It was a beautiful Sunday evening. The sky was filled with playful shades of crimson, orange and pink. I asked my four year old son to accompany me to our neighborhood park. He showed no interest and like always wanted to watch cartoon on television. I tried my best to convince but failed. Being a Sunday evening, I got engaged in usual evening tea time chores. Suddenly, I heard him say, "dadu, aaj main aapko chodunga nahi" and he was literally hitting his grandpaa. It was not the first time I was noticing a change in his behavior. But today, his actions and words shocked me.
We belong to an intellectual family where we are always polite with each other. So the worry was, where was it coming from?
I continued with my work and tried to calm myself down. After an hour, I went to his room with a bowl of his favorite snack and engaged him in a conversation and asked him about the incident. To my surprise, he said, he was trying to imitate a cartoon character. It was quite alarming for me and I felt anxious all night. I tried to look for solutions and researched about all the cartoon series. Interestingly, most of watched series are full of nuisance, mock the superhero syndrome and promote violence, poor language development and aggressive behavior.
As a parent, I realized my mistake and it was time to make a shift. I met his teachers, some of my friends and discussed my concerns with them. After listening to their opinions and my research, I shortlisted some of the good, morale building series. Gradually I tried to deviate his interest from all his favorite series to the ones I felt were more engaging and informative. I reduced his screen time and tried to engage him in activities like block building, clay modeling, painting and outdoor play. Increasing role of television, electronic media in our kid's routine, is also raising issues of weak eyesight, bad eating habits, poor immunity, poor social life and lesser outdoor activities.
It was a great lesson for me that children will never develop a habit on their own. What we expose them to, will form our child's habit. After all it's our habits, which form our behavior patterns and then our personality. An early correction is the best way to develop a good personality. Now, I equally enjoy watching cartoon series with him.