Raising a child is a very delicate matter and most parents don’t realise that it is an art to be learned. Following the society repeating the erroneous cycle of the negligent behaviour of their own parents doesn’t bestow any grace. Wrong parenting strangles a child, reduces them to a prisoner and makes parents slave of their guilt.
Like any other place, Kashmir is no exception and that’s we see that the relationship between parents and children is becoming strained every day. One should really dive deep to understand this delicate task of parenting and where most people slip up. As Oscar Wilde once said,
“Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them.”
All babies grow up loving their parents, looking up to them, seeing that bright light in them. As they grow up, the love turns into judgement and then judgement creates distance. Suddenly, there is a new scene where the father is a distinct unapproachable figure, while the mother shows her love just by overfeeding the child. The child is too far from the parents, trying to carve a niche for themselves away from their parents. There are various things that need to be understood for the growing fractures between the parents and the child.
Firstly, parents have to understand that there should be free communication between parents and the children, non-judgemental and consistent communication. The child should be able to say anything without having the fear of being beaten or punished for it. Many times, children ask difficult and uncomfortable questions, it’s important that parents understand and listen to them. Communication gives a child the chance to unload their bag of worries, it makes them feel lighter. Non-judgemental dialogue helps them understand that there is someone they can talk to no matter what they’ve done. If they’re punished or beaten for opening up about something they did, they will start lying from the next time. Most parents complain that their children lie a lot but they fail to understand that the reason behind lying is that their truth is always unwelcome and is met with a hard reaction.
Secondly, parents should realise that instead of giving a sermon to others about acting cool with the child, they should do it themselves. All parents know how others should bring up their child but clearly have either no idea about how to bring up their child or lack the courage to execute the same. This ignorance is not limited to parents alone but it also envelopes psychologists and psychiatrists in its darkness. This is clearly evident from an interview of prominent psychiatrist R.D. Laing’s son. In the interview, his son complained that his father became a family psychiatrist but his own family was a mess.
Since when did farmers start blaming the seed for not germinating in an unsuitable environment? If a gardener cannot make a bud bloom, it is his fault and not the fault of the bud.
“The moment a child is born, a woman dies and a mother is born.” This statement has two implications. First being that the way this mother is born in a woman will certainly reflect in the child. If this mother is born in a tight, rigid marriage where the waters of love do not flow, then this mother cannot naturally bring forth a child who can love. If the mother’s life is not touched by love, there is no way this mother can offer love to her child. So it is necessary for parents to have a successful marriage before they decide to have a child. The second implication is that just as a child grows, a mother should also grow with the child.
Thirdly, Parents shouldn’t just keep sticking with the child all the time. By doing this, they limit their choices and interfere with their overall development. Termed as helicopter parenting by psychologists, this behaviour is on an increasing trend in Kashmir. Maybe this helicopter parenting stems from mild PTSD of which almost everyone is a victim of in Kashmir. Helicopter parenting is a very important thing that needs to be understood and curbed very early before it causes more damage than it already has caused. This type of parenting doesn’t even let the child breathe properly. Parents should understand that it is okay if sometimes a teenager commits a mistake. After all, a mistake is the doorway to learning and skill development.
Fourthly, parents need to be role models for their children. This means that both the father and mother should themselves bloom first.