Wednesday, June 20, 2012


How to Spoil Your Children by Laissez-Faire Parenting Style
The Time, Inclination, Money, Opportunity Paradigm

At the outset, here is a quote from Norman F Dixon (emphasis mine). 
Please read each line carefully.

The values indicated by status-insecure parents are such that their children learn to put personal success and the acquisition of power above all else
They are taught to judge people for their usefulness rather than their likeableness. 
Their friends, and even future marriage partners, are selected and used in the service of personal advancement; love and affection take second place to knowing the right people. 
They are taught to eschew weakness and passivity, to respect authority, and to despise those who have not made the socio-economic grade
Success is equated with social esteem and material advantage, rather than with more spiritual values.

~ Norman F. Dixon

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. This made me quite an unpopular parent as compared to my more liberal counterparts. And whether my orthodox parenting style had a desirable effect on my children - well it there for all to see, as my children are grown up responsible adults now. 

It is too late for me to change now, so let me pontificate a bit on the subject of Teenage Parenting 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 the dictum: be happy where you are and content with what you have seem irrelevant today where instant gratification seems to be the new mantra.

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, the teenager displayed a “couldn’t care” attitude. 

Certainly this teenager will never appreciate the value of 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? Can you lecture your son not to smoke while holding a cigarette between your lips or tell him not to drink alcohol while holding a glass of whisky in your hands?

How about your friends, your kids’ friends, their behaviour, and the general atmosphere and culture around? Peer Pressure too plays an important role in developing a teenager
s inclination. 

What are your own values? 

If you are going to “live it up”, flaunt your lifestyle, and 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? 
These 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 to do.

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 as they want and to spend as they please without any accountability.

“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. Your children will “love” you for all this. Go ahead and make your children “happy” and irresponsible. 

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 your children 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:

1. Monitor their Time 

2. Give them the proper Inclination in life 

3. Restrict their Opportunity for undesirable activities 

and, last but not the least, 

4. Keep a tight leash on their Money

Does this teenager parenting paradigm work for you…? Do comment and tell us your views. 

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2012
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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Anonymous said...

Though I have several years before I have to face this situation, however, I do think about it. Your thoughts give a good solution to the problem based on current transitional state of Indian society.

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