Comparing our growing up days with that of our children is a very common phenomenon. While talking to my friends, we often find ourselves discussing our children’s behavior. Anumita says, “The other day, a friend mentioned that our children today do not understand that they are being rude. I looked at her and completely understood what she was saying. But when I told my middle school going son about it, he looked at me as if I was from another planet, talking in a different language! He could not apprehend when and where he was rude to us or any of his peers to their parents. I sat down to talk to him about it, and then my son from college joined in the conversation. I found out that we were having a talk about two generations. I tried to understand how different generations see and perceive situations and react to it. The shifting values were the core issue.” Here’s what she has to say about dealing with growing up children, in the weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths.
Parents, aunts, uncles, and grandparents have often used the phrase, “when I was of your age….” This sentence is mostly used during the time to discipline our children or wards. The reaction has been various but the winner is the eye roll. I can picture this situation in most houses. Some incidents during the last few years induced me to think about what is so different between our children growing up and us.
Comparing our growing up days with that of our children is a very common phenomenon. While talking to my friends, we often find ourselves discussing our children’s behavior. The other day, a friend mentioned that our children today do not understand that they are being rude. I looked at her and completely understood what she was saying. But when I told my middle school going son about it, he looked at me as if I was from another planet, talking in a different language! He could not apprehend when and where he was rude to us or any of his peers to their parents.
I sat down to talk to him about it, and then my son from college joined in the conversation. I found out that we were having a talk about two generations. I tried to understand how different generations see and perceive situations and react to it. The shifting values were the core issue.
During our conversation, I explained to my children how things were when we were growing up. We would never question about what and why we had to do our chores and our day-to- day work. It was set out for us, by our parents, and we followed it to the tee. We could neither argue nor talk back. My school going child’s eyes bulged out in sheer disbelief. He looked at me in utter amazement. It was comical in some sense to me. And I laughed. He was even more confused and looked at his elder brother asking what I found funny in that situation!
Time changes and so do customs and rituals. With advancement in technology and communication, we have changed largely. I am not sure if I would call our changes as advancement, but it is some kind of a change. I had to reassure my child that we were happy kids. We enjoyed our childhood. Played outdoors till the sun was down and read books, and they were printed not the one glaring from IPads. My elder child smiled. He seemed to be the link between me and my younger son – a horizon of sorts. He could see both sides of the coin (read argument).
In another situation, about two years back, my cousin was chatting with me on a social website. She has daughters and she wanted me to talk to one of her kids. I had not met this child and did not see her growing up. They live in a different continent. So when she asked me to chat with her girl, I was happy that a niece, who I have never met, wanted to know me, even thought it was through a social media. My cousin introduced her and mentioned that her girl was a very intelligent girl. I smiled to myself, imagining my cousin’s pride for her child. My niece came online and before even greeting me, said, “Yes, I am very smart and mom is dumb.” I could not believe my eyes. What was I reading? I was so taken aback with her first sentence on the screen that it took me full two minutes to write back a “hello” to her. I could not hold back my irritation and wrote back to her that she was smart because she has Google to help her do her homework, whereas her mother used books and her brains to do hers. I did offend my cousin in this process, but I felt the need to step up for my generation.
My children do quip up smart retorts often when they try to prove their smartness and intelligence above me or my husband. But, the trick is to stay calm and let them know in no situation this kind of behavior is acceptable. Children test their limits and will always do so. We had done the same, I am sure. The difference is that we did it behind the backs of our elders when we were in groups with our siblings, cousins or friends. Our children today are constantly bombarded with information and this makes them confident and sometimes a bit presumptuous.
Like most relationships, I cannot emphasise more on the importance of proper communication. Responsibilities and duties go hand-in- hand. When we give our children the right to choose, we should also give them the duty to hear us out and explain that choice is an option, not something given. If we find a particular tone, attitude, behavior or situation derogatory or not suitable, the best plan is to let them know our opinion, in no uncertain terms, to them. We need to be polite and firm. Very firm.
When we were growing up, we had different problems and issues to deal with, so does our children. Peer pressure is still a very dominant problem for them. It is essential that they understand where we stand and we understand their limitations. If you are the parent and you make certain rules, stick to it. See that you follow them too and that would be a wonderful way to set an example. Children follow what they experience rather than what is told. Let’s truly practice what we preach.
Growing up was never easy. It will never be. But, the coming of age can be filled with wonderful memories. As each memory is a story, if not more, for the next generation.
Happy growing up once again. This time with your children!
©Anumita Chatterjee Roy
Photos from the internet and the author.
#MotherWrites #GrowingUp #Children #Parenting #Rudeness #Behaviour #GenerationDifference #DifferentTruths
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