Wednesday, December 14, 2011


It is Easy - Just Adopt The Laissez-Faire Parenting Style

It seems to be the in thing today to have snobbish supercilious spoilt children.

I was a strict old-fashioned father, but looking around, I have realized that in today’s world, where materialistic desires and ostentation overshadow traditional values, my ascetic style of parenting is hopelessly outmoded and distinctly passé.

It’s too late for me to change now, so let me pontificate a bit on what I did not do.
Apart from the conventional vices like drinking, smoking, drugs, gambling etc, all types of new and novel temptations and addictions like Internet, Gaming, TV, sex, compulsive spending and shopping, indulging in wild reckless behaviour, breaking the law and criminal thrills are on the rise and indeed becoming status symbols in some sections of society. Now-a-days there is plenty of choice available for those who want to “live it up”.

For children in today’s consumerist society there is no place for old-fashioned concepts like "thrift and frugality"and being happy where you are and content with what you have.

Conspicuous consumption, ostentation, flamboyance and expensive lifestyles are more important. Pamper your kids, pander to all their whims and fancies and they will love you; and, of course, in the long run they will ruin their own lives and cause you distress. 
If you want to spoil your children remember there are four cardinal factors or resources that help develop and nurture bad habits, addictions and anti-social behaviour: TIME, INCLINATION, OPPORTUNITY, MONEY. 

One must have time to indulge in whatever one’s pursuits, good or bad. So, if you want to spoil your children, don’t burden them with too many “mundane” things like studies, sports, hobbies etc. so that they have plenty of leisure time to live it up, develop new vices and pursue their temptations to their heart’s content. 

This depends on your sense of values, home and family atmosphere, social environment, religious and cultural taboos, peer pressure, influence of school and friends. Are you inculcating the right values in your kids by your own actions?
I’ll give you a real life example.  

My friend’s son, age 15, lost his expensive mobile cell-phone forgetting it in a taxi due to his own carelessness and negligence. 

Instead of admonishing him, my friend bought him the latest, even more expensive and fancy cell-phone. 

Obviously the boy had no remorse, guilt or regret at losing the expensive gadget, and instead of feeling contrite and responsible, displayed a “couldn’t care” attitude. 

Certainly this kid will not develop value for money.

Can one even expect such actions of parents to inculcate the "correct" values of thrift, frugality and responsibility in their children?

If you drink, smoke, and party in front of your children, won’t they be inclined to do the same?

How about your friends, your kids’ friends, their behaviour, and the general atmosphere and culture around?

What are your own values? If you’re going to “live it up”, flaunt your lifestyle, be corrupt and dishonest, your kids will be inclined to do so too! 
You have the Time, you have the Inclination, but do you have the opportunity to do what you want to do?

Suppose you want to drink alcohol, but there is prohibition in force? Or there exist religious, social, cultural taboos which do not give you the opportunity to drink? This restraining forces will inhibit you from drinking alcohol.

Opportunity to indulge in an activity is governed by external circumstances, rules and regulations, which either inhibits you or makes it conducive for you to do what you want.

Enforcement of Restrictions like No-Smoking Zones, Prohibition, No Entry into Bars and Pubs for Kids inhibits opportunity for children to start drinking at an early age. 
Parental Control is an important factor in restricting opportunity for children to indulge in undesirable activities or develop unwanted habits.

Or do you want to give your kids a laissez faire opportunity to do what they want…? 
Suit yourself, but don't blame your children later.

If you want to spoil your children make sure you give them plenty of money to splurge and to do as they please.

“Vices” and profligate lifestyles are expensive. Give them the latest gadgets and gizmos, cars and bikes, pander to all their whims and fancies, and never ask them to account for their extravagant spending.

You’ve open-mindedly given your kids the time, the inclination, and the opportunity, but finally it is the money that matters - yes, it is money that helps them sustain their vices and habits. 
Go ahead, give it a try, spoil your brats, and tell me if it works

But if you don’t want to spoil your teenager kids, you know what to do, don’t you?

Just remember the four key factors when bringing up your teenage children:

Monitor their Time

Give them the proper Inclination in life, 

Restrict their Opportunity for undesirable activities, 

and, last but not the least, 

Keep a tight leash on their Money.

Does this teenager parenting paradigm work for you…?  

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2011
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.
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About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories, creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional research papers in journals and edited in-house journals for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 15 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts.

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Reema Sahay said...

Hi, these are the issues which take my mind space all the time. My baby is only 4.5 months old, but I think we need to sort out the issues like what approach to take for his upbringing. I am a strong believer of leading by example so I will keep myself in check, being aware about my behaviour and activities in front of him. But at the same time if I want him to discuss all his concerns with us, we need to be his friend also. So you see it is a very tricky path to tread :-)

Anonymous said...

I can't agree more, Sir.

"Monitor their Time,

Give them the proper Inclination in life,

Restrict their Opportunity for undesirable activities,

and, last but not the least,

Keep a tight leash on their Money."

I'm a teenager and my parents raised me just this way. I used to get annoyed by these things back then but now I have realized that it was good. These things are vitally important in long run. :)
A great article indeed!!

Vikram Waman Karve said...

@ Reema - You are absolutely right about your children being your friends - but that must happen at an appropriate age, certainly after about 15 years of age when values develop fully.

Vikram Waman Karve said...

@ Me - I am so glad you liked the way your parents brought you up. It is paying dividends now.