Friday, April 27, 2007

Kids gone wild?

Every time I look at my 2 year old daughter, in all her innocence, my heart gushes with love. I what I can do to always protect her and at the same time instill the "right" set of values in her. Now I say "right set" but I realize it is vague and ambiguous. Before I go off too much on a tangent, let me relate the incident which has set me off today.

My grandfather who is 88 years old lives in Mumbai. He and a few other friends of his (in the 70+ age group go for walks each evening. We live in a small gated community with many children of all ages. A few days ago as he was walking with his friends, a group of 8-9 year olds were cycling full speed and one of them hit my grandfather with his cycle. I mean the kid was cycling so fast, he cycled straight into him from the back!! I am shocked and amazed. I child of 8-9, I expect should be responsible enough to know that he/she needs to slow down when there are others on the road. My grandfather was helped home by his other friends but the person involved just said "Sorry Uncle, didn’t you hear the cycle bell?" and ran off!!!! My grandfather was hit so badly his shirt was torn and he had to be helped home.

What do parents teach their children in the name of basic courtesy, manners and consideration for others? I mean a child of 9 years surely has enough control over a bicycle that they can stop and avoid hitting others. It's not that the roads are very steep or anything that he lost control of the cycle or it's speed. On a similar note, on my last trip to India, I noticed so many times little teeny boppers shouting at or ordering about older people be it their driver, maali or maids. It shocks me and I wonder have their parents not taught them even basics of respecting elders no matter how rich or poor they may be? Am I right in blaming the parents for this behavior? What can I do to make sure that a few years down the line, it is not my child doing the same? I'd love to hear what all you other Moms think about this.

7 comments:

GettingThereNow said...

Very thought provoking post. You are absolutely right in blaming the parent. Not only are they not teaching their kids good manners, I'll bet my most expensive pair of shoes (:D) that they are teaching them BAD manners by example. Like shouting at the driver and mali - I am sure kids are picking at least some of it from their elders and when they are not reprimanded for that behaviour they assume it is alright for them to do so.

As for how to teach your daughter good manners and values? I think you already are on the right path. If you realize what is right or wrong, and you realize that kids need to be taught good manners, I am sure you will be one very vigilant parent about how her kid behaves. I have learnt from my personal experience that kids learn the best from example. AND perseverance counts. If your kid misbehaves 15 times even after reminders, you HAVE to remind him/her the 16th time as well. If they can keep at the bad behaviour, we HAVE to keep reminding them. I see many parents making the mistake of giving up after a few times saying "He/She just doesn't listen". It is OUR job, as parents, to make them listen.

Sharmi said...

I completely agree with you. Parents should teach the kids how to behave not only with elders, but also younger ones,poor people and the disabled. it should be right from the start. my 3 year old observes a lot from how I talk to him or how My hubby and I talk to each other. he also grasps some words I use by anger and starts repeating the same when he gets annoyed. That very moment makes me realize how wrong I am.
I and My hubby have stopped watching movies when my son is around just because he started watching violence and sex scenes though he did not understand them.
only if there is a good base, there will be a bright future.
I and my hubby have corrected so many mistakes we used to make while talking just because the words used to bounce back at us which shocks us.
we always make sure he says the right words at the right time like sorry and thank you.

Asha said...

SJ,
I blame the parents too but most of the time in that situation.Sometimes when they are teenagers,they do all these just to belong in one of the friends circle and when they come home,they are perfect angels.

We have to teach them when they are very young before the school age to really hone in a basic decent manners,humility and empathy.We cannot molly coddle when they are tiny and then try to tell them to behave later.They have to know when mommy says "no" ,that means "NO"!!Kids test you to the max,specially around 11 or 12yrs just to see how far they can go!:D

Kids always should know who is in control and that little fear of "getting in trouble" or "fear of GOD" as we say,should be there from young age.Parents being "friends" with kids is ok as long as the kids know their boundaries and where parents need to stop and be a parent!

Sorry about your grandpa! I can tell you many bad incidents happened to me with these 10-11yr olds when I was a teenager in India walking on the roads and that disgusts me!!It is so sad that these young kids are growing like street urchins without any control or conscience!

Reena said...

Very good topic. I have seen this scenario in US too among some kids. It is sad that in the midst of teaching alphabets and numbers, parents forget the most important thing, etiquette and politeness. That is what I taught my daughter first. She is 3 now but she learned to say thank you and sorry when she started speaking. Now she wishes us morning and evening and a hello to whoever comes home. For me that is most important. It is our job to bring up a well mannered child and not to promote their aggressive behaviour. I have seen some kids going to other houses and jumping on couches and throwing things and their parents just ignore it. I have stopped inviting such people to my home.

Saheli said...

SJ,
I hope your grandpa is fine. Getting hurt at this age is not good. Best wishes for his good health.
I also agree that parents instill the good values in kids. As they grow older we cannot stop teaching them. As other moms said you have to be persistent.
Always try to condemn the behaviour than criticizing them.
I think we all DMC moms are already taken a step towards making our kids better people by joining this club. Whether you post or come and read it doesn't matter. We all have this urge to get all the help possible from other moms, from their experiences. This shows we may not be perfect but we are definitely trying to be good parents raising good kids.

O' my... I think I just got carried away. Anyways, good post.
Keep them coming!

Sandeepa said...

Oh SJ
Hope your grandfather is fine now.

I was thinking on your post and what reena says that "politeness and etiquette" is more important than all aphabets and numbers is so true.

At a small age I think parents play a major role in teaching manners to kids. But for teenagers, friends are a lot of influence too.

But maybe instilling some values & discipline in them at a young age will make a better base for the future

swapna said...

Hi SJ
Interesting post.As everybody said it is the parent's duty to grow child with courtesy and good manners.
Now a days in India also the parents are not taking an interesting part in the child's behavior and all .We have to educate them from the beginning.

Hi sharmi..
For me also sometimes it happens.my daugter is also of 3 years and she imitates me a lot.i have to be so careful while speaking in front of her.Sometimes it will be like that i have to control my anger and have patience.