They are naughty
They are clever
But dil ke hain achhe
Ye aaj kal ke bachhe!
They have tantrums
Big demands & huge mood swings
But hugs & pyar hain sachhe
Ye aaj kal ke bachhe!
Gizmo freaks & tech-savvy
Online gamers,TV crazy
Kar de hume hakke-bakke
Ye aaj kal ke bachhe!
They negotiate & bargain
Steal the deal they do
But apni baat ke hain pakke
Ye aaj kal ke bachhe!
Sensitive yet strong
They weather every storm
Har rang mein jo rache
Ye aaj kal ke bachhe!
They are still young & vulnerable
Ours to guard & keep
Intelligent,smart par kuch kachhe
Ye aak kal ke bachhe!

Oho! Aaj kal ke bachhe!
This is the phrase everyone grows up listening to. As kids, we feel our parents are too old-fashioned and then, when we step in their shoes and become parents ourselves, we feel the kids are too difficult to handle and we were probably very obedient ones. Meanwhile, the kids are giving us the 'you are so old-fashioned' look! Well, it is rightly said
What goes around, comes around!
The vicious cycle of life continues...right now I am a member of the middle generation- I am mother to a six year old who belongs to the latest gizmo-obsessed generation. I am now the one who is shaking her head in disapproval at times and in utter amazement on others and saying....Aaj kal ke bachhe!
I claim to be no expert(children really know how to prove you wrong!) and I am just sharing my experience and opinion as a still-learning mother.

These are aaj kal ke bachhe!
We parents need to understand that the generation of our successors has entered the world at a very different time. We cannot judge them according to the parameters our parents set for us. It would be so unfair! We have seen 'those' times and we are seeing 'these' too. They haven't. This is all they know.We are the ones who should understand, rather than expecting them to comply to generation old norms. It is imperative to share common ground. The highly digital and connected universe we are now living in does have an impact on them; good or bad-is for us to control. After all, we brought them into this world!

Digital dilemma
Kids grow up with mobiles and remotes in their hands today. It is not their fault, it is not ours! We keep on saying that we grew up playing outdoors and aaj kal ke bacche are just glued to the TV or smartphone screen. True, but it was not a choice we made as kids. We never had access to the digital media and TV just played Doordarshan(need I say more?) My daughter can use a smartphone better than my parents without being taught and even offers to teach them. It just shows how quickly children learn and grasp things.
I am not against the use of internet and social media; I got my daughter a tab at the age of four as she was always inquisitive about her father's and my mobile and I thought it was better to get her her own tab where I could control the content rather than handing her over ours and then getting worried sick as she opened the gallery, but I do feel that we need to make sure that gadgets are judiciously used.
We cannot take away technology from them;it is not a solution. I know of parents who try that too but it will only make your child crave for the 'out-of-bounds' thing more. Therefore,instead of trying to push our kids into medieval times, we must teach them balance.
- The time that children spend playing games on the mobile or watching TV should be restricted and clearly communicated.
-The child should have access to only age-appropriate content. The Playstore has many privacy securing apps to ensure that.
-Before letting your kid watch a cartoon,watch it yourself. There are many aired nowadays(I wonder why,though!) that use double meaning dialogues or perennially crying characters.
-Games are not all bad. Rather,they improve motor skills and reflexes. Allow your child to play them but do not let them become a substitute for outdoor games
-Do not use the access of TV and mobiles as a reward for good behaviour. It will only glorify them further.

The 'too' social media
The world has shrunk with the advent of social media and communication has become a bit too easy. At times it feels like we are exposing too much of ourselves to the world for a couple of 'likes' and comments. When we adults are having a hard time, how can the little ones' minds differentiate between virtual and real world? Cartoon videos available over the internet are a good way to engage your child for a while but what about other videos available on the very same site at the click of a button?
- Download the video your kid wants to watch. Switch off the internet and then hand over the tab/laptop. Better still,be around,
- Explain to your kid that social media sites are not for young children. If you have a teen, explain to her the importance of privacy settings and the use of discretion in sharing media.
-Encourage real-life socialising. Her going out and making friends might make you worried for her but it would be way better than staying indoors and relying on virtual friends.
-Be your child's friend so that she can open up and let you know of any misadventure.
The virtual world of social media is very alluring but highly addictive and unsafe at the same time if discretion is not used. Empower your child with the freedom of choice but also let her know that with choices come the responsibility of taking onus and bearing the consequences. The line is very fine and the balance difficult to achieve but then, nothing great ever happens with easy things,right?

Trust your child & let her be!
Aaj kal ke bachhe as we call them are a very sharp and intelligent breed. They understand and learn many a things that we think are beyond their comprehension. Hence we must trust them. Trusting your child not only increases her confidence levels but also sets the foundation for a strong and lasting relationship. The kids of today need to know from us that we are not on the other side of the generation gap, standing and giving instructions. They should feel our presence right next to them as we let them walk on these new roads. There is no time as 'ours' and 'theirs'...this time, right now is what we have together....this is the best !They are drama kings and queens, too naughty and demanding at times and seem like too much to handle but they are the little people WE created, those who love us immensely and unconditionally...mimic us...believe in us and though are a part of us walking outside us, yet are individual and unique in their own way. If they are aaj kal ke bachhe,we are aaj kal ke parents!
And as aaj kal ke parents, we must remember the beautiful saying,

 ‘’Try to see your child as a seed that came in a packet without a label. Your job is to provide the right environment and nutrients and to pull out the weeds. You can’t decide what kind of flower you’ll get or in which season it will bloom.’’