Tuesday, June 16, 2015

In defense of Hitler

Before I am lynched for supporting Genocide let me clarify what brought on this epiphany.

It was a lazy Sunday morning and I was happily immersed in the Express Eye. Trying to put away the moment when I would have to relinquish the newspaper I asked:

“What do you all want for breakfast?” 

“Porridge”
“French Toast”
“Dosa”

The chorus snapped me out of my Sunday mood right away. Oh how I regretted my large-hearted gesture! Kicking myself mentally I began the uphill task of brokering a consensus. 

Democracy is hard work.

I was brought up in, what I would describe as, a quasi-democratic home. It was democratic in the sense that we had complete freedom to speak our minds resulting in long and very heated dinner-table conversations (arguments) but the rules were pretty much made for us. Even as we raged and argued and dubbed our parents the worst kind of Hitlers, we were quite aware of this fact and stuck with the rules – well mostly we did. (PS: I did more than my sister, that’s an aside I need to add!)

Coming back to us - ours, I feel, is a way more democratic household than my parents’. And I am not sure that’s a good thing. I have to confess sometimes I invite the children’s views simply to avoid a showdown later on or because I am caught up with something and don’t have the mindspace to make a choice on my own.

As parents/teachers we do need to ask ourselves:

1.     Is the child capable of making the right choice at his level of maturity?
2.     As the adult in charge, am I prepared to accept his/her choice, whatever that may be?

Having the freedom to make choices is a wonderful feeling for anyone, especially for children and they are quick to exercise and defend it once they have it. Yet too much freedom can not just result in bad choices, it might end up confusing the child. Try taking your young one to the toy store and ask him to choose one toy and you’ll know what I mean.

Democracy certainly doesn't work all the time, definitely not in a parent-child (or a teacher-taught) relationship.

I would like to remember that as a parent/teacher:

1.     I do know best. I might actually know the child better than he knows himself or what’s best for him.
2.     I make the rules.
3.     I will invite suggestions but I will have the final word.
4.     I will disregard the rebellions and will be prepared to be dubbed the ‘evil one’.
5.     I will not forget that despite the complaints the children will never stop loving me because deep down they know I love them too.

Do I sound like a Tiger Mom ? Well sometimes Moms do need to get out the Tiger/Tigress in them, even if it is only in the best interest of their cubs.

36 comments:

  1. Hail, Hitler-ess :)
    Yes, sometimes Democracy sucks when it comes to little ones.

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    1. They sure know how to make the most of it Sid, as you shall find out soon enough.

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  2. So true. Yes, I'm the evil mom at times, maybe most times..but of course it's for the larger good :-p

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    1. Absolutely. It's hard sometimes though, isn't it? Sometimes it just seems easier to let them have their way.

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  3. Yes, yes YES! I was nodding my head to every word. This was on my mind recently when someone was talking about making 3 different breakfasts for 3 individuals (2 of them pint-sized) at their home!! Very well said, Tulika :).

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    1. Thanks Aparna. A thumbs up from enlightened moms makes me feel validated.

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  4. Hey, I am totally with you on this. I am a disciplinarian, and I don't care what the others think about that.

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    1. Good to hear that Rachna. Sometimes kids need to do stuff simply because 'I said so'.

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  5. You don't sound like a Tiger mom, at all. I think, every mom needs to get the tiger out every once in a while, lest her home turns into a jungle!

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    1. Ah well you haven't seen me Shilpa. The kids might differ there :-).

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  6. I think it's wonderful that we can choose to look at things the way we do :) And no, you are not a Tiger mom. You invite opinions, right? Else how would you manage a book club :D And yes, most times, moms will know best.

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    1. Ah the Book Club - which is hibernating! Good you reminded me - need to wake it up.

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  7. Sounds like you are doing OK to me! Hitler?? No. You are doing just fine.

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  8. I can see why democracy is good in some cases and why in other cases, you as Mom need to be in charge. You being democratic! ;) <3

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    1. That's it - the approach has to be situational.

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  9. Oh I think you are doing just right :) And no , not like Hitler at all! :)

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    1. Heh heh! Naba - Hitler would be gentle in comparison sometimes.

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  10. You are definitely NOT a tiger-mom if you can even consider making 3 different breakfasts on one single morning! WOW! You are too lenient! I am not even married yet and my sister already feels sorry for unborn kids! I don't blame her though. I would too probably, but seriously! THREE different breakfasts on ONE day! It's bad enough having to make one! And then lunch! And then dinner! And kids want some evening snack too, I suppose! God! I think I'm better off single and kid-less!

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    1. Ha ha ha - Chicky - wait till you have them you'll learn to work around their demands fast enough. And FYI I did NOT make three breakfasts! Well sometimes when I'm feeling verry verry generous I do it but then at least two have to be the very easy kind.

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  11. I don't think being a Tiger Mom sometimes would harm. I love your rules :D

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    1. Thanks Rajlakshmi. I hope the kids think so too at least when they grow up.

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  12. I'm not a Mom but I do believe that Moms need to be a little easier on themselves. Also, I think giving the children too many choices with regard to food amounts to spoiling them, no? :)

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    1. Absolutely Corinne. Over time however, they learn to choose within the parameters you set for them. And that's so heartening.

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  13. The query sounds like mine. I do that and my husband rolls up his eyes. But, my elder one knows if he asks for something out of the comfort zone, he needs to make it himself. But then he also learns to adjust. Democracy wins hands down!

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    1. A bit of both works best. You have a sensible son there.

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  14. How true! Setting rules right and adhering to them makes it simpler in the long run. I too had my initial doubts on being dubbed the evil one. Not anymore. An article I read said kids feel secure with boundaries and will learn to enjoy following them. By the way, what was it for breakfast? :)

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    1. Heh heh Vaishnavi, it was egg for everyone :). Do share the link to that article of you have it.

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  15. That much control is necessary...and if that makes us Tiger moms, or evil moms so be it!! nice post!

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  16. Democracy can be downright painful with a 3 year old. I much prefer the title of 'Hitler- ess' :P

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    1. You're right. We can get more democratic as they grow and learn to figure out things for themselves. Yet there will always be times when we have to put our foot down.

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  17. Though Hitler was probably not the best choice, I do agree that children should not be given free rein to choose or decide whatever they wish. At least, not at an early age though I definitely give my 11 year old the liberty...provided he step up and helps in the implementation!!

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    1. Yeah I agree Roshni. Hitler was too drastic a comparison :-). You're right about the freedom too - as they grow we have to let go a bit at a time.

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  18. Loved reading this OM! esp the 5 points at the end... definitely agree.. Many instances when I feel that too many choices spoil/confuse a kid.. and many where i've regretted giving a choice..

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    1. Tell me about it Priya! I've made this mistake many times over too and then rued it terribly.

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