I guess I will be putting up a disclaimer here that this post is strictly my opinion and experience.
There was a time when the children were happy with only 2 pairs of clothes, eating out once in 6 months, no pocket money, no gadgets, and would abide by whatever the parents said (no questioning allowed or entertained). Parents and teachers could rebuke and punish the kids for their obnoxious behaviour and discipline them without being questioned too much. The kids grew up just fine.
Times have changed and so have parenting ideas and notions. Parents have become much more friendlier and approachable and treat the kids as their friends. The children are treated as individuals right from a very young age, allowed to exercise their choices, most of their demands are met with, and the strictness has given way to leniency.
But this trend has given birth to paranoid parents as well. The babies when they start crawling are made to wear knee pads, parents try to ensure that they do not fall while learning to walk or run, try to make special dishes for 2 year olds instead of giving them the same food that they have. Disciplining is something some parents equate to “training” which I totally disagree! A child doesn’t understand the difference between good and bad, acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. Its for the parents to make them aware of that. Just as hitting the child for disciplining is unacceptable, hugging the child when he is obnoxiously mischievous is also a big NO. The teachers are not allowed to even give a simple time-out to the children as punishment. The parents come running to the school and starting insulting the teacher in front of the kids. How will these kids respect the teachers or elders if their own parents are setting a bad example?
My own experience of raising 2 kids who are now fairly grown-up and are well-behaved and balanced individuals has taught me to strike a balance. Might be I am not right all the time, I go overboard, but I am happy that my kids till date have never disrespected any teacher, elder, smaller kids, or animals. I did not “train” them; I inculcated right values from a very young age. Yes..kids are kids and will be naughty, rebellious, questioning all the time, but there is a very thin line between being naughty and obnoxious.
Parents shouldn’t be paranoid about each and everything; they should let the child fall, hurt, bruise, learn from his/her mistakes; allow them to eat everything; rebuke them (not insult) as and when required and correct their follies.
When I was a child I used to get annoyed with my mom sometimes for correcting me but today I am thankful to her for doing so. The values instilled by her has helped me in becoming a better mother.
Parenting is to be enjoyed and cherished and a fine balance needs to be maintained by neither being too lenient nor too paranoid.