Touch of smartness


You can neither accept it right away nor can you reject it outright! Most parents are likely to have experienced this while dealing with ‘the father of man’ and today’s children could be the grandfathers of men!
Parenting is no child’s play. Yet many of them seem resorting to spare-the-rod-and-spoil-the-child mantra when it comes to disciplining kids. That’s the reason most of the so-called naughty children get their knuckles rapped as their moms and dads don’t know how to handle them beyond a point. It goes without saying that parenting has become more demanding in today’s age with technology throwing newer challenges. However, I invariably feel that it’s high time modern parents understood that kids are as good as you are!
The other day when I was sitting at a friend’s place, I saw her nine-year-old daughter demanding her latest iPhone. Mother refused saying it’s expensive. The girl was adamant and the mother not bothered to explain why she was being denied what she badly wanted. I thought mobile could be emotional need of the child, as her parents were constantly glued to their tabs and laptops. It’s obvious that the daughter, who doesn’t own a device, is bound to feel out-of-place. It’s very unlikely at her age she will understand why the mobile is redundant.
It’s true that technology has increased challenges before parents but it has also provided them with options to be innovative, hasn’t it? I recently read an interesting report in New York Times about innovative parenting. A doting mother of five this mom blogger, honored her 13-year-old son’s maturity and growth by buying him an iPhone. What sets her apart is the ‘code of conduct’ she put. She signed a contract with 18 clauses in it! The document is so sane I’m sure the son can’t dare misuse the phone. The first clause read, it was the mommy’s phone and she had loaned it to her son. This would make the son feel obliged instead of thinking it’s his right to demand it.
Besides urging the son to share the passwords and attend all calls from parents, the mother also made it clear that the son would have to pay for it in case it was damaged, fell in toilet or ‘vanished in thin air’. What appealed to me was her attempt to inculcate right values. In the age of technology where everything is just a click away and people can’t breathe without smartphones, here was a mom who felt it essential to tell her child there was a lot more to look to in the world and better things to live beyond a phone.
She urged her son to leave phone home at times and be comfortable with the decision. She drew her attention to the very fact that it (phone) is not alive nor was it an extension of him. Buying the latest iPhone for the son, she left no stone unturned to convince him it’s not everything. That’s the reason she asked him to be patient, not click everything in its camera but store it all in the memory and rely on it. She indeed sounded a rare mom who wanted her son ‘to wonder without googling’.
Finally, she didn’t expect her son to be infallible. She said if the son messed up, he and she would sit down, talk it out and stat afresh. She admitted that mother too was learning, and both of them would be a team.
To me it read like the letter as nice as the one Abraham Lincoln wrote to his son’s headmaster. Of course, no one can expect parents to be prefect, kids included. After all, what all matters is realization that parents too are learning with kids… 
-KanChan

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