'Aunty, your mocktail is boring, spike it up with something hard and lets celebrate. Here, taste mine,' says a tenth class girl in the smug presence of her father. Brushing aside my look of disapproval, he proudly admits his modernity by smoking with his daughter! 'She should not hesitate to indulge in trivialities in the presence of her parents', says her father to me.
Well, this is yet another example of modern urban parenting that exists in today's world. I am a parent of two adolescent daughters and have a social circle, whose ideologies I may not agree with. In the name of ‘modernity’ and ‘open-mindedness’ there are discourtesies being encouraged by quite a few, all stemming out from nuclear set ups, as I have observed. Without sounding conservative, I do check my child’s outfits before she leaves for a party! I try my best to tell her modernity is a way of thinking and not vulgar and impolite deviations.
I have never been a part of a joint set up, but through my husband I have got a fair idea about it. Despite its cons, I do feel that my children have missed on certain courtesies, culture, sharing that gets imbibed naturally in the presence of grandparents and so many others, who get linked through them. Value education, which is completely missing in regular school curriculum's would have found a way into the hearts of my children most spontaneously.
Flash back to when they were infants - I did feel the restriction of not having to take up a job outside, leaving the kids to a day care or something. I was blessed not to have to do that. Bathing while leaving the child alone in the room, not being able to answer the doorbell sometimes and often having to cook while holding a wailing child, may be trifles that I recall with tad discomfort even today. I do not intend drawing a dismal picture of nuclear families. After all they do make children more independent and worldly wise, and that does outline its strength.
However, even today, when my daughters are between 15-18 years of age, I do worry but in different ways. When they are on a holiday and my husband and myself both are away at work with fixed timings, do they have uninvited guests, are they able to warm their meals and have all that I want them to have, is it safe for my younger daughter to catch a rickshaw and go for tuition. Are the conveniences of Internet and mobiles being misused? At the same time, I do not intend suffocating my child's life by imposing strictures arising out of environmental assumptions. Also, I do see my contemporaries, compensating their absence with money. I do wish that my children could interact more with people than with electronic screens.
Although I am happy with my freedom and privacy, I do feel comfortable when my in-laws or parents are staying over at my house. I know that my children are safe and enjoying completely!
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