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     Volume 8 Issue 95 | November 20, 2009 |

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Bubble Wrap!

Shayera Moula

Some of us will be well into our 50s and will still be petrified to face our parents in case they find out that we just lost some money, broke something valuable or simply forgot to buy something they needed badly. All those memories of rhythmic smacks on our bottoms will come haunting back in no time -- eternal nightmares! The good end of the bargain is that most of us actually turned out as “good” people in the end of the day. Yes, there are the ones who faced the extremes of this love-hate drama and ended up as rebels but looking back and at the present, most people in our previous generation and many in mine actually respect our parents. Our ambitions are high because we want to please them and somehow that does lead us to becoming successful individuals. As a friend of mine put it, he knew someone whose father used to lock his son with his brothers (four of them in all) in the car garage with the dogs: one is a successful cardiologist, two are successful businessmen, and one is a successful PhD holding professor. “You see the connection now?” he concluded with a matter of fact tone.

But notice how these days parents aren't as strict as they used to be? Child screams for ice cream. Mum says “no”. Child screams at the top of his lungs while marching even louder in one spot. Mother gets child an ice cream to stop the humiliation. Back even in the early 90s that same kid would have gotten whacked so hard that it would bruise a tattoo on his shoulder! Child would shut up, cry, hate his mother to death and then crawl into her lap after 30 minutes. That's old school for you.

According to the study, The Building Character report, in UK, it has claimed that “children aged five with 'tough love' parents were twice as likely to show good character capabilities”. With a data of more than 9,000 households in the UK, they conclude that “Confident, skilful parents adopting a 'tough love' approach to parenting, balancing warmth with discipline, seem to be most effective in terms of generating key character capabilities.”

Aside from parents chanting “live and let live” mottos towards their children, many kids of privileged classes themselves live in a very boxed in culture literally! They walk on a daily basis from their AC homes to their AC cars to their schools, to the AC restaurant back to the AC bedroom right in front of the PS2, television, computer or the cell phone. A couple of things are happening here they are being materialistic, physically weaker, spoilt and self-centred and of course wouldn't survive a day in the real world.

Certain statistics show that reasons for parents to let their children have whatever they want is largely due to the parents' own guilt for not being there enough. With the rise of working mothers, and a rise in working hours in all sectors for both men and women, this is the new Dhaka City nuclear family life we are talking about. The Temple University researchers found that one of the ways to reduce the risk of childhood obesity could simply amount to positive parenting. Their study showed that children who are neglected by their parents are at a higher risk of becoming obese. So here's the equation:

Poor-parenting means child obesity means a rise in insecurity within the child as well as a distance from the real world around him/her. Place yourself in the shoes of 5 year olds staring out the car window. The reality they create for themselves is one ornamented behind a see through frame, where they know they don't belong, or one they don't need to be a part of and so they don't need to care. So then what's the point in assuming that the nation is creating a generation of finely skilled youngsters to help build the country if that generation squeaks at the very thought of putting their shiny shoes in the “dirty soil?” We are actually responsible in molding their skins into being too sensitive for Motherland.

In fact, many of the middle and upper middle class 20 something year olds, in the prime of their youth of course, spend most of their time talking about movies, new eating places, and of course updating their state of boredom on online social network sites. And most of us here actually had a huge playground or could play in the field in front of our house and be bullied into learning self-defense mechanisms all on our own. I can't imagine what the next generation will do for fun and motivation, let alone for the society. If we add two and two here, poor parenting skills and our boxed-in lifestyle would only mean more detachment from social life, more frustration, more drugs and prolonged depression. If parents are too scared to send their children out into the streets, then at least they themselves should spend more quality time shaping their child into a modest and secure individual who can at least respect the parents if not anyone else.


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