Kids and parenting

Do today’s kids have it easy?

What a beautiful and carefree childhood we had!! However, do today’s kids have it easy? Let’s see how drastically things have changed between then and now. #firsttimemommy #todayskids #teensandtweensoftoday #todaysparents #parentingstyles

Do today's kids have it easy?

Last weekend, my husband and I were comparing our childhood. He was reminiscing about his childhood friends and his terrace birthday parties, while I was nostalgic of the big neighbourhood gang of kids that I used to play with every evening till the dusk fell or till my mother came searching for me. What a beautiful and carefree childhood we had!! This led to another discussion on whether our childhood was easier than our daughter’s. Do today’s kids have it easy? Let’s see:

Telephones and Smartphones

We had one dial-up phone for the entire family and many families didn’t even have phones. Importance was given to calls of the elder members of the family. And we got to call only when we had missed school. The calls were short too, as there would be someone always saying – “Enough. It costs money, you know?” And STD calls were usually made after 10 pm as they were frightfully expensive.

Most teens and tweens have their personal phones nowadays. With cheap calls and apps, they don’t have to worry about missing important notice or circular from the school.

Doordarshan, Cable TV and Netflix

I was 12 years old when we got the cable TV. I am sure most parents of my generation would have got cable TV around the same age. And did we have kids-centric program? No!! We avidly waited for twice-weekly Chitrahaar and Sunday evening movies on Doordarshan. Today, kids have so many channels of their own and with Netflix and Amazon Prime a regular home feature, they are spoilt for choices.

Family air conditioner to every room air conditioner

I didn’t have an air-conditioner in our bedroom till I turned 22 years. In the terrible heat of Ahmedabad summers, our parents would sometimes agree to my sister and I sleeping in their air-conditioned room. But, my daughter’s room had an air conditioner even before she was born.

Gifts

Just because we wanted something, it was not necessary that we would get it. I don’t even remember getting birthday gifts from my parents. Today’s kids don’t have to wait for their birthdays to get gifts. I had 3 games – Ludo & Snakes and Ladders, Scrabble and Carom Board, while my daughter has more toys and games than they can fit in the cupboards. But, what a beautiful and carefree childhood we had!!

So, yes if we think of these arguments, then yes, our kids are pampered. They get more than what they need. But the question remains – do today’s kids have it easy? Let’s see the other side of the coin.

What a beautiful and carefree childhood we had!! However, do today’s kids have it easy? Let’s see how drastically things have changed between then and now. #firsttimemommy #todayskids #teensandtweensoftoday #todaysparents #parentingstyles

Do today’s kids have it easy?

Future building

Even before a child is born, the parents are building her future. Which school she would go, what they need to do to secure an admission, which classes would be ideal for her? No, I am not kidding. Parents fuss when their child is not able to walk on time or she doesn’t talk when her peers do. Parents enrol their toddlers for phonics and diction classes because an admission to certain schools demands that toddlers should have a clear and comprehensible speech. We had it easy. Any school did just fine for our parents as long as it was close by and the fees were affordable.

Impeccable English

We studied in English medium school and our teachers did expect us to speak in English. But today’s kids are expected to speak in flawless English even before they are potty trained. In India, most kids are bilingual. But, our kids should know at least 3 to 4 including a couple of foreign languages.

Extra curricular activities

We had extra-curricular activities like Kathak, Bharatnatyam, skating, Tae Kwon Do, etc. But if we weren’t interested in them, our parents didn’t fuss. But every kid today is enrolled in minimum two extra-curricular activities (my child included).

Studying hard and harder

All parents expect their kids to study hard. Even we were pushed to get good grades. But nothing compares to the frenzy of today’s parents. With college admission cut offs at 97-98%, I can understand their dilemma.

