Free-Range Vs Helicopter Parenting: Indian Scenario

I am all for being a hands-off parent. I really would like to be able to observe my child, see him grow rather than always be present while he is doing his thing. For someone who has been a SAHM from the first moment, it is quite a treat to be able to see your child interact with their environment, peers and the world at large without literally (and figuratively) pulling at the leash.

However and this is a big however, the concept of Free-Range parenting  isn’t always viable for the Indian mindset or for that matter the pan-Asian mindset.

While I cannot comment knowledgeably on a generic Asian temperament per se, let’s just say that it allows for a lot less permissiveness in the interaction between children, young adults with the adults they encounter. It’s not borne out of a compulsion of seeing the kids become “docile”, “controlled” or even submissive but out of a Father/Mother knows best funda which seeks to leave decision-making in the hands of an adult till the child reaches the sensibilities of an adult and can take independent decisions and their consequences.

And that’s ultimately what any parent worth their salt is concerned about- consequences. Children primarily lack the ability to make judgement calls before a particular age sets in and I personally believe that for quite a few people, that age usually starts in their late teens or early twenties. The reason being that while they reach this age the gamut of experiences that they go through are more definitive and they pay more attention to the learnings that arise out of it, rather than having the moral of the story outlined (if you will) by their parents the way it was done during their early years.

And let’s not even open up the can of worms that includes predators et al. The world is a difficult place to navigate even for adults. Children with their innocence/lack of experience aren’t always able to gauge with certainty who they should place their trust in. A child is a child for a reason. Despite being conditioned to be responsible, or inherently of a more compliant nature, a child can lapse into carelessness, callousness and self-indulgent behavior because knowing altruism, benevolence or how to do the right thing isn’t what the doctor ordered for a 7 year-old.

And to expect them to be any different is to expect munchkin-sized adults to be walking around while looking much cuter than the normal-sized ones.

And what does this have to do with being a Helicopter Parent Vs. A Free-Range one? Well as adults we learn about balances and being a parent is the toughest balancing job in the whole world. The tightrope walking kind of pales in significance because there isn’t always a safety net and the worst case scenario is far worse than any of us could begin to fathom. So it comes down to this…is it better to suffocate your kid as a helicopter parent or not know where your kid is or doing what and to what extent because you’ve eased up too much on the free aspect of free-range parenting? Isn’t even a mild case of paranoia a given for a parent? Or do we actually sleep better knowing a 10 year old will definitely look both ways before crossing the street or a 5 year old knows what intuition is and is guided by it?

So while I veer more to the side of helicopter parenting (much to my chagrin) on matters of education, teaching of good behavior and imposing of rules et al; there are times when I can wear the mantle of a free-range parent as well. And I can give a good amount of leeway only because I stayed close, watched every step and made sure the most avoidable dangers could be identified and well…avoided. Some days I hop,skip and jump all over the place being both kinds of parents because the situation and my innate nature demands it.

But know this, no amount of parenting will help if an asteroid hits the earth and wipes away all of humanity. All you can do is know that you are being true to yourself while you bring your child up and despite all the time-outs, angry glares and whatnot if your child is genuinely happy to see you first thing in the morning and runs to tell you about every scrapped knee to every new bug he spotted on the road, then maybe, just maybe you haven’t screwed it up.

Just something to think about.



Relics of My Childhood

A good part of my life is nostalgia-ridden or driven.

I am quite in touch with the present and look into the future (aided by booze at times) but the past is quite bright and vivid for me overall.

When aspects, however minute, crop up from my childhood; it makes me quite cheery and I’m happy to trip back to school days and regale (not!) the Lord and Master aka Red about my experiences. He, in turn, is equally happy to tune me out and is careful to insert, ” Uh huh”, “Ohs” and “Really?” into the gaps in the near-monologue-y conversation that ensues.

