a typical conversation between a group of parents when they get together:
Mother#1: I am
so worried about my son, his O levels are in a month and all he does
is laze around the whole time.
Mother#2: Lazing around-that's better than a son who is constantly
bunking classes, and getting himself in ridiculous car races, it's
like I can never stop worrying about what's next.
Father#1: Please I know your sons, at least at the end of the day
they manage to get decent grades, even after getting a conditional
promotion last year, mine just doesn't want to study...
Mother#3: I'm still taken aback by what my daughter's class-teacher
told me, MY DAUGHTER got caught cheating in a MID TERM EXAM! They
said that if it had been a different teacher she would have been directly
expelled, but this one didn't go to the authorities. How can I ever
show my face in school again?
Father#2: I know how you feel, my daughter got suspended from school
for 2 weeks because she got into a fistfight and managed injure another
classmate. I would expect this from a son, but the fact that Amaaira
could do this is too much to take!
Mother#4: All my children are addicted to this 'band' craze. All they
do is sit, around in the roof, doing god knows what and singing, the
people coming into my house...I just DO NOT LIKE!
Mother#5: That's right, sometimes I feel like throwing that guitar
into the lake.
Mother#6: You are worrying about all these miniscule things, my son's
new girlfriend is that smuggler cum politician cum thief X's daughter,
and they seem pretty serious, I can't sleep at night thinking about
how insulting this is!
Father#3: All of you are worried about cigarettes, studies, I recently
found a bag of 'substances' under Imran's bed. I had a talk with him,
but the attitude really hurt me.
Mother#7: Allah, you won't believe it, last New Year's Eve, I found
a bottle in Shafkat's room! That was just wrong. How on earth do they
get hold of such things?
Mother#8: Accha, How do you think I can get my son a bit out of sports?
If it's not tennis, then its Basketball, or football...he just doesn't
understand that there are more important things in life.
Chowdhury Rashaam Raiayan
so it continues. It's like they go on a marathon letting the whole
world know our short-comings. Who will get the trophy for having the
worst-possible-messed-up child? Why do parents parade all our bad
deeds amongst their friend group or chachas and khalas and mamas?
I still don't understand the inner satisfaction they derive out of
belittling us in public.
I guess it's our
culture that makes it a normal thing to say only bad things about
our children. Besides, we do hate those over-conceited parents who
continuously brag about their children's successes: "My son got
into Princeton, Faisal got a new job, Shaila makes me so happy all
the time, she's started a new..."
I have come to
the conclusion that some parents are just never happy. In class 1
when you flunked, they were upset about that, after that you manage
to get to the middle of the class, that's still not good enough, 'if
only you worked a bit harder you could be first'. Then when you are
'first' (i.e.: all As in your Os), you have to go to Harvard or some
elite College, you don't get into the college of your (their?) dreams
and its like their life comes crashing down for some time.
They made you
take lessons in Rabindro Sangeet or the tabla all throughout your
life, (which you are grateful for) but then you realize you want to
play the guitar or drums, what happens? They are not happy! So what
do they do? Continuously give you their unwarranted opinions about
music...Even after you are old, happily married, and successful they
find other stuff to put you off, like 'You don't know how to take
care of your children!" But that's another story.
here is how it works, parents think that by pointing out their children's
mistakes in public, it will catalyze their transformation to the path
What it actually
does is stabs the person's self-esteem. It makes him/her feel inadequate
and once that 'I am a failure' notion kicks in it's pretty hard to
get rid of. Once s/he thinks 'I'm not good enough anyway so why bother
trying to be better: that is, something I'm not', they enter the path
of greater destruction. Like experimenting with drugs, cigarettes,
a bit of alcohol, no studying etc because he feels like it is his
job to live up to the 'bad' image that he has been given.
Hey, I'm no expert
on parenting, but common sense says, it's easier to deal with those
wild ones with some quality time, non-criticizing talks and providing
incentives to be better. You can't just expect them to turn over a
new leaf in a short span of time. Besides, when parents are continuously
judgemental, children pick up on this habit and in the future they
themselves become overly critical. The same old 'he is not good enough,
she comes from an inferior background' kind of mentality kicks in
when they're interacting with the outside world. In the long run this
can have an extremely negative impact: (in the form of not having
any friends because none of them are apparently not good enough')
Here's the thing:
we are children, we are bound to make mistakes. And parents will be
parents, I guess they would always want what is best for us. You know
when in our teens, we explore life, and find out our own way the difference
between wrong and right (even if it is the hard way). So our parents
shouldn't parade around our mistakes because with time we ourselves
understand them and feel ashamed of it.
I would like to request all parents (and those of us who will end
up as parents in a few years) to stop worrying so much. Parent-offspring
relationships should be based on mutual respect. So don't go off blabbing
about the things we get wrong along the way, because in 5 years down
the line, it's insulting to be remembered as the boy with drug problems,
or the girl who cheated in her exams...