Being the sole focus of attention

And the best or worst (well, you decide which) thing of all – kids are the sole focus of their parents. Our parents have loved us too and focused on us. With parents of today, their kids are not only their sole focus, but sole obsession. When they love, they smother them. When they push, they drive them mad. Click To Tweet

Now, I understand that the times have changed and we need to step ahead with the evolving world. But, we can still strike a balance between that 80s era and today. Let’s see how:

  • Let your child learn at his own pace. For instance, every child eventually gets potty trained. If your child gets potty trained at 5 years instead of 2 years, it’s alright. It’s not a competition and certainly not the end of the world.
  • Try to understand what your child is good at. Enrol him in a few classes, but if even after sometime, he shows neither the inclination nor aptitude for it, withdraw your child. Put him in another one which he might enjoy.
  • If your child is not good at studies or doesn’t show much interest in it, let him be. There might be other things which he is good at. Everyone needs to make a career or earn enough to sustain, how and in which domain he does, let your child choose that.
  • Stop hovering around your child at all times. It’s not healthy; neither for you, nor for your child. Teach your values well and then trust your child to implement them. Click To Tweet

Parents of all generations have expected their kids to excel, but today’s parents are expecting their kids to be super humans. How could I ever doubt that today’s kids have it easy?

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29 Comments

  1. I agree with you Anshu. I think the carefree childhood we enjoyed is indeed a luxury for today’s kids. Many times I question myself for depriving Mishti of her evening playtime because she has to attend her swimming classes or her summer vacations where she can’t take a break for more than a week because there are important competitions approaching. Most of the times she herself wants to miss birthday parties because o her training. She can’t have ice cream and sweets when she wishes. It is indeed more difficult for these kids even after the materialistic luxuries that they are fortunate to enjoy.

    • mammaspeaks

      Aesha, if Mishti is herself interested and is OK to miss all that, then is OK, because that’s what gives her pleasure. And she knows that’s how she can excel at her skill. However, when parents pressure kids is when the resentment in the kids start later on.

  2. Amarjeet Soniamadaan

    Oh! the 80’s era. The best and carefree time we had. Nowadays I am struggling hard for my son’ s studies. From few months his academic results are going down. Not pressurizing to excel, but still I think he should study, atleast kuchh to. He has interest in cricket, but does it mean I should let him ignore his studies? Can you guide or suggest me something? Really depressed.

    • mammaspeaks

      If he is good at cricket, give him all the opportunties to excel at it, Sonia. However, he still needs to study and not get very good marks, but enough to pass to get to the next class. I have seen many people securing 48-50% in their boards and college doing amazingly well in other fields. It’s the intelligence that counts at the end of the day, not the grades.

  3. Totally agree with you, we are giving a luxury life to our kids, which we didn’t get in our childhood, but in my case I mutually taught them the lesson of everything, money, time and study, but its quite difficult as because of the generation gap.
    But yes I ask them to give their best, winning is not necessary, what is necessary to give your best 🙂

    • mammaspeaks

      Things will be different given there is a lag of 30-35 years, but we can take the best of both worlds and try to give our kids a more stable and sane environment to grow up. 🙂

  4. I completely agree that parents are obsessed. The kids have so many choices today, they are confused what to do 🙂

  5. Gurjeet chhabra

    So beautifully you described our time and today generation kids. I already set same rules, no more hurry to do all at the time. It’s my kid’s interest in which activity he/she like to opt .

    • mammaspeaks

      That’s so heartening to hear, Gurjeet. Kudos to you and your style of parenting.

  6. Bang on post, Anshu. There is no comparison at all between our and our kids childhood. We actually enjoyed ourselves while today, many parents are so obsessed that knowingly unknowingly they put so much pressure on their kids to excel in every field. I too had written something similar sometime back, though it was more on the technology usage.

    • mammaspeaks

      So true – we enjoyed so much and still have such fond memories of it. I wouldn’t want to change a thing of my childhood. I try to give my child as much unstructured play time as possible but she still needs playmates! Where are they?

  7. I agree with most of the points, Anshu. But every generation has their own challenges and demons to battle with. It would be unfair to compare ourselves with our kids.

