This morning, I decided to send the twins to school in their uniforms. Till now, the uniforms needed some alteration because of which the twins were going to school in informal wear. But since the uniforms were ready, I thought it a good time for them to try it on for school. As I was busy ironing the clothes, Shobs comes up to me and says ,” Mujhe eliphan nahin chahiye”. Busy with ironing, I wondered who ever spoke to him about elephants , that too in the morning!!
“mujhe eliphan nahi chahiye”, he repeated. I turned back to look at him and saw him pointing towards Lui’s uniform.
“Did you say,uniform nahin chahiye?”, I asked him.
“Haan. Ooniphan nahin chahiye”.
Obviously, I made him and Lui wear the uniform to school today. There was no rhyme or reason for Shobby’s demand and consequently, there was no reason for me to give in to him. He wore it without much protest and preened off to school
I’ve been thinking since. The twins have reached a stage when they can clearly state what they ‘want’ (chocolates, ice-creams, toffees) and ‘dont want’ (food, spanking, sleeping on time ). I think this is a good progress in a way because they can now think for themselves. I let them express their views, but I don’t necessarily give in to them. So even if they protest, they have to have their dinner, they have to sleep on time and they do get spanked for misbehavior. Till date, I have decided what they should wear and what they should eat. I get them toys, games and let them decide what they want to play. But that’s about it. I guess I’m one of those controlling moms who don’t give their children the freedom of choice. I’m okay with that tag . Must be the old-fashioned parenting gene I inherited from my mom
I never take the kids out shopping, specially, if I’m visiting a mall or a department store. I buy them what they need, but I don’t ask them what they would prefer. Because once they enter a store, I can bet the last hair on my head that they will ‘want’ everything that the store has to offer. Any refusal on my behalf would only result in a gigantic tantrum multiplied by two! A situation I’m not keen on facing myself. In fact, I have very strict notions about children in department stores, something about which I’ve written earlier too. There is no point in exposing the kids to mounds of temptations when I know its beyond my means to fulfill them. Many a times, it so happens that the kids fight over a particular toy for approximately 5 minutes, after which they both discard it and refuse to do anything with it. They have a fickle attention span and that’s one reason why the twins refuse to play with anything that requires them to sit in one place for more than 3 minutes!
Anyhow, back to the wants. The twins are still in a safe situation. They have never thrown a tantrum in public over something they want. It’s not as if they haven’t expressed their desire for something, they have, but I’ve been able to deflect the request with change of topic (thank God ). Also, I don’t let the kids watch television, except maybe Animal Planet. Luckily, after a few minutes of watching fishes swim aimlessly, they are disinterested enough to get back to playing, eating or doing whatever they want to do (like, driving us nuts ). I don’t show them cartoons on television (on the laptop sometimes, but not much. I don’t encourage them to watch LCD screens for prolonged periods). One of the major reasons for avoiding television is the blatant use of children to sell anything and everything. I’m not sure if I’m the only one disturbed watching little ones dispensing advice to their ‘Duh’ parents/relatives on which is the best product in the market. Kids sell everything from a washing soap to a motorcycle to an insurance policy (the only stuff kids don’t sell today, is condoms, but then, wouldn’t it be ironic if they did ?!). It is a brilliant tactic from marketing agencies, and also a toxic one. I can see no other method which would make rational adults buy all the stuff that their child wants! And indeed, parents do! It’s difficult to refuse your child if he is aware of those things being sold. I’m safe as of now, because my children are not aware. And it doesn’t worry me much if my kids look blank at the mention of Ben10 (another major marketing gimmick in the guise of a toon character) or give two hoots about Tom & Jerry. My kids are happy with what I give them. The rare chance when I ask them if I can get them something, is more of a privilege, a token of appreciation for good behavior for example.
My concern now is, how do I instill the difference between a ‘need’ and a ‘want’. How do I teach them what a ‘want’ is and what a ‘need’ is? It is important that they learn the difference, the earlier,the better. I see little children around me harassing their parents to get them everything under the sun. The well-off parents oblige. Though I’m not super-rich, I know I can buy some of the stuff for my kids at their whim. But the question arises, should I ??
How do I teach the twins about children who don’t even have their basic needs met? How do I teach them that what they want today may not be even looked at tomorrow? How do I teach them about money ? About the difference between ‘price’ and ‘value’?
Sometimes, the MIL thinks I’m too paranoid, that I should give in at times. The only reason I don’t, is because I know that once I fall into the rut, I too will do the same. I too will bow to the twin’s demands, however unreasonable they may be. And they in turn , will get used to demanding.
If you have dealt with this problem or have any suggestions, do share. I need as much information as I can get to prep myself up for this parenting gig . I swear I had no idea I would have to deal with so many issues when me and the BF decided that we wanted to be parents!
So netizens who are parents (and those on the way to be and also the ones who want to be), chip in with your inputs. I’m all ears