Redefining childhood

If you ever want to see how the world is moving sit silently for a while and watch people pass you by. I did just that. At a popular coffee shop in New Road, a group of young children came and noisily roosted for a while near me. Grabbing chairs and joining two round tables together, they formed a warm circle of friends.

Over iced coffee laced with ice cream and chocolate cakes, they laughed, flirted and held hands, exchanged heated looks and knowing smiles. They wore similar clothes. Their conversations were heavily loaded with expletives, and they acted as if they were not school-going kinds but hip-hop college-goers.

They exchanged ipods and kisses

as we once exchanged comic

books. Their languid air and grown-up ways were in complete variance

to the innocent days that made

up their mother’s world just a

generation ago.

Look around. Children are redefining childhood. Innocence is a thing of the past and only for those morons who are dumb and unable to negotiate and be one with the changing world. A 14- year-old schoolboy in my neighborhood says, “My mother was hysterical when she caught me watching porn and doping.”

I told her I was not the only one-everyone was doing it. It’s easy to get dope; all you need is some pocket money. He points out that parents and teachers are “shut out because they have no idea of how to cope with it, and they always are pushing us to counselors, when they should be the one to be counseled”. He may

well be right. In the changing world, parents find they are increasingly unable to cope with their children’s changing persona, individuality and heightened sexuality.

Reality, however, is that in the

ever-expanding world, both the parents and children are jostling for

space to navigate. The crux of the

parent-child relationship is for parents to be there physically for their children, even if it is at the cost of professional sacrifice.

Children need to be heard and acknowledged, even if it means just answering something about a new model of cell phone or talking about their relationship with their friends. It makes them feel wanted and cherished. Nothing can replace this age-old formula for family bonding.