    One thing I follow as a mother is that I try to let my child enjoy his childhood while he can. Their world is full of technology and I try to bring little nature to his world.

    • mammaspeaks

      I agree that all generations are different and it’s unfair to compare, but it’s inevitable. When I see lack of kids playing at 6 pm because they have classes to attend, it breaks my heart and takes me back to my childhood days when we played and played.

  8. I agree with these points Anshu, but differ a little. Though today’s kids have a lot of pressures, but technology has also made things easier for them. I still remember how I would go to the cyber cafe every evening to complete my high school projects. But, it’s easier for today’s kids. So, it’s upon the parents how they utilise these things and keep a balance between everything. Whether they pamper their child with these or use them wisely.

    • mammaspeaks

      Shivangi, yes even I agree on technology thing – it has made life of today’s kids and parents easier, but then they are expected to fare better because of it. In our times, there was no pressure – if we said we didn’t know anything, teacher and parents accepted that. Today, teachers also expect kids to learn more than she can teach because technology is at the disposal. Parents pamper but push also a lot.

  9. Pressure on kids and on parents is more than ever, I believe. We are pampering them as well as expecting too much from them. Let them have fun and enjoy their childhood and we enjoy the motherhood. 🙂

    • mammaspeaks

      My point exactly..it’s OK not every kid can be an astronaut, so just let him be. Today’s kids are smart enough to know what they want from life – let them take their own decisions, just guide them don’t breathe down their neck all the time. 🙂

  10. I completely agree with you. Kids in many ways have it easy, but the real question is – is it better? Not necessarily. It’s just different. And evolving at a rapid pace, thanks to technology. But not necessarily better or worse.

    And I think while the pressure was there earlier too, mostly it came into force a little later in life, during boards etc. These days the little kids face tremendous expectations right from the very beginning.

    But I feel like the solution to all this is balance. So long as we focus on moderation in all things, we will possibly be fine, and hopefully they will turn out okay. 🙂

    • mammaspeaks

      Well said, Shanaya! We had pressure but only during 10th and 12th boards, other times our parents were pretty casual. Just heard yesterday that 10th std. tuitions are booked in 7th Std, can you imagine the kind of presure today’s parents go through and so much of it is passed down to kids too! We should collectively as a society need to tone down the pressure!

  11. Agree with you 100% Anshu. I had written a post on this subject a little while back. Tell me what you think of it.

    https://balconysunrise.wordpress.com/2018/07/11/gimme-five-barathon-2018/

  12. Shubhra Rastogi

    There is a definite change from the time since we were children and to the time when we have children. Agree we had to work hard to earn what we wanted. Having said this, I feel even kids today are under tremendous pressure. I have seen the mothers of 3 year old’s getting worried about their school curriculum. I mean give the child a breather he/she is just 3 and is not going to loose a race if they don’t focus. I see more competition in parents in a bid that their child should know at least 3-4 languages, participate in 2-3 extra or post school activities. Kids these days hardly play and are always busy scooting of from one class to the other be it sports or tutions. Kids these days are under tremendous pressure. #MyFriendAlexa

    • mammaspeaks

      So agree with you Shubhra, the parents are under tremendous pressure which passes onto the kids! You are right, it’s not as if the kids are going to lose a race, and even if they do – big deal!

  13. I loved this post, so relevant for us parents and kids today. The kids do have it easy in some ways but no all.
    Thanks

    • mammaspeaks

      Agree Inderpreet, kids have it easy where technology and parents’ time are concerned but the amount of pressure they have is tremendous!

  14. Its certainly not easy for kids these days with the stress levels. Being spoilt for choice and not seen failure as the parents hastily come forward to comfort the child is a sure shot recipe for disaster. Its good to give them a taste of the life we lived as kids, atleast in some respects

    • mammaspeaks

      Totally agree with you Akshata, it’s not good to give them every thing they ask for – they should get a taste of our life where we hardly had any toys, got clothes and gifts occasionally.

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