Learning to be Real

Recently,a friend went through a strange dilemma: separated and wanting to remarry.

Written by Charulataravikumar | New Delhi | Published: August 26, 2012 9:54:12 pm

Recently,a friend went through a strange dilemma: separated and wanting to remarry.

Recently,a friend went through a strange dilemma: separated and wanting to remarry. Strange,because her daughter may not be able to deal with her wanting to be with another man. To most Indians,this would be the right thing to do and to many children,there could be no different an expectation from parents. Our ingrained philosophy,culture and Bollywood melodrama,has conditioned us beyond reasoning to believe that we,as parents,must be like god. And we enact it in our every action and emotion,making our children falsely believe that parents are beyond such “ungodly” acts. We do this to protect our children,hoping they believe in this world of artificial joys and forced values. 

Life can never be perfect and stress-free. We must help children deal with the variations in life and not see every out-of-text instance as an unpardonable error of judgement. I pick here some such instances that we “godly parents” pretend should not exist for our children. 

“We are absolutely fine,baby.” No,we really are not. We are worrying about your future,debts,problems at work and having sleepless nights. Children will need to cope with these and also support parents during difficult times. It is our folly to think that they cannot. All times pass — this positive approach will help them in future as they learn the lessons of family values and true bonding through the highs and lows of life. Life truths cannot be farther than the statement “there is no trouble at home”. While dealing with a no-maid situation for many weeks,my son helped me with household chores,doing the dishes,running the wash and laying the table. Some gasped at this,but we bonded better over these mundane chores while he took another step towards being independent.

“We can buy you whatever you want. If we can’t,then it’s only because we believe you have too much.” How about telling your child that you cannot afford it? Shed the fear of failing your child by being seen by her as incapable. She will grow to understand the importance of money better. The need to equalise makes children want all that their friends have. And so,we endlessly buy the Transformers and Barbies and indulge them with iPhones,too early in life. I wonder if this is driven by the child’s need for friend-circle supremacy or our own for winning their “best parent” vote.

“Do wrong and god will punish you.” So how would you react if your six-year-old scribbled his first love note? Not because he has fallen in love but because it’s a harmless experiment with a new word he has learnt. Beat him up? Harshly reprimand him? Ignore it and pray this goes no further? Or,talk to him to find out his reasons for doing this and then explain the possible consequences? Not fear,but facts and options allow children to develop their own reasoning. They will mostly choose a sensible path. And if they don’t,it is important for them to learn through their own mistakes.

“Godly parenting shuns crying.” Being vulnerable and sensitive are beautiful dimensions to each of us. Tell them what upset or hurt you. Tell them you need help in getting over the emotion. Parenting is not only about giving. Reaching out to your children when you feel low will not only strengthen your bond with them,but also teach children to be more sensitive to the needs of others.

Say and be sorry,to teach them to say and be sorry. The godly parent ego does not accept defeat. In trying to discipline our children we often say hurtful things that can have a deep bearing on them. Talking it out and accepting your mistake will help them analyse their own. We define their behaviour as “ill-mannered” and “difficult” and term our own as “discipline”. But what they learn from our actions have a lasting impact.

Godly parents are perfect couples. All parents like to believe their little ones don’t see the stress in their relationship. And this,inspite of knowing that kids are very sensitive and understand every nuance of a strained relationship. I have heard many children crying secretly or confiding in their friends on how sad it makes them to see their parents fight. Children can deal with it better if it is not hidden from them and would appreciate parents as individuals if they were honest and create an environment of respect and love.

Godly parenting makes any feelings for a person outside of the family seem impossible. So,by that illogical logic,children who can never face the truth about their parents moving apart only suffer from a confusion continuum in their life relationships. And for fear of rejection from your child,you would sacrifice your emotions. My friend should pick up the courage to allow her married daughter to deal with the situation,with the assurance that nothing will change their love for each other. Not being afraid to be human is a quality that she will need in future as she deals with her own shift of horizons.

Godly parenting is a myth we have imposed on ourselves. To unbind our children from the shackles of illogical values,we need to break away from it and stop pretending we are gods. Because only humans can raise humans.

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