT (USA), trying to peel herself off of her old doormat mode and transforming herself into a confident and outspoken woman.She is getting there now – or so she believes.


Cee Kay is a mother of two girls, a networking professional, a cooking enthusiast and

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  1. I’ve been thinking on these lines too. there was a time when we told our children to be bold and forthright. We meant to say ‘ be forthright and outspoken everywhere except with me.’ When they answered one’s mother in law back or were rude to a neighbor we proudly announced that our child had a ‘mind’ of his own. Today when the child is the same to us as parents, we try to tell him/her that it is not good to be so vocal. We start wishing that a camouflage of word be applied or at least a pretense of politeness be maintained in the presence of their spouses and outsiders. a good post. It has set me thinking.

  2. Hip Grandma,

    Thanks. What you say is true. We want our kids to be outspoken and bold but we want them to accept our decisions without question. It took me a long time to teach myself to accept my daughter’s criticism or complaints without playing the “I am your parent so listen to me” card 🙂 But at the same time I am also trying to teach her to present her views and opinions (on ANY matter including my parenting) civilly and without sarcasm or anger. In turn, I have to practice the same with her.

    I believe many parents just don’t think of the long term consequences of their kids’ actions. Specially when the kids are under 5 – we laugh everything off as cute. But when those kids grow up to be bratty pre-teens with potty mouths, we bemoan their bad attitudes. This leaves the kids confused and rebellious – what was considered cute and laughed at just a few years ago is now reason for lengthy lectures from adults.

    When I look at ill-behaved kids, I wonder what their early childhood must have been like, what environment they must have grown up in, how his/her parents must have handled discipline matters. Maybe I am being too harsh but I do see direct correlation between bratty behavior and ineffective discipline.

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