It’s been a while since I was a fulltime parent (my son is twenty-one), but recalling it is like a reading a good book for the second time; you find nuances and twists that had escaped you the first time around!
Today’s generation faces challenges that are unique.
- Parents grapple with a hectic schedule…. schoolbus, classes, tiffintime, homework, projects!!!….Planning healthy meals, sulks and tantrums, rationing internet time (especially in the pubertal years), teenage rebellion.
- Children have to deal with exams, puberty, playground bullying, hormones and acne, makeup and piercings (and perhaps tattoos), infatuation and puppy love, academic disasters ……..Phew! They are smack in the middle of a mad, mad whirl.
- But let’s not forget the smiles, chuckles, love, pride, hilarity, warmth, affection and hugs as well, that makes it all worthwhile.
Although the term creates the image of an ‘aunty’, saying “Ye Aajkal ke Bache!” with a twist of her lips, her tone carrying matronly incomprehension and old world sarcasm, just how different are Aajkal ke bachhe???
PARENTS ARE OLDER AND EARN MORE – If first-time parents used to be in their early twenties earlier, the urban trend seems to be shifting to the late twenties and thirties. Which means a rather huge generation gap! Incomes are higher, so spending is more on schooling, food, clothes, coaching, holidays.
Consequently we have brand-conscious kids who are used to spending amounts that would have been the monthly income of a family a couple of generations back.
Single kid or just two; so less sharing and more goodies to go around.
Parents are also focused on their progeny with an intensity that is often rather disturbing.
I recently overheard two women discussing their kids’ schooling in the supermarket, their trolleys braked mid-shop. Thirty to forty minutes later, they were still there, oblivious to everything, still discussing…..you guessed it…..their kids. Get a Life, moms!
THEY ARE VERSATILE– Thanks to everyone being a Tiger Mom, kids these days learn a sport, a hobby (painting, music and so on), are involved in other extracurricular activities (debates, oration, etc). If one skill needs them to be still, the next demands energetic running all over. These kids have schedules that rival a CEO’s.
THEY ASK QUESTIONS– lots and lots of them and expect honest answers.
They are irreverent and it is not uncommon for a very young child to question the logic of or to defy a parent’s decision. The person answering the query better buck up and think fast….Even “I don’t know.” is better than a fib.
Upon seeing a pregnant woman, I had to quickly answer some questions posed by our three-year and said that a baby was removed by cutting open mommy’s tummy. My bachha demanded to see my scar immediately! I had had a normal delivery and thus, had no scar. Consequently I had to mumble a retraction. Taught me a lesson, it did!
THEY LISTEN AND REMEMBER –
They are bombarded with information from many sources (television, internet, books, peers)! And absorb it rather fast.
I remember the time a match fixing controversy was all over the news. Our five-year old was certainly paying attention because when he was asked in school, “Do you know who takes decisions in a cricket match?”, he loudly answered “Bookie” instead of “umpire”. ( the teacher must have wondered about us for sure!)
Another time, after watching an anti-smoking campaign as a six-year-old, I had to face an irate neighbor because our son went up to him and said, “You will die of cancer, if you don’t stop smoking!”
When a friend complained about sweaty feet making it difficult to wear shoes, my nine-year old nephew innocently advised, “Why not slip in a sanitary pad into your shoes…they are supposed to be rather absorbent!”
THEY ADAPT AND ADJUST– Actually they do this far better than we imagine or give them credit for. From the age of three years, our son knew that when ‘baba’ (dad) was operating on a patient or busy in the clinic, he could not be disturbed with a phone call, unless it was an emergency. When I had to leave for an emergency case, my little one would wave goodbye. He instinctively knew not to make demands, when we were tired after a day’s work. He appeared for his tenth grade prelims a day after my father passed away, never once asking or demanding my presence in the days that followed.
SEXUALITY– Kids now are savvier about sex and sexuality. An old aunt was once lamenting the fact that her wish for grandchildren was being thwarted as her son showed no signs of getting married, when a cheeky twelve-year-old kid piped up, “He could give you grandkids without getting married, you know!”
TECHSAVVY– “I don’t give my kid parenting advice anymore….he has an app for that!” A parent is supposed to have said. Aaj kal ke bachhe are born with some gizmo in their hands, it seems.
The cut umbilical cord is replaced by a gadget-thingy, to which upgrades are available before you can say ‘techno’, which they seem to master easy as breathing and to which they remain attached throughout life. ‘When stuck with techno-gadgets, ask your kid!’ is the Modern Mantra.
Just a few generations back, we were the Aajkal ke bachhe ….frustrating our parents, yet ultimately making them proud; challenging the norm and pushing the envelope, changing things…..raising the bar for the next generation in many ways. Naturally, the bachhe we have had the good fortune of parenting will be true to tradition and do the same.
#This blogger contest is supported by Kid Social Shell, a unique digital parenting platform with 11 gaming-learning apps. Use it play 3D nursery rhymes, counting number games, shapes games, fun math worksheets, coloring games and more!
Images from FreeDigitalPhotos- By Jesadaphorn, Stuart Miles, Ambro, David Castillo Dominici, Twobee, Sujin Jetkasettakorn, Withaya Phonsawat,