“I am a mother of two and while it is a beautiful journey, seeing them grow and turn into fabulous kids day by day, I have had my fair bit of challenges and I am sure there are more to come..
These articles that I am going to share are a part of my experiences as a mother, and I hope you can relate to them..”
Kids and a world with too many choices..
I walked into a toy store with my 10 year old daughter to get her a birthday gift and was overwhelmed with the variety of things available for kids. I think I was happier to be there than her and my eyes were twinkling with excitement more than hers.
I certainly didn’t have this treasure trove to pick and choose from when I was growing up..
Jumping with excitement, I dragged her to the counter that had her favourite dolls displayed. While we stared at the wall made of dolls, dressed in various themes, I realised that she already had quite few of them.
I questioned myself, “Why does she need one more?”
I still asked her if she liked any and saw the difficulty she was having in deciding which one… (obviously, after owning 20 identical dolls dressed in different outfits, she couldn’t be blamed). After a while, what took over, was sheer lack of interest from her side..
I pretty much got the same reaction at almost every counter and soon both of us decided to postpone the toy shopping and do something else.
A reality check: With the abundance of choices that I gave my kid, the excitement of a special gift had come down to ‘one more’.
On my way out, we saw this boy crying for a toy gun and his mother telling him that he had six similar guns at home. The boys reply was, “But not with this color and this size bullets”. Soon there was a full fledged tantrum, with him lying on the floor and howling, and the mother, literally in tears, buying him the ‘special gun’.
As I walked out of the store, I stopped and thought to myself –
How much is enough for our kids?? Why six guns? Why 20 dolls? Why numerous building sets? Why 200 books in every kids personal library? What happened to visiting public library where we borrowed two books at a time?
While growing up we were happy with one doll, probably no guns, one or two legos and basic art material and we did manage to keep ourselves busy.. And very happy..
Modern parenting is very different from parenting style of the past; Not saying either of them are wrong or right. Infact parenting methods of today has its own positives..
But somewhere I feel, we parents have forgotten to say “NO’ to our kids and choices being given to them are way too many..
It doesn’t mean that if I had one doll to play with, my child too should have just one; but certainly not twenty!!
A child’s room doesn’t need to look like a toy store. If I put myself in there place, I would find it overwhelming to decide which toy to play with. Pacing out the rate at which we get them toys will be more fun for them as the excitement of something new will always be there.
Also, cause of the variety available, a child will never engage with one thing for an adequate period of time and this can have an impact on his/her interests and attention span.
Also, don’t they somewhere lose the value of things??
I am not in favour of depriving a child of any thing, but I strongly believe that flooding them with million things is not good either..
Who knew a trip to the toy store could be so enlightening!!
Unfortunately, the choices we give our kids is not restricted to what we buy for them.
I met this couple recently, who bought a car way beyond their budget cause their 8 year old son wanted that car. Their words exactly, “He said he’ll never sit in any other car and he cried so much.”
Well, he is an eight year old. We are the grownups. Right??
I feel children should be asked to make age appropriate decisions.
Crying for unreasonable things is not a choice any child should be given.. Right now its tears. As they grow up the tears will replace full fledged tantrums, door banging, gadget breaking and so much more. None of us should have to go through this. Even your child, grown up or not, is not happy going through this.. I genuinely believe that the whole concept that my parents had of ‘nipping things in the bud’ is very important..
I definitely believe that it’s extremely important to let kids make their own decisions. My kids do that. It makes them independent, confident and helps them grow as a person. But wisdom is knowing when to let them choose..
A child cannot decide what house or car you will buy or who you can invite over for a meal, whether its ok to brush teeth or have a bath everyday…whether its ok to wish elders and be respectful, how much television to watch and what to watch on it…. These are decisions a parent needs to make and if not done so, according me, as time passes, the scenario ain’t gonna be very pretty!!
‘ASK’ when you have to ask.
‘TELL’ when you need to tell..
We have a little family tradition. We go for a family meal and a movie every week and we take turns to pick the restaurant and the movie.. Rest have to agree without any argument and come along.
This, I feel, teaches them to respect the choice of others and they learn to work as a family. They learn they are a part of a unit and not the centre of it.
There is one more question I ask myself:
‘Do I hold my children answerable to the choices that they make?’ OR ‘What have they done with those choices?’
No. Not always..
A good time to start then!
This would teach them to be responsible for themselves and not pass the blame onto someone else.. It will make them think before deciding/choosing anything.
This doesn’t have to be a confrontation. It should be a pleasant and a happy conversation. ‘Confrontation’ no one likes; not even adults..
I also feel that maybe with the number of choices that we give our kids today, we are stressing them out a bit.. Some decisions, if we make for them, their life would be a lot easier.. And stress free.. I am sure they will be relieved if they don’t have to decide every aspect of their life. They are kids and don’t have adult decision making capabilities.
But totally my view..
Well, what I had started to write as ‘a little toy store experience with my daughter’, turned to be a really long speech.. 🙂
Everything that I have written is from my point of view. I might be wrong, but parenting is full of learning for me. I learn something new everyday.. And I love to share it with you..