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Spoilt brats and indulgent parents

Discussion in 'Cheeniya's Senile Ramblings' started by Cheeniya, Jan 26, 2008.

  1. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    If a poll is conducted for selecting the most Indulgent Parents in the current cycle of the four yugas, I have no doubt that Dritharashtra and Gandhari would just walk away with the coveted Trophy. But if you consider the following points, you would agree that their indulgence was more to be pitied than censured. They were not born indulgent as many might think but their indulgent nature was forced on them. I would rather rate them as helpless but not indulgent.

    Let us be fair to them. If you had a hundred children of the same age group, would you be as effective in enforcing discipline among them as the Mother Superior of the most austere nunneries in the world? Let alone hundred, even if you had four of them spaced at one year apart, you would throw up your hands and look heavenwards! To add to the problem, D was blind and, I would say fortunately, that saved him from the trauma of having to witness his sons’ atrocities. His better half, partly to deny herself the faculty of vision which her husband did not have and partly to save herself from having to be a mute witness to her sons’ misdeeds, kept herself blindfolded throughout her life.

    Parental indulgence is a strange thing. What causes it is as mysterious as the factors that may cause a malignant tumour in a person. Millions smoke heavily but only a few get afflicted with lung cancer. It is a fallacy that all parents of a single child are likely to be indulgent. I know quite a few parents who have only one child but are very strict with their children. I also know parents with multiple children who are very indulgent with some or all of their children. My own paternal grandparents had eleven children and numerous grandchildren. My grandma was reported to have been selectively indulgent. Some enjoyed her immeasurable benevolence while the rest were not even allowed to stand in front of her. Having said all this, I must concede that a single child is certainly a risk factor in causing over indulgence. I do not know how to translate ‘chellam kuduthu kutti suvar aakkaradhu’ but it is a classic description of the mindset of the parents of a single child.

    But the more dangerous kind of indulgence is seen among very affluent parents who treat their children as some kind of a show piece to flaunt their own affluence. Recently a boy of sixteen was in the news in Chennai for causing fatal injury to a pedestrian by driving a Mercedes Benz all by himself. Teenagers driving expensive cars at break neck speed with music blaring from the ‘state of the art’ music systems are a common sight in Chennai. I have heard parents boasting in clubs about how they had to yield when their sons pestered them for a Benz or cars of such genre. Children using lethal weapons like a pistol against their classmates are now in the news in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:eek:ffice:smarttags" /><st1:country-region><st1:place>India</st1:place></st1:country-region> too.

    In days of yore, even the Princes were sent for a stint in a Gurukulam where they were expected to perform even menial duties like washing the loin cloths of their teacher. Compare them with the modern parents who are overly indulgent. If they are questioned about it, their answer would be that they grew in very difficult circumstances and they do not want their children to have a similar experience! I know parents who allow their children to buy online stuff like Wimbledon Towels at $100 a piece and crazy things like that!

    Wanting the best and believing in the best are two different things. The first will only create wasters but the second would create trial blazing entrepreneurs. Indulgent parents will only succeed in creating the first but creating a belief in and thirst for the best is possible only for the discerning parents. Blaming the genes for a child getting into bad ways is like blaming the fate for our incompetence. The malefic effect of the genes can certainly be overcome by good upbringing. A father boasting that his best child is the one sitting on the thatched roof with a lighted candle may be a good material for a joke but would you like to be the butt of such a joke?









     
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  2. Nivedi

    Nivedi New IL'ite

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    Dear Cheeniya Sir,

    Every point that you made in this thread is worth entering a parenting guide.

    Everytime I visit India I feel like I am from a small town, when I see the lives of some youngsters. I have been witnessing cousins who would not holiday in India because they cannot talk about it in college. I have a cousin who would change his car every 6 months because it was below his status to drive in a 6 month old car to college. I have cousins and family members asking me to buy them some expensive electronic gadgets as gifts. When I tell them I do'nt buy them for my own use, they tell me I am not fit to live in the US and look at me as if I am a cave-woman. :confused:

    Growing up in 70's and 80's, I did not find much of indulgence even amoung the richer parents. There were rich brats then, but not as much as there are now. The new-age economy has been gushing urban homes with money. Parents themselves are splashing and splurging around. And parents splurge on their children to ease the guilt of spending less time with them. The branded goods market in India is growing well, thanks to all this indulgence.
     
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  3. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Nivedi
    "And parents splurge on their children to ease the guilt of spending less time with them." is a dimension I did not think of. You are very right that there are some parents who turn extremely indulgent to ease their feeling of guilt of not spending quality time with their children. Now that you have pointed it out, several cases of that nature come rushing to my mind. These parents are guilty on two counts. First is not spending their time with the children and second is becoming over indulgent to ease their conscience.

