My daughter Sahana participated in the Kutty Chutties Program on Sun TV last weekend.
Category Archives: Parenting
I have often been dumb struck by some of the questions that my daughter asks me. What I heard from her a couple of days back was one of the best.
It was a slightly unusual morning… We woke up to some kind of commotion from the kitchen. Apparently, my mom had placed an apple by mistake on the kitchen counter top the previous night and it seemed like a rat had visited, eaten a portion of the apple. She was so upset about Rat at home (particularly in the kitchen) and was telling all of us about what happened… Basically just the usual reaction from anyone when they find Rat’s presence at home and all the usual reaction…
But a very unusual response came from my daughter after hearing my mom and seeing the half eaten apple. She said, “Paati (grandma)… Rat has a small mouth, imagine the difficulty it would have had in eating such a big piece like this…” She questioned my mom, “Why did you not cut them into pieces so that the Rat could have eaten it easily… Every time you ask me to eat apples you cut them into pieces… When you give me Chappathi (Indian Bread), you cut them into pieces…”
I was pleasantly surprised at this comment from my daughter. While all of us where worried about what else could have happened, should we clean some of the vessels on the counter top, how to prevent the rat from coming again, my daughter was actually concerned about the Rat and how to make its job easier while eating.
It is quite surprising how we all have grown up being so self-centered and sometimes have to be reminded by a child to be concerned for others.
“Do you want to want to eat this Pizza slice or should I give it to your sister???…” “You pestered me so much to get this chess board do you want to play with this or should I give it to your cousin???…” “Are you coming in or should I close the door??? ”
These are common questions that I have seen many parents or grandparents ask their children to make them do something… Most often than not, these questions result in our children doing what we wanted them to do… (Unless you chose the wrong provocative questionJ)
In other words, parents and grandparents manage their children by provocation to make them do something that we want them to do.
I think this method of managing kids is good and bad… One possible good thing about this method is that, it is a very good tactical solution that can be handy for us to make them do something immediately. The other benefit could be that the children will have a sense of fear that if they don’t follow the instructions, they might lose something they like…
But in the long run I think this may have a psychological impact on kids and also have a severe impact in shaping up their character.
In my view there are a few major problems with this provocation theory:
a) These negative statements or questions from us, instigate a sense of constant competition in their minds. For the kids, the only source of motivation of doing something seems to be imaginary completion and not the actual benefits.
b) Over a period kids learn that we don’t really mean what we say… That’s a very dangerous thing to happen I guess. The trust factor will slowly be lost between parents and kids…
c) The more parents get things done this way, the more they start pushing what they want the kids to do irrespective of whether that action is really needed or not.
I want to particularly focus on the last point above. Out of all the things that parents get done by provoking the kids, how many of those are really needed to be done immediately? May be all of them are or may be only some of them are… I am not being judgmental here because I have to admit that I myself use some of those provocative questions.
Am just saying that we just have to give it a thought. Let us not use this technique on kids when it does not really warrant. Let us as much as possible tell them the benefit of them doing something rather than getting it done by provocation.