Monday, October 20, 2008

Why Parents Will Never Understand Their Kids... And Also Why Uncles and Aunts Will Always Be Cooler!

When (if) you have kids, you are going to be as unreasonable & overprotective with them as your parents are with you!

All of you must have heard "unreasonable" things from your parents... I know I did!

"Better be back home by 11:00pm!" (when I was 16)

"No you will not go riding into the hills on your motorcycle with your pals!"
"Forget your sports team/rock band/girlfriend... and focus on your studies!"

"You are going to do Engineering and then an MBA! Forget Arts/Literature/Commerce! What job will you get!?"

"Be back home by 12:30am!" (even today when I'm past 23!)

I'd often wonder... "Why!? Why!? Why can't they understand!? Why are they being soo worried/rigid/annoying/selfish/old fashioned/materialistic/unreasonable etc etc etc... Have they forgotten their young days? How can they not allow us to do XYZ when they've done the same things when they were our age?!"

In such frustrating times, I'd usually find solace in one of my cool uncles/aunts... (apart from bitching about discussing it with friends)

Everyone has that one cool uncle/aunt, who encourages you along your own personal path of madness... Uncle Cool actually "gets" you... He understands your aspirations even though he's from the same generation as your parents! He even has tips, tricks and anecdotes to share with you!

To add insult to injury, you see your Dad being super cool with your friends/cousins... and wonder why he can't be like that with you! Which, strangely, is the exact same complaint that your cousins/friends have about their parents - Uncle Cool and Aunt Hip.

I used to think - "My parents are crazy! But when I become a parent, I'm gonna be super cool!"
...till today when I was reading Paul Graham... He says...

The kids think their parents are "materialistic." Not necessarily. All parents tend to be more conservative for their kids than they would for themselves, simply because, as parents, they share risks more than rewards. If your eight year old son decides to climb a tall tree, or your teenage daughter decides to date the local bad boy, you won't get a share in the excitement, but if your son falls, or your daughter gets pregnant, you'll have to deal with the consequences.


It's not that parents are selfish/unreasonable/materialistic/conservative/overprotective... They just do what makes sense, what every single person actually does - balance their own perceived risk and reward, pain and pleasure.

Parents' rewards...
They don't get the rewards of being out late partying, or of thundering across the mountains on you motorbike, or of being the college rockstar etc...
The only reward they get is the satisfaction that they're enabling their kids to experience life and do what they want...

Parents' risk...
They have as much risk as you do, if not more. If anything goes wrong, they will have to fix it for you, and support you emotionally and financially in dealing with the consequences. For them, it is added trouble that they can do without!

What about the Uncle Cool and Aunt Hip!?
They get the same reward of enabling/encouraging you to do what you want, of passing on valuable lessons and insights etc... of living their dreams through you... and the satisfaction of being "cool"...
Their risk? Not much really, because your parents will take care of you in case something goes wrong...

Moral(s) of the story :

1. Love your parents! They do a LOT for you! (Mamma, Papa, I love you!)

We are family!
2. Understand that your parents are not unreasonable/overprotective etc etc... When you want to do something, share more of the reward with them, and less of the risk. Whenever possible make the risk sound non existent...
; )

3. Avoid having kids of your own! Be the cool uncle... ; )

I've been kidding about this with my sisters for a while now actually...
"I'm not having kids... But you should have lots of kids... So that I can come over and totally spoil them! I'll buy them cool gifts, take them out on cool holidays, teach them cool stuff they're not supposed to know just yet... I'll be their cool uncle! : )"

[I just had a deep inner conflict...The reptilian part of me hard wired to survive and replicate does not agree with the third moral... Thankfully the other parts of me are stepping in to resolve the issue...]


Unknown said...

Too much PS.

When do we meet?

Unknown said...

Insightful indeed bratty.