Like city-bred children, young Indians in small towns are getting addicted to multi-utility Chinese cellphones and high-brand motorbikes. Will they sink in the same trap? Paramita Ghosh reports.india Updated: Aug 23, 2008 23:00 IST
Conflict has come home. And the picture is hazy. Parents and children even in small towns, where the family structure has so far been clearly defined and the relations of hierarchy undisturbed by time, is under attack. Parents of the sample surveyed in non-metros, admit that their child is ‘not always obedient’ 62 per cent of the time.
A bone of contention between both is the right to choose. ‘Choice’ that often misused word, is increasingly being used by children to express the right to shop with as much purchasing power as adults. The stats are grim, to say the least. The line that divides children who turn angry (30 per cent) when refused a gift by parents from those who are saddened (38 per cent), isn’t much.
So does that make Pappu a monster or you a terrible parent? No one need answer that. What’s more to the point is the birth of a new breed — parents, becoming ‘role models’ in consumerism. Sixty-three per cent of parents seem to love brand consciousness as an idea; 33 per cent will follow it up with specifics — when it comes to choosing the brand of mobile phone or clothing they’d want to buy. Small wonder then that 45 per cent of children are equally clear and unambiguous when it comes to their gifts.
Facts don’t lie. But they can underline silences. Sixty-seven percent adults say they give their children time. Twenty-six per cent of children, however, say they ‘network’ and find friends on sites like Facebook and Orkut; 19 per cent say they do it often. We can read this variously — the breakdown of the joint family is no longer an urban phenonmenon, it’s a small town feature as well. And an absence of parenting and/or a breakdown of communication within the family are its byproducts.
So, are we listening enough to our children or shutting them up with expensive toys? Are we ready to shift our priorities and put them first? Don’t throw up your hands or strike deals with your child. Face him.