Are Bangalore’s children a spoilt lot?

Picture this scene at a popular mall store in Bangalore. Could be any mall, there are many in our city. Father walking the aisles, with his 5-6 year old son in tow, in a huge well-stocked shop frequented by the high-heeled. He is hurriedly moving towards the exit. Why? He is trying to avoid the pandemonium that is about to burst! Just as he crosses the exit into the main corridor, it happens. A loud wail that rings through the entire structure. Father’s face goes white with shame. He is obviously ashamed with his son’s behaviour who otherwise used to be called as the apple of his eye. Now, the reason. Father denied getting the Superman model toy to the son. It was pricey and it was only a fad. Father believes in getting what he believes is constructive and educative to his son. Son believes otherwise, he wants what his peers at his school (which is another story altogether) have. Father then tries to cajole him with many things, some of which include treats at McD’s and Pizza Huts… but his son would have none of it. And ultimately walks back into the store. A few minutes later, he walks out of the exit again. Son has his Superman toy in his hands, obviously beaming with joy that he is in possession of the most “in” toy in the world today. Father has a sign of resignation on his face.

In another scene, a elegantly dressed (read brand conscious) father is getting the Barbie set for his daughter. It costs a few thousands. The daughter is looking at her new addition to her already huge set of toys. She is kind of speechless. Father is beaming with pride. Other fathers are looking at him with a stare that reads “Man, you gotta be rich to buy it all at one shot! Cool… I wish I were earning as much as you do!” and continue to walk into other aisles.

So, who is responsible now? The children or the parents? I think it is the parents in first place.

Parents who can afford think that getting the costliest and the most “in” toys for their children can put them in a high esteem in front of their children. Not only that, the children can themselves flaunt their parent’s riches amongst their friends at school and other collaboration places. This then results in jealously amongst the little souls who think that if their rich parents can get it for them, then their own parents should also get it for them. Why? Peer pressure. They do not want to be uncool. And it is very difficult to tell children about what are material things and what are not, what are priorities and what are not… End result, parents – who may or may not be earning in the high bracket – feel the pressure. A pressure that can make both parents opt to work so that they do not feel the pinch of providing for their children. The same pressure also makes them want to have only one child as they believe that they may not be able to handle pressure from two children.

Is there a way out? Somehow, the answer seems to be yes. It is upto the parent to put a limit of what is possible and what is not in front of their children. Regardless of their being in a high income group or low income group, it is possible. In anyway possible, they should let their child or children know what their priorities are. For instance, my parents never agreed to buy me expensive branded clothing though they always got the best of clothes for me. When it came to education, any book that I requested – regardless of how costly they might be – would be given to me. Over time, I understood that I cannot demand much in terms of clothers or music cassettes or cd’s etc., but education was certainly the top priority. Today, when I myself am a parent of a 10 month old daughter, I am beginning to remember those things that my parents did when I was a child. I never thought that I would be strict with my children. But I guess I am beginning to become one. Why? It is better to be a strict parent and manage children and deal with the right priorities than otherwise.

Bangalore’s parents need to understand this first. Getting everything for their children and spending big money to send them on foreign trip picnics may not be the right thing to do. That they can afford is not of much importance as much is the fact that they need to afford it right.

Also read: A Yahoo! India piece on the same theme.

4 Comments so far

  1. usha (unregistered) on July 17th, 2006 @ 10:21 am

    enjoyed the piece. so true and something all young parents and particularly those in the high income brackets should stop and think about. A teacher tells me that most parents indulge in this kind of expensive gifts to make up for the guilt in not being able to give the kids enough of time and attention otherwise. Theremay be some truth in it too!

  2. sujatha (unregistered) on July 18th, 2006 @ 2:34 pm

    Parents are to blame, bottom line.

  3. Shruthi (unregistered) on July 18th, 2006 @ 4:38 pm

    Yup, absolutely. I am not a parent, but I do have an idea how difficult it is to bring up a child. Nevertheless, the parent can easily inculcate awareness in the child right at the beginning. As you say, our parents made priorities clear right at the beginning – and we never demanded anything more!
    Ok, we can say that in today’s age, choices and attractions are more, and parents have the money too to indulge the child. But that’s not a good enough reason.
    Very good piece!

  4. rubic_cube (unregistered) on July 18th, 2006 @ 7:39 pm

    Surprisingly only women have commented. Do men stay away from these topics? :-) Just kidding!

    Thanks Usha, Sujatha and Shruthi.

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.