Parenting overkill

Whoever heard of the 'antics' of parents? They think the word was coined to aptly describe their children's activities. Whenever parents meet up, they share the woes of bringing up children, over a cup of tea. Children, though, have a different take on this. 'Who is reprimanded for eating too fast and not chewing slowly; for bad handwriting and shoddy homework; for not cleaning behind the ears and not applying soap all over; for eating rice and dal with hand; for not using fork and knife while eating out?'

Well, one cannot comprehend the careworn lives of children. I recall that time when, while going up the lift with my friend's father, also our neighbour, I was advised by him to talk to my friend, his daughter, in English only. A few days later, my father while using the lift with my friend told her to talk only in English with me. When we friends exchanged notes, we shared a good laugh.

Parental concern surfaced again when my aunt sent her son, my cousin, to stay with us during the summer vacation. He carried a letter from my uncle addressed to my father where I was requested to tutor him. Call it flattery or what. My uncle preceded my name with 'dear' umpteen times though once would have had the same effect.

Every time we visited our father at Pathankot, where he was posted, he would order the cook to make only kheer for dinner. To appreciate sweetness, one should always have a dash of something salty. But, my father insisted on us having bowls and bowls of kheer till our stomach could not take it anymore. We began dreading dinners.

My brother seems to have inherited the genes of my father. His daughter is just four-year-old and is already attending ballet, football and swimming classes. He is leaving no stone unturned to expose her to all avenues. My sister-in-law says that she would like to start kathak and classical music classes soon for her. My sister made my nephew attend tennis, golf, violin and casio classes. My nephew had to carry a lot of baggage other than his school bag.

Being the only children, they are the focus of all the attention. My uncle bought a cow for his farmhouse as their first child was a fussy eater and cow's milk was believed to be easily digestible and good for children, too.

Gone are the days, when families used to be large and children had to fend for themselves and their siblings. Now, as families grow nuclear, parents turn overanxious. They fuss and obsess over whether their children are eating well-balanced and wholesome meals, doing well in studies and on the playground as well as performing admirably in extracurricular activities. God help them!

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