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Children Should Experience Artificial Hardships?

Discussion in 'Schoolgoers & Teens' started by Rihana, Dec 16, 2018.

  1. Rihana

    Rihana IL Hall of Fame

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    We met with some friends earlier today. Most have kids in 8th grade and up. Some have kids who had just come home from college for the holidays and were lounging around the house like kings and queens.

    We saw that a new bus-stop has been added closer to our area. Talk turned to how we used to take buses, walk long distances to the kirana store, or ride cycles, and how "these kids now-a-days don't know what struggle is."

    We used to have regular power-cuts and studied for exams in candle light or lantern light. For these kids "no network coverage is the end of the world." Of course no internet and few or no libraries outside of school. Such experiences shaped us and we learnt to appreciate having a car or 24-hour power supply or being able to buy books without looking at the price.

    Should we parents create artificial or simulated hardships so our children also learn the value of things that they get so easily?
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    Last edited: Dec 16, 2018
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  2. Rihana

    Rihana IL Hall of Fame

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    My first reaction was that creating hardships or similar learning opportunity will simply mean more work for the parent and more fodder for the child to argue with parent. But there is a point -- unless the child experiences a hardship, he or she will not really learn the value of what they have. Showing them that there are poorer people and volunteering in homeless shelter etc. doesn't help much. That is a 2 hour voluntary outing, not an immersion experience.
     
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  3. joylokhi

    joylokhi Platinum IL'ite

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    Mine, is a senior citizen's opinion on this. I have felt too often that children these days get enough and more than what is required for their age in most financially stable households. The same situation also would have been true to some extent when we think of the luxuries we would have had when comp[ared to our parents. However, i feel creating or simulating hardships for children may not work as children these days on an average are clever enough (as seen from behaviour of my grandchildren too) to know and understand situations.
    What is essential is that parents inculcate by actions what they expect their children to understand. By this, keeping children on a pedestal, seeing to their comforts to the extent that they feel they have a right to be waited on hand and foot by their parents , fulfilling their every need or rather wants, instantly, all this goes to them getting used to all this.
     
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  4. Rihana

    Rihana IL Hall of Fame

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    "They feel they have a right to be waited on hand and foot by their parents" sums it up for many parents. We do this sometimes or all times even while there is a nagging voice in the back of the mind that it is not right. Sometimes, one parent does it in spite of the other parent objecting.
     
  5. MalStrom

    MalStrom Platinum IL'ite

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    I don't think parents should invent artificial situations for children in order to show them struggles. We grew up in such conditions as walking everywhere, taking buses, living in hostels without fan or AC, eating subpar mess food, coping with power cuts etc but in our minds they were not hardships at the time, just life as it was happening. Its only now when we look back from the comforts of our blessed current lives that we realize that these would have been considered difficulties by people coming from more advanced nations. My cousins who were raised in the US would gasp when they came for vacations but we would collectively laugh them off as we didn't know any different.
    Children were also treated in a much more matter of fact manner. All our needs and several of our wants were provided for but we were certainly not the center of attention as our parents and grandparents were pre-occupied with making sure we had a decent standard of living.
    I have seen the gamut when it comes to kids in my own and extended family as well as friends. The ones who have done the best job are those who have raised their children with good manners as well as a sense of appreciation for what they have. These kids are not perfect, but they are polite, cheerful, helpful and don't incessantly whine for things they want. This has been accomplished in a number of ways. Some have brought up kids with involvement in community service, others make sure to keep in touch with their roots in their native countries, and they all try to adhere to the principle of meeting all the necessities but not necessarily all of their desires. Empathy is an important trait to inculcate in a world filled with ease.
    One of my friends has a tradition I hope to emulate in my own family. Each night they go around the dinner table and say one thing they are grateful for that day, as well as what they did to make someone else's day better.
     
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  6. Srama

    Srama Finest Post Winner

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    Dear @Rihana,

    NO! On the other hand that I do believe that our children have enough difficulties that they have to learn to cope and they are far removed and more complex than the ones we might have gone through. We got a few things easy too and not everything was difficult. Observing children around me, I want to be there identifying their difficulties with them and help them actually navigate through them. It is incredible, the changes that are happening. I am pretty positive that if networks fails, some children may actually heave a sigh of relief that they don't have to be attached to THAT phone.

    Talking of bus stops my pet peeve has been not the bus stops getting nearer but parents dropping their kids off to school despite the bus service because they get another 15 minutes of school. I think we need to be aware that it is not about us and what we went through but about them - not in a you are the king of the world but hey, I get it. How can I help? May be I am wring....but ...
     
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  7. Amica

    Amica IL Hall of Fame

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    Every generation thinks that the next one has it too easy.

    I remember my parents and grandparents bemoaning the fact that we were spoiled rotten and things came too easy for us. Yet we turned out fine.

    The fact is that each generation has its own challenges. I'm not sure I could handle the pressures of growing up as well as these kids do.

    I thank God every day that I was born when and where I was. I would not want to live with the pressure of social media 24/7. I am so very grateful that my worst moments were not recorded and uploaded for all to see. I would have been mortified if my teenage life were documented for posterity.

    Growing up, I didn't know the meaning of discrimination. I didn't know my classmates' castes. I didn't have to worry about being bullied for the color of my skin. And I was never at risk of being accused of terrorism simply because of the way I looked.

    I was never under peer pressure to smoke, drink or do drugs.

    I never had to deal with being "different." Never had to explain why I couldn't go on a date or to a party or a sleepover at a random friend's place.

    I never worried about feeling like a loser because my immigrant parents wouldn't let me do the things my peers did.

    And never once did I fear a school shooting.

    Sure we walked and cycled and used public transportation, but all in all we had it way easier than kids do today.

    Waiting on children hand and foot is an individual family thing, no? Some of us had the same royal treatment growing up and survived just fine. Today, with both parents working in most families, parents simply don't have the luxury of being there whenever their kids need them. Wanting to spoil kids when possible is fine IMO.

    TLDR: No need for artificial hardships for anyone. Life is challenging enough for today's kiddos — albeit in a different way.
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2018
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  8. Rihana

    Rihana IL Hall of Fame

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    I mostly agree with the above and even wrote something along these lines in another thread. But, on closer examination, I think we parents are more focused on providing comforts to children beyond what is needed. We do not let them want anything for long.

    This. Parents are still pre-occupied with work but also make children the center of attention more than is healthy. Am guilty of generalizing here.

    True. It can be accomplished in a number of ways. But nothing compares to the lessons I learnt by having to struggle for things that others got easily.
     
  9. Rihana

    Rihana IL Hall of Fame

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    They also have more resources, access to counselors, parents who are more into "am I doing the right in my parenting" than we had.
     
  10. Rihana

    Rihana IL Hall of Fame

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    Agree with what you have written.

    By artificial hardship, I actually had in mind requiring teenager or high-schooler to work at a part-time job outside the home even though the money is not needed. Volunteering does not give the same experience. And, making them pay for things like gas, insurance when they start driving.
     

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