Selfish Parents, Chukur's Children

Jan 1 , 2022
By Kidist Yidnekachew

I was at home the other day when I heard children downstairs in our building shouting and playing. It was nothing ordinary, but what they were saying caught my ears.

Yamach abatachin, chukur betachin,” they were chanting.

Yamachis the name of a character who became the mafioso leader of a village or neighbourhood after a lot of struggle. Chukuris the name of a slum-like area found in Turkey in the show of the same name. Anyone who watches Kana, a domestic satellite channel, knows what I am talking about. The show is full of violent scenes and made for mature audiences. At the beginning of every episode, there is a disclaimer that it is not appropriate for anyone aged below 13. It does not seem to be working.

How did the children know about it? Could it be parents watching the show with their kids or whoever is in charge of taking care of the kids watching the show with them?

I happen to enjoy the show and watch it daily. There were occasions I watched it with my two-year-old, assuming he could not understand any of it; to my surprise, he did have an awareness of the violence. When scenes that involved torture and killing came, his facial expressions changed and he turned his face away and said to me, “mommy, I am scared.”

Even his cousin of six years old knows all the names of the characters and has started making paper guns, pretend shooting everything he sees. When he plays with my son, they often role-play a shootout. The Turkish show might not be the only one to blame. There are animated cartoons that portray violent scenes in a sanitised manner, where no one ever bleeds, no matter the punishment inflicted upon them. But I felt terrible and stopped watching the show on TV, switching to streaming it on YouTube.

The influence of the media is pervasive and as parents, if we are not careful, it could leave scars on our kids. Most of us are unaware of and do not pay attention to what is on the TV as long as there is no sexual content and foul language. Meanwhile, the media is bombarding our kids with confusing and misleading messages. I cannot say it is solely the media's fault, but rather us viewers and, in this case, parents.

A while ago, a host on EBS TVhad a guest that talked about parenting. He was talking about having quality time with our children. He said being there with our kids is not enough; we have to give them quality time and be with them fully; engage in an activity they like, not drag them along when we do something we enjoy.

On that account, I think most of us are selfish parents. We tell our children to be quiet when we are working, sit when we watch a show we like, put them to sleep early to spend time with our spouses or watch TV. I am very guilty in this regard; thus I try to monitor my actions often, so I become less selfish and give them my undivided attention, not just scroll my phone while pretending to take an interest in what they are doing.

The revelation made me take corrective actions. Still, it gets to be too much at times, forcing me to revert to my old selfish ways. I cannot be the only one guilty of being a selfish parent sometimes, and it should not be something to be used to cancel the effort at being a more emotionally present parent, in my or others’ case. But awareness of our shortcomings is half the battle. Learning from our mistakes and finding the balance between what we as parents enjoy and what our kids enjoy ought to be our goal.

PUBLISHED ON Jan 01,2022 [ VOL 22 , NO 1131]

Kidist Yidnekachew is interested in art, human nature and behaviour. She has studied psychology, journalism and communications and can be reached at (

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