Child’s Play

Got this link off Facebook via a friend. It made interesting reading, and struck a chord with me because though Lil D is not exactly an orchid, she is highly sensitive to the environment.

She asks me to cut all labels off her new dresses, she can pick up any odour, she notices things that no one else notices (she embarrassed a friend once by asking her how come she was wearing her husband’s sllippers, or was it T-shirt?; she embarrassed a nurse by asking him why he was wearing the same shirt for the third day in a row!), and she hates really loud and noisy places. She does get very upset too just by our facial expressions; DH and she often fight because she claims that he “glared” at her, and DH is wondering what on earth he did! πŸ™‚

To give another example that took me completely by surprise: once, I had gone to my sister’s place when Lil D was at school. When I picked her up as usual after school, there was absolutely nothing on me to indicate that I had gone out, or where I had gone to. Yet, she immediately asked me if I had gone to my sister’s place! I was quite astounded, and asked her how she knew. She said my clothes had the smell of my sister’s house! :O

Well, I guess I’ve digressed quite a bit from the original intent of the post.

Actually, what sounded even more familiar to me was what was being discussed in the Comments section.

Quoting the last comment on the linked page:

marie from vancouver 5:14 PM on January 1, 2011

Oh for pete’s sake – when we were kids back in the 70’s we played outside everyday, respected our elders, and got spanked on the bum when out of line, we used our imaginations to create games, played jump rope, rode bikes, climbed trees, made forts, hopscotch, and many other games. My parents had us enrolled in batons, baseball, hockey, gymnastics. We kept dogs, rabbits, cats, mice, hamsters, horses, chickens. There were no “peanut allergies” at school and we ate lunches our parents made for us – we did not have a cafeteria to buy lunch. We even brought our pets to show and tell. It seems to me the reason why kids today are super-allergic to their environment has to do with being molly-coddled far too much, it’s like parents today stick their children in a giant plastic bubble and use the TV and video games to babysit or keep them quiet.

It’s funny, but when we mothers go down in the evening, and the kids are playing, we echo almost the exact same sentiments! How we used to play and play and play, and how our kids don’t seem to be doing that any more. How we weren’t pampered in any way, how we just ate everything without a fuss, and how we have to ask them now at every meal to state their preference. How we were worried about what our parents would say if we did badly in a test, how a whack or two was quite the norm, and how now our kids reassure us that it really doesn’t matter if they didn’t do so well in a test, or how the quivering lip is out even before we raise our voices!

I’m reproducing a well-reasoned response to the above comment (visibile if you click on Replies):

TB_YVR 11:17 AM on January 2, 2011
I don’t disagree with you, but blaming video games & reduced outside play is glib. There are other factors. Food is different (consider year-round availability of exotic fruits, hormone manipulated poultry, etc.). Air in cities is different. Household products are different. These differences are at the root of changes we see, e.g. girls getting their 1st period ~1-2 years earlier than they did a generation ago. It’s not just about watching the tube in a bubble.

That is so true. And in the Indian context, the structure of society has changed quite drastically, at least in the urban areas. This too has a major role to play in how our children are growing up.

So what do you think? Are we just being nostalgic, or has play really changed for the worse these days? Are we pampering our kids too much, or is our way really a better way to raise kids? Or is this just another time and way of life, and we’re simply making mountains out of molehills? πŸ˜€

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2 thoughts on “Child’s Play

  1. Hmm as a parent, I’m always questioning my decisions regarding my daughter. If you think of it, maybe our parents never questioned their decision so much :-D. Maybe its because of the information age, of knowing too much that is causing all the toruble.

    As you said, I feel my parents did a good job of bringing me and my brother up. Yes, they beat us, we were scared of them to a certian extent, but it did us good. We played a lot, didn’t have technological stuff as much (didn’t even have cable till I was 16 or 18 I think), used to run/cycle/play on roads (which I can’t even imagine doing in the current Bangalore), rode on buses, went to school by walk/bus/cycle (unlike today’s kids who are dropped off in cars/school vans) and so on. I want my daughter to grow up the way I grew up, but am unsure whether we can even find somethings that we had in the past. I used to climb trees and I probably can’t even find one that my daughter can climb on these days ;-).

    Maybe we are thinking/fussing too much. Who knows? Until our kids actually grow up, there’s no way to determine whether our decisions are right or wrong or maybe even after that ;-). Do what you think is right and hopefully the kids will be alright :).

  2. “Do what you think is right and hopefully the kids will be alright”

    Absolutely agree, Deeps! πŸ™‚

    I’m happy that we live in an apartment complex, because in many ways, it allows the bonding of kids alongside the exposure to different types of families and lifestyles, not unlike the colony life that I experienced when I was young. So I’m not too worried really, just doing what I think is best and leaving the rest to er…whatever! πŸ™‚

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