A month or so ago, MLM got a Ring Pop in a goody bag and I was thrilled because when I was slightly older than he is now, I’ve pestered my mom for quarters to buy them from the gumball machine. And here was my kid about to go down the same road of experiencing an edible jewelry! My favorite is the grape flavor in case anyone was wondering. No? Onwards…

One of my crushes gave me a Ring Pop to show me he liked me and that the first ring given to me by any guy and also the only delicious one!

Another one of the things that I somehow liked playing with, and grossing my mother out at the same time, was Slime.

It was oozy, gooey and so much fun! So when I found some tiny barrel of slime in a toy store, I didn’t think twice and bought it for MLM and another one of his friends. Needless to say, the slime was a hit! It was fought over. It made its way onto some upholstery, a certain grandfather’s shirt and grossed out every sensible adult in the room.

I was telling Red this morning that of all the things I thought would endure over three decades, pop rocks, bubble tape, bubblegum lollipops and play slime didn’t even make the top 10. But it’s nice to see these things once in a while. They’re silly, fun and an unforgettable part of being a carefree kid.

How To Talk So Kids Will Listen

This is going into the category of a bloglet viz it’ll be brief.

There’s a book my husband bought me once the brat started pre-primary…it’s called How To Talk So Kids Will Listen And Listen So Kids Will Talk. Since the book did not mention anything about how to talk so husbands will listen and stop leaving wet towels all over the place; I decided not to do much about this book reco.

I already knew then and still know how to talk so my kid would listen- dress like a giant lollipop, have Play-Doh in one hand, the t.v. remote in the other and preferably enter riding on a dinosaur!

Maybe then….and maybe Utopia is just around the corner! Pshaw!!

utopia_in_four_movements_filmstill5_utopiasign.jpg (1650×1050)


Oh Snap!

The brat has his little friends. They can be quite a handful from time to time.

One of them came over a little while ago and was practically nose-to-nose with the not-small t.v set. When I asked her to move back a bit, she scooched back barely half an inch. So I asked her to move back a little more and pat came the reply along with little arms akimbo, “if you don’t let me watch t.v. from here, why did you keep the sofa so close to the t.v.?”

After I did my goldfish impression viz mouth opening and closing my mouth wordlessly a few times, I remembered that I was in the role of the responsible parent and told her that it might spoil her eyes if she kept watching television like that, she again answered with a, “no! and glared at the t.v to come and spoil her eyes if it dared!

I don’t think the television will be taking up the dare.


Learning Apps: A Busy Mom’s Reco

Are you a busy mom? Scratch that. You’re a mom. Ergo super-duper busy! Whether you have the added responsibility of having a career outside your home and hearth, you will eventually end up wishing like there were more number of hours in a day and believing that the octopus has it pretty good with all 8 of its functional arms.

While we multitask, in comes our handy helper- the tablet, the mobile phone or some form of digital media. Keeping it firmly in the realm of edutainment so there’s less guilt about handing the kid a nice digital lollipop and also letting the little critters learn something at the same time is what ends up being a challenge.

Enter fun apps which amuse and educate all at once. From the company Originator, comes an Endless series of Alphabets, Numbers and Readers et al- each one designed to target learning and assimilation in children from the pre-primary level up till grade school.


Depicting tons of funny and interesting looking monsters who dance their way through numbers, letters and words; this series will interest your kids from the first monster onwards.

Available for Android and iOS.


Kiddy Movie Reco: Turbo

We LOVE animated movies in this household. Especially about all sorts of creatures you normally wouldn’t encounter in your day to day life or even if you did, you wouldn’t give them a second thought. Turbo falls into the second category.

The story of a garden snail who dreams of the Indy 500 and his eventful journey till the day the black and white checkered flag waves him off the starting line, is a story which the kids will enjoy thoroughly. Even if they don’t cotton onto the central theme of dream big and keep dreaming till you get it right; it’s a movie that’ll end up being looped a few times.

With a voice cast of Ryan Reynolds, Paul Giamatti and Samuel L. Jackson amongst others, this movie isn’t something that moves at a snail’s place but one that zips all the way to the finish line!

Another thumbs up from team Dreamworks!