    And I totally agree with you that such intense indulgence as we witness now was not there in the 70's and 80's. The reason that you have adduced for this phenomenon is also quite acceptable. Thanks a lot for your FB!
    Sri
     
  4. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Sri,
    An apt topic for today !
    You have rightly quoted an example from Mahabharatha. Ramayna talks about a parent, who adored his son, but showed no indulgence, giving more importance to honouring his promise.
    Indulgence is a mild word and only that leads to spoilt brats. With IT jobs for either or both parents, there is plenty of money in the family and the children become more demanding. Both parents together earning more than 15 lakhs per annum is a common thing in a place like Chennai. In our generation, we used to get our children toffee boxes to be carried to school for birthdays. Now there is nothing less for a child’s birthday, than a party in Pizza hut or the like, conducted by an event manager, thematically !
    Well, tomorrow I have an invitation to attend a dinner in a leading 5 star Hotel, to be hosted by the parents of a 10 year old boy in connection with his upanayanam ! The boy agreed to have his upanayanam only on that condition ! How much more indulgent can parents be ?
    But, one thing, I notice is, you and I, as grandparents can only watch all these silently – we dare not open our mouths for obvious reasons !
    Love,
    Chithra.
     
  5. swethakrishnan

    swethakrishnan Senior IL'ite

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    Dear Cheeniya sir,

    Ur post was really thought provoking. As a child (if I can call myself one at the age of 19!!!), I really feel that children of indulgent parents are always brats, and the children cant be blamed for it! When the children are not accountable to anyone, they can always have it their way.

    As the saying goes, 'Man is never happy with what he has, he always wants more'. When parents provide the 'best items' to their children, the children always ask for something better. I know of some classmates of mine who change their mobile phone model atleast once in 4 months. They call it 'upgrading to a better model' but I think its sheer indulgence. And the fact that their parents approve of this is even more shocking!

    Every parent wants to give their children a better life than they enjoyed themselves. But in the process, they end up satisfying each desire of the child; sometimes its not even a desire! Everything that their children think of must be given to them immediately. Isn't that a really foolish approach? They end up turning their children into brats ... spoilt brats!

    Agreed that every child is special to parents. But that does not mean that parents must treat them like some big VVIPs and give in to all their demands !!! A line has to be drawn somewhere ...
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2008
  6. Anandchitra

    Anandchitra IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Cheeniya Sir
    Very interesting thread topic and relevant to todays world as well. Parental indulgence.. Its been there through the ages and continues till today. And ofcourse affluence adds its own trappings to this dilemma. If I remember correctly you did mention on one of your threads that you did spend long hours in clubs reaching your home after children had gone to bed. That too is a style of parenting. Our upbringing, our education, our exposure to the outside world all plays a role in the way we shape the child we bring up. Most parents these days think its the norm to leave child in daycare. Has one even seen how kids are cared for in an institutional environement? And the product could likely be a spoilt brat. If you dont want to take the time and effort and energy to parent then this is what you get. This spoilt brat has been there from before too. Maybe there are more spoilt brats today but there are more working parents today and more money going around too and more parents making up for not being there too. Its just the day and age we are living in.
     
  7. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Chithra
    Indulgence, in its extreme form, has nothing to do with affluence. I had a colleague in SBI in the clerical cadre in 1969. His wife was also a clerk in the Bank. Both belonged to different religions. They had a son who had some congenital ailment. Because the child was sick, both parents pampered the child beyond their means. Their parental indulgence made them borrow heavily from the market and a stage came when both their salaries were not adequate even to pay off the debts. Because of this, they couldn't find enough resources for the treatment of their ailing son. The child died when he was six. The shattered parents found it very hard to cope with this enormous loss. The burden of their debts caused untold misery to them. One day, they ended their lives by consuming poison.

    You have made a very strong point in your statement "you and I, as grandparents can only watch all these silently – we dare not open our mouths for obvious reasons !" I am of the strong view that the number of times the mouth is opened in a day should be inversely proportionate to the age of the person! Beyond seventy, it should be opened only for eating and yawning. I have already started practising economy of words.

    Sri
     
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  8. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Sri,
    Let us not think, age is the yardstick ! Both of us are not yet 70. My first born being a daughter, I became a very young grand mother as well.:tongue
    So, the age or stage to start practising "shut mouth" is the grand parental status !
    I am following it for long, now !
    Love,
    Chithra.
     
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  9. swethakrishnan

    swethakrishnan Senior IL'ite

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    Sri Sir and Chitra Aunty,

    U both are really funny ...

    but I still cant understand y u have to practice the 'shut mouth' thing ...
     
  10. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear SK
    I am amazed that you carry a highly mature head on such young shoulders! You have analysed the problem to a nicety. The desire to satisfy every need of the child can be detrimental to both the parents and the child. The parents may find it easy in the initial stages but as the child grows up, the demands can become too large to cope with. I am saying this particularly with reference to middle class parents. When the child finds that his demands are not being met, he may become 'cranky' or to use the word of the modern parent, 'hyper'! Apart from the damage caused by too much indulgence, a sudden denial or a sudden change in the parental attitude may cause serious aberration in the child's outlook.

    You are absolutely right that a line must be drawn somewhere for the stakes involved are indeed too high
    Sri
     

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