As the two year old grew restless and cranky, I watched to see how his parents would respond. He had been throwing a tantrum for 5 minutes. They reacted more than responded. Out came the smart phone from the bag, was handed over and the child was all quiet in a matter of seconds, totally engrossed in the gadget. This is a true story….
As I walked out of the school’s auditorium, I could see my daughter with her friends. They had not met in months as my daughter had moved to a new school. They all missed each other. Two of them came over and gave such a tight hug to my daughter and one of them started crying. As they hugged each other, they drew comfort and everything settled in so quickly. This is the pacifier that I am used to - The human touch. Most of the times, no words are needed. There is no better pacifier in this world than the touch of the mother or father or a very good friend or relative.
I am still wondering how we got to a situation where we managed to get a gadget to become a pacifier instead of someone who we know and love. We are in a world of instant gratification. We have improved our standards of living and have reached a stage where we do not want to say “No” to our children – ever!!! So much so that we do not differentiate between a need or a want. Everything is satiated in minutes. The children don’t have to wait and over a period of time, they do not want to wait.
I do sincerely believe that we will be judged by history as a series of generations that did not know how to raise our children. This is also because we are so busy in our own lives – work, commute, visiting friends, some fun time, etc. that we do not have time for our children – so, we let technology take over and outsource bringing up our children with Schools, Day Care Centres, Nannies, Grand-parents….and, of course, Technology - the Television/Play Stations/Smart Phones set the rules.
I prefer my children playing football on the field and not on a smart phone or laptop. They need to fall, get hurt, fight with their friends, make up with them in no time, run around, sweat, roll in the sand, etc….if they do not do these, they grow up to be loners with a whole load of friends on Facebook or We Chat or the likes…I am sure you get the drift (no offence meant to Facebook or We Chat).
I have seen a significant increase in children in the age group of 2 to 6 with developmental delays – could be speech delay, unable to get along with other children, children lost in themselves, children not being able to concentrate or focus on anything for even 10 seconds, children not wanting to play…and the list goes on. I have also seen a significant increase in the number of parents who do not want their children to play out in the sand or under the sun, want soft flooring in play areas so that their children don’t get hurt if they fall, want sponge padded cricket bats and balls…here again, the list goes on.
I guess, we have forgotten the concept of Parenting because we have outsourced it. And for everything, of course, there is Google…I jokingly call such parents as Google Parents – they read up on Google, don’t want to take risks on trying something out with their child and then come back and blame the school when things get rough.
If you chose to become a parent, then, do what is good for your child – spend time with her/him. S/he needs that. If you cannot do this, you are not doing your role as a parent. Say “no” when you have to, draw the line, tell children their role in the family, get them to help you in household work, send them out to play with their friends, specify study time, give them time to themselves…If you believe, you cannot do all of this, then, you lose your right to be or become a parent!!!