I want….gimme gimme….NOW

9:56 AM

The one thing I noticed since moving to Mumbai is how assertive kids are around here, and it doesn’t always meant to be nice, some are downright aggressive brats.
Back in Bangalore, kids in our apartment complex were nice, good player, and at the exception of one, no one slapped, pushed and snatched toys away, the one who did all that was immediately seriously scolded by his maid and the other parents, made to go for time out and stood corrected, said sorry and life goes on.
In the past 2 months here I stopped counting the number of time Ishita has been pushed off the slide, sat on, pounded, dragged of a swing, thrown on the ground, or had her OWN toy snatched away from her by a kid who then proceeded to tell me I want to play with that give me! I WANT? GIVE me? Since when kids use such imperative tone addressing a grown up they barely know?
A few of these case of selfishness were even dangerous to a small toddler like Ishi, like being forcefully pushed down the ladder leading to the top of the slide by one kid who decided he wanted to come down from the top using the ladder, this slide stands 7ft high Ishi was almost to the top and fortunately I caught her just before she went tumbling down backward probably breaking her neck in the process on the sharp steps of the said ladder. When I yelled at the kid to stop it and be careful I suddenly had the mom in my face (she was chatting with a friend on the nearby bench not paying attention). What happened she asked me on a harsh tone, me to explain, and her to use the sweetest voice possible to tell her 5 year old boy “Aww remember what mama said, you have to behave nice to girls at the playground, mama don’t like when you push girls” WTF? Why just girls? What about the fact you just don’t kick and push all the other kids risking sending them to their death or a wheelchair on the pretext you want to do what you want with no regards for other?
Should Ishita have done such a dreadful thing as this boy did, she would have been eligible for a smack bottom, big time yelling, immediate removal from the playground and straight back home. if you can’t behave well in a social environment, then you need a time out. That boy however was back at pushing other kids around, slapping other boys, and nothing was done to address the matter from the mom, and day after day he keeps on with his aggressive, pushy, “me first” behaviour with little reprimands from his mother, this led to my daughter being scared to play at the playground when that kid is there.
If he was the only one behaving that way I would say “fine that’s one kid with social issue” but I had a little girl who snatched Ishita’s ball from her hand and pushed her on the ground, and when I told her to stop it she retaliated telling me “That boy was playing with that ball before it’s not hers she can’t play with it”, I told the girl it was Ishita’s ball in the first place, and the girl just kicked it away with Ishita crying and saying “She is a bad girl she steals toy” this girl was here with her maid who didn’t get any English and didn’t seem to care a toddler has been pushed on the ground for being accused of stealing her own ball and a grown up being told to not let her own child play with her own toy.
or the 10 year old kids playing football, who just trampled Ishita while she was walking holding my hand on the park’s foot path, which had me yell, and the boy to retort, we are playing here get out! I don’t know about you, but should a grown up who is the one paying the maintenance fee of the society being told to get out of the public facilities by a 10 year old boy? I don’t think so. there was another boy and a girl who told me several time to please remove Ishita from the merry go round (she was there first) because they wanted to spin it fast, and me to say ok just wait until she is done to be snapped at “I want it NOW, LEAVE” again no parents no maid to just tell the kids to play nice, and them to spin it fast with my daughter on until she got nearly thrown out and be told again that THEY wanted to play NOW.
All in all about half of the kids at that playground have strong social behaviour issue, lack of discipline, violent burst, and absolutely no restraints in how they address an adult.
DH and I talked about it, and agreed that it might be a syndrome of the dual income well off middle class nuclear families. Mumbai is a costly city, more and more families are becoming dual income with kids left in the care  of a maid that might not really give a damn about discipline, and parents who add to the issue by going on a guilt trip and give in to every demands their children might make. This leads to such brat issue where the kid is used to always come first, always have what they want right away and be prepared to use force and ill behaviour if it isn’t met right away. And notice that I say it’s a well off middle class syndrome in cities, the distinction matters because I doubt that my maid’s kids do behave the way these kiddos at the playground act.
I myself grew up in a dual income household, my mom being a teacher and my dad being a prison officer, they both worked full day when we were in elementary school, we had no maid, so my sister and I had the house key with us, the drill was that school ended at 4pm and my dad was home at 5pm, my mom not long after that as her commuting was longer. But we had rules, no TV before homework are done, then TV until dinner was ready at 6-6.30,, and no TV again after dinner, in Summer we had the right to play outdoor until later than on a school night, rest of the year it was or playground with my mom, or reading books, with a bedtime at 8pm. No amount of trashing, blackmailing, screaming and drama would ensure we would get what we wanted if our parents said no the first time, there was one single menu on the table, it was eat now or go hungry until the next meal, Barbie dolls are special occasion treats, not something you get when you say “I want”. And pretty much as I see it, any discussable violent social behaviour was nipped in the bud with a scolding and a time out, playground time was not a right, it was a privilege for well behaved little girls, throw sand in the eye of another kid for taking your bucket for a minute ensured that the sandbox was gone for the day’s play, no ifs no buts, and the scolding going with the removal was loud enough to dissuade you from trying again.

In just that short 2 months, I noticed Ishita being increasingly  wary of the playground she usually loves, downright scared if she sees other kids, and even reluctant to play with other toddler her age in fear something will happen to her, shunning away from a tot’s extended hand. She was previously super social and extrovert…I don’t know about you but I surely find this disturbing enough.


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