Ours (those of us born between 1965 to 1980) and the generations before us have grown up by luck. The current kid gen is growing up by design.
24-hr parenting – accompanying 8-9 year olds in building elevators lest they get trapped. We discovered the hard way that alarm buttons on lifts (what elevators were called those days) do not work usually, and screaming for the building watchman is the only way out from stopped lifts. Dropping to school by cars and school buses; walking to school is passé – too dangerous with all those cars around. Sending the nanny (yes, one for each child) downstairs while the kid’s playing in the building compound – what if the watchman takes the kid away ?
Screen time control – I thought I had coined a new parenting paradigm when I proudly proclaimed to the kid that she can have total time of 1.5 hrs/week day and 3 hrs / weekend day between PC, TV, Ipad. Found to my dismay that Screen Time is a tested concept in the west and by extension, in SoBo, and possibly Bandra W. Now, am waiting for a logging device which tracks hours of usage by each member of the family and hence, calculates the kid’s Screen Time usage for the day…possibly, posting it on my Twitter when the allowed time is exceeded.
New parenting requirements – Parents HAVE TO use content filters, hobby class portfolio design, facebook shadowing, friend profiling. Content filters for screening what the kid is upto on the Internet, Ipad and even on the once-friendly TV (post 11pm programs of our time jostle for the 8pm slots nowadays). Hobby Class portfolio design is a process / methodology of choosing the optimal number and type of hobby classes for the kid. I was reading an interview of the global chairman of one of the Big 3 Strategy Consulting firms who had rejected all candidates from St Stephens, saying that he was looking for grads with at least 5 hobbies – for juggling multiple responsibilities and capabilities…no wonder Galleon Fund (Rajarathinam-Rajat Gupta) was running for so many years without getting caught.
Facebook shadowing is getting some innocuous-looking friend of yours into the “Friends List” of your daughter. This should be followed up by only partly using the info given by your friend and sparingly for accosting your daughter. Finally, Friend Profiling – which friend will have a positive effect on my child and which one will have a negative effect – short term / long term. How do you do that ? Find background of parents of the friend, where do they live, are grand parents educated, which cars do the family drive – there, you have the profile ready – choose friends for your kid with care.
Serious parenting nowadays may also involve going for some “teaching courses”. How to help your child with homework and with tips to accelerate learning ? The sagacious teacher advocating “self-learning” and “natural growth of your child” is akin to the 70-year old doctor, who tells you again and again that your malady will cure on its own and BTW, here is a white tablet. Well, he takes only Rs 50 as his fee and there you go, the case is solved. Need to find a youngish, garrulous Rs 500 per trip doctor. Similarly, you need to get trained yourself for teaching the kid, in case you are anti-tuitions like me. Teaching at home should also be done professionally. A Billion amateur teachers at home is risky for the next gen.
What a design !!