Thu, 04 Aug 1994

Small families may produce `imperial kids'

JAKARTA (JP): The success in the campaign for people to have small families has a major potential downside which parents must watch out for -- the tendency to raise "super brats" or what a senior Health Ministry official calls "imperial kids".

Dr. Leimena, the Director General for Community Health Supervision, said there is a tendency for parents of small families to go all out to meet and satisfy their children's needs.

The phenomenon already existed in developed countries, where parents of one, two or three tend to spoil their children.

"The family planning program in Indonesia is a big success and we can now easily find families with a small number of children ... But we hope the tendency towards such a spoiling phenomenon will not happen here," he said, as quoted by the Antara news agency.

Leimena said that although such an attitude was actually a sign of parental affection, having an only child -- or a small number of children -- to care for and a limited amount of time to spend with them, would easily cause parents to overindulge their children's every needs, he said.

He warned that such spoiled children would become "uncontrollably naughty".

Leimena pointed out that the best way to avoid children from becoming "little tyrants" was to learn to firmly say "no" to their negative or unhealthy demands.

"By directing their demands to other things, the parents can compensate the disappointment they have caused," he said, adding that this would also teach discipline to the children.

In line with Leimena, Chairman of the Indonesian Children Welfare Foundation Mrs. Umar Wirahadikusumah said discipline and strictness should become the culture of Indonesian children.

She pointed out that many parents give bad examples to their children, such as tailing after a child while it is eating and being spoon fed. (pwn)