Monday, July 29, 2013

The Classic role reversal

I was born in 70s. I grew up in a household where black and white television and landline telephones were considered luxuries and a vespa scooter was good enough to flaunt your wealth. I also grew up watching my mother busy cooking and my father always out on some work. Father not being home was the default situation and we were quite close to mom. We used to confide in mom, share all our situations, take it easy, bend some rules. We could not do so when father was around. Father was the hero and disciplinarian. Mom would often say ,"clean up the mess, father is about to come". Sound of his scooter or his footsteps was good the cue for us to switch on that "good boy" mode and start to study hard or switch off the television or pretend to sleep. Whatever we needed had to be asked to father, who needed fair bit of convincing and negotiations to get it. Mom would be the undercover supporter. She would ask key questions at important moments to help us build our case and eventually get us what we wanted. In short, our father was disciplinarian and mother was confidant. We would take it easy with our mother but never take our chances with father. Father was the decision maker and mother was undercover ally.

Fast forward 20-25 years. I have a son. My wife is busy in the household, cooking, cleaning, shopping, ironing and managing the paraphernalia. I am busy in office for minimum 12 hours a day, when in station. Missing for entire working week, when I am traveling. On the face of it, situation is quite similar.

But if I scratch the surface I realize, that something has changed. By 180 deg. Is my guess.

When my son needs something he comes and makes a demand with me. Then me and him devise strategies to get it past his mom. He is not afraid to throw his things around rather than being orderly, when he is with me. But the moment he hears his mom, he would pretend that he was always cleaning up. Very often I hear my wife saying that the discipline slackens big time when I am around.
I checked this out with my friends and colleagues, the situation is quite similar.

Broadly, I can say that roles have reversed. For current "screenagers" father is the confidant and under cover ally and mother is the decision maker and disciplinarian.

Is it because fathers have started shouldering more responsibilities than their fathers and have found an easy way out?

Is it because all moms have seen softer approach of their moms not working on them and have shunned it?

Or is it because son's are trying to emulate their mothers and daughters are trying to emulate their fathers, thanks to their natural attraction and role modeling?

I really don't know the reason. I would like you guys to share your views. Feel free to share your thoughts on my blog. Would be a great discussion!!

Let the thoughts flow!!