The age of innocence; Can we help our kids hold on to it and for how long? Feb 06, 2012

Yesterday was Eva’s birthday party and Eva is my daughter’s best friend, neighbor and daily playmate. From the moment the kids woke up, they were in the party mood and wanted to be part of everything, hanging out at the neighboring house watching the balloons go up, the streamers being put, the food being cooked. We had to drag them home for breakfast and barely was she bathed, Aadyaa was back at Eva’s place!

Eva and Aadyaa

As a new mom when my son was two or three, I thought kiddie birthday parties were the most boring events ever. Of course, now things have changed and I look at them with a completely different eye.

Yesterday, I was struck by the innocence of the children, the sheer joy they got from each others’ company and how deep their friendships and loyalties run! All the little ones there (average age 5) went out of their way to make the birthday girl happy, rallying around her and participating in every activity with gusto. Some kids were shy, others were remarkably outspoken and there were some who were simply on their own trip! Aadyaa waited politely for all the ‘guests’ to get their tattoos done before she got hers. Avandeeta thoroughly enjoyed the pasta, eating on her own silently and with great focus. The boys from Eva’s class explored the house, while the girls had great fun at a messy glue and paper sticking activity.

B'day girl with all her friends before the party went into full swing!

Later at dinner, we talked about other older children we know- the teenage variety and the kind of showdowns they were having with their parents. In a classic generation gap situation, the girl we spoke about was being subjected to unreasonable curfew times because she saw hanging out at a coffee shop a worthwhile thing to do while her parents simply do not understand it!

I wondered about what was going through the parents’ mind? Fear for our children and suspicion about their activities are closely interlinked and while no one denies we parents take action only in the best interests of our children, are we, by complicating the rule book, actually forcing them to lose their innocence earlier than necessary? When I tell my child he needs to fear and be suspicious of everyone, I am forcing him to think ‘why’? And kick-starting the sort of thought process that explores a variety of possible negative scenarios.

So what do we do? And how do we achieve the right balance between providing our kids with a secure environment and yet offering them sufficient exposure and presence of mind to recognize danger when they face it? I don’t think we will find an answer, every family would have to set their own rules.

As for me, every night, I look at the innocent faces of my kids when they are asleep, and thank the powers that be (which, ironically, I’m unsure I believe in!) that they experienced another peaceful and happy day!

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2 thoughts on “The age of innocence; Can we help our kids hold on to it and for how long? Feb 06, 2012

  1. ha. When I was single and was staying with my brother’s family, I was talk of his friend circle (who all had 2-4 yer olds) about my baby sitting skills, and my ability to keep kids amused. I thought I was a guy who really could handle it. Then came my Nephew’s 3rd birthday and there were at least a dozen kids running around. I just couldn’t handle the noise and din, and had to bolt into the garage and shut myself in my brother’s SUV, just to get the din out of my head. After a few minutes, my frayed nerves calmed and I was able to get out and help organize the games and such. The funny thing is, I have never had a panic attack, be it going down a steep skislope, jumping with a string attached to me, and even in very serious situations. But a bunch of kids did me in.

  2. Aadya is looking so pretty!
    She seems to be enjoying a lot more than the birthday girl, who looks a bit lost. : ) Btw, was it a typo I was seeing all these months, when the number of followers for your blog showed in singular digits (7 or such..)? It says 734 now.. that’s great going, I assume. Congrats!

    ( Btw, I noticed that you haven’t replied to one particular comment of mine on an old post of your’s about crime. If you can, please do. Thanks. )

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