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Values & Education

Parenting Case Study

Since the last 6 months, I am observing two sets of families very closely. The reason for doing so? Well, they are our friends and they both have a lot of similarities.

Parenting Case Study

Both are proud parents of 5-year-old daughters. Both set of parents dote on their daughters, in fact the daughters are the ‘large’ apples of their eyes. Both have exactly the same parenting style.

And what’s their parenting style? To put it simply, in their respective families, the child is the boss.

Yes, it is true. Both the parents do exactly what the child tells them to do.

On different occasions that we have met them at our place or theirs (separately), the girls never allowed us to talk uninterrupted even for 2 minutes. They’d come in with one demand after the other and the parents gladly gave in to whatever their child wanted at that point of time. The best was that the parents did it with a smile, all the time. Seeing them behave this way, irked us, but not them.

Ok, a bit of background… In family A, the daughter was born after 14 years of marriage. Their mantra of parenting, “Nobody will say anything to the child, let her do whatever she wants”.

Family B went through a turbulent time for a year or so, due to illness of a maternal grandparent and she is no more now. So, according to them their child is the only bright spot in their lives. They too believe in the same mantra, “She is just a child, let her do whatever she wants”.

So, because of this parenting style, how do these little kids behave?

Well, they have no manners, are rude, like to boss around with other kids (and adults too), talk a lot (are too mature in language), hit or spit on people, if anybody (other than the family) does not agree to their demands, they can’t take a ‘No’ for an answer… There are no rules or guidelines for these kids.

Their eating habits… they just don’t eat anything other than a chapati. And that too without any dal or vegetable. The chapati has to be fed by either of the parents while the child jumps up and down the sofa or simply runs around. In family A, the parents feed her milk with a spoon. (That’s because she hates milk and the parents believe that “Milk is very important”. So, if their 5-year-old daughter has 10 spoons of milk in a day, it is a celebration in the family).

On every trip with the kid in the market, a toy is bought, simply because the child asked for it. The result, there are hundreds of toys lying around and all battered and uncared for.

Incidentally, both the girls are good at studies.

So, what do you think of this parenting style? How will this impact the child’s growth and development, both physical as well as emotional? Will the child be able to ‘behave’ well and change her habits in the later years? When will the child learn about value systems? Is this parenting style good for the child?

A former pharmaceutical professional-turned-soft-skills facilitator for corporates and mother of  a 11 year old, Shilpa Garg blogs at