In case we thought it was a typically Indian trait, a report from the UK says that urban parents are "wrapping up their kids in cotton wool." This means that kids are being overprotected and turned into wimps.
A study by the Children's Society, found out that 43 per cent of adults said that children should not be allowed to go out unsupervised with their friends, till they are 14.
This has sparked off a fear of kids being raised in a tightly controlled environment.
Not this.. not that
In Indian cities too, middle and upper middle class people have fewer children. Probably they feel guilty about not giving them all their attention. So they tend to pamper and spoil their kids.
The study also pointed out that parents forbid kids from going out of the building in case they get hit by a car. Even playing outdoors is not allowed for the fear of an injury.
What kind of childhood do such kids have if all they do is stay home and watch TV or play video games? It surely won't be fun for the kids to be taken to regimented activity classes accompanied by an adult - parent, grandparent or nanny. And then, children are told what they can or cannot do.
Any parent who allows his kid to cycle on the road (how many Mumbai buildings have playgrounds?) or eat bhel-puri or gola on the streets is frowned upon and regarded as ‘irresponsible'.
But such kids probably grow up healthier than those who are raised on a diet of burgers, pizzas and colas from restaurants, where the cooks and waiters wear plastic gloves.
Kids can't even play in the kerchiefsized garden in case they fall down and break a bone, or worse, get kidnapped. Children are dropped and picked up from school and tuitions in cars, depriving them of the boisterous company of other kids, and the energy-expending experience they so badly need.
The dangers of the city's lawlessness cannot be ignored but what can be said about the parent, who will not let his kids use the elevator on their own, in case they get physically abused. So much caution is referred to as paranoia.
Of course, the kids can't be left alone at home, unless there's someone reliable to mind them. So kids accompany their parents to adult movies and late-night parties.
Who knows what they pick up there but at the end of it all, a three-year-old can talk like an adult and even qoute lines from TV shows ad verbatim.
For them, adventure is limited to the action and violence in computer games. No wonder many urban kids are overweight, unhealthy and bad-tempered.
Then they have to join gyms for kids to lose weight and go for counselling sessions to solve their attitude problems. And if this is happening all over the ‘civilised' world, then there really is cause for worry.