My house help and I were chatting like any day. I keep on advising her on things which I feel are good for her. And so I had advised her to take up cooking work as it fetches more income. She was telling me about the new work she had taken up. Suddenly she used a C-word while trying to say that those guys were taking her for a ride.
I stopped her and told her not to ever use that kind of swear words in my house. She insisted they did not consider ‘that’ word as slang!
I said, “In this house, it is. No more debating on that”.
On one of the Sundays, I went out with a friend for movie. When I came back I found my husband watching the movie ‘Ye Saali Zindagi’ while ‘the star’ was loitering around playing with his toys (basically making a mess around the house).
I said, “Why are you watching this movie in front of him? As far as I know (since I have seen it), it is full of swear words.”
He said, “The little one is playing. He is neither interested nor watching.”
I said, “He may not be necessarily ‘watching’ in actual sense but surely he is listening and looking once in a while.”
Few days back, my gaming-freak husband was playing ‘Crysis 2’ on PS3.
I said, “You need to stop it. Why don’t you play this after he sleeps, like you usually do?”
He ignored me first since he was so much into the game, but then there’s no telling me off. I insisted.
I said, “There is too much of violence in this game. It is not suitable for him.”
He said, “There’s no blood shown here, and it is not gory. Besides, he is not really watching.”
By which time, ‘the star’ had comfortably settled himself next to his dad.
Though he grudgingly switched the game off, my husband was not entirely convinced how that game was going to influence the little one.
I am sure, by now you have understood where I am heading to.
How do you define Violence? What is suitable or not suitable or grotesque or inappropriate for kids?
Swear words are also a huge grey area and depends on person to person.
My philosophy is simple:
- Any sort of violence, shooting, murder, blood, fighting, hurting others and the likes are not suitable for the little one. For that matter, even cartoons show a lot of hitting and fighting. Thankfully, we don’t watch TV, so we are saved a lot of misery.
- Any sort of slangs, abuses, swear words are definitely not allowed. No matter who is saying it, I stop them right away. And that applies to a lot of songs and so-called ‘item songs’. Again, I am thankful we are ‘no-TV’ people. Surprisingly, so many slangs have made their way into our daily conversations that they no longer feel like slangs. But with a young kid trying to mimic us, we have to be extremely cautious.
Of course, ‘the star’ would get exposed to all these in the big bad world but there is always the right age to handle these things. In case of violence shown on TV or games, a child, especially so young, cannot differentiate between reality and fantasy. A young child lacks the life’s experiences to understand the difference, and therefore accepts such behaviour as normal and accepted.
I am really keen to know the views of contemporaries as well as parents of the older children.
NOTE: To be fair to my husband, he is an awesome dad, always careful about the impressionable age ‘the star’ is in. But as parents, we are learning and getting aware about a lot of things which we never really thought about at length before. And just to make it even, let me also confess that I used an F-word while making a video of ‘the star’. Of course, he did not hear me as I swore under my breath, but it is both funny and embarrassing that it is clearly audible in the video. And guess who discovered this little secret? My husband!
Reema Sahay is a stay-at-home mom who spends her days running after her very curious toddler, ‘the star’, and catching up on books when he naps. She writes about charms and challenges of life at Pen Paper and shares her passion for books at Recommend Books. She sometimes feels that her 5.5 years stint in Marketing Communication was in another life.