Some 4 years back many of us friends practiced yoga at a common friends place. This friend had two small kids aged 2 and 4 and so she found it convenient to host the yoga teacher rather than move out during morning hours. We were also comfortable with the arrangement.
It so happened one day after the yoga practice, I saw the CD cover of the Hindi movie “Thoda pyar, Thoda magic” in the drawing hall floor near the sofa and told my friend about it. My assumption was that it belonged to Bigflix video library and so just thought of reminding that it be kept for safe keep and its return. She made a note of it and said her younger one had thrown it there.
The next day I saw the CD cover (along with CD) lying on the parapet wall outside her home. I brought it inside the house while going in for yoga and told her to keep it safely; after all it had to be returned to Bigflix. The conversation between me and my friend went like this.
She said in Hindi “Yeh toh personal copy hai, Asha. Not Big flix’s.” (this is my personal copy)
“Par kyon liya, manu, yeh to bigflix mein bhi hain aur tum to jaati ho na roz vahan” (but why did you buy? It is available on Bigflix and you go to the library daily)
“Kya karein lena padta hain na….” she said and continued (what to do, I am forced to buy)
“Arrey bacche bahut ziddi ho gaye Asha. Samajh mein nahi aata kya karoon, har baar mein Ratnadeep (Supermarket) jaati hoon to zid karte hain CD or kuch toy lene ke liye” (the kids have become very stubborn, I have to buy them every time I go to the supermarket) .
And believe me, she goes to the supermarket every alternate day to get fresh groceries.
I just sympathized (no, I did not advice) and put my yoga mat for the practice thus ending the conversation.
But inside I was thinking it was my friends own making. She pampered the kids so much as if there was no value for money. Each time she went out to the super market she made an additional purchase of spending for a Movie CD which was anywhere around Rs 350, expensive toys or those expensive imported toy lollipops for both of them.
It was a competition between her children and another friends children who were twins and her elder child’s age. If the twins had it, then she ensured her children must have a better version. This ego competition was started by my friend, later her elder daughter aged 4 picked it up and now the ritual of buying unwanted expensive indulgence continues. Now my friend is lamenting over this. But, still I feel she has time to correct this as she has realized her mistake.
It is not about Manu, I know many parents who compensate their quality time and indulge their children’s fancies. They give in to their whims and tantrums. If parents don’t get them, many children lie die on the mall/shop floor throwing tantrums. It is a common sight.
Many parents working (non-working too) consider parenting a chore and outsource parenting. Their quality time is compensated with these indulgences. This indulgences are fine as long as the children are small, once they grow up to be teens, the same children cannot take ‘NO’ for an answer. It will later result in a child asking for a luxury car which may be beyond the economical means of parents.
There was a true story about how a girl committed suicide because her father sent her in a Santro to school and could not afford to send her in a sedan car. The middle class working parents had availed loan to send her to an upmarket school in Delhi. She was ridiculed by her peers since she travelled by a santro and so she committed suicide. There are many such similar stories in the newspaper in the recent past. A 8th standard boy in my city committed suicide because his father bought him a Chinese mobile instead of a Nokia. (this was in the newspaper)
Children of today have to be taught the value of money. Along with that we have to teach them to handle peer pressure and season them to failure and disappointments. Very recently, I read a boy took his life because he lost first rank by one mark in the medical exam. It is not possible to succeed always. Is it?
There are times when we as parents will be on cross roads. Should we indulge and pamper our children or should we ration their comforts and wants. Of course, all the money that we earn is for them, we must ensure that they value and respect money.
Today, when I go out to spend or buy something, it is my children who tell me “Ma, don’t buy expensive ones, we will outgrow fast, buy inexpensive clothes or they check the price tag against the worth of the product”.
I feel as parents, whatever be our economical status, we have to drive the fact that money does not grow on trees and children should know the value of money and handle peer pressure when they are by their tweens or teens. Instead we as parents should indulge and bond with them over quality time. Lavish them with unconditional love, priceless memories and special human moments which are more precious and will linger in their memory than measuring our love with the lavish branded toys or mobile phones.
Don’t you think?
Asha Balakrishnan is a hardware design engineer by profession, a certified online grader for SAT, GRE, GMAT and other essays by choice, A SAHM, a blogger. Born in Chennai, brought up in Bangalore and now she calls Hyderabad her home. A mother to two teens aged 15 and 13.