Women are keen on learning the art of analyzing the emotions because they are often plagued by guilt pangs and a sense of low self-esteem! Our kids, our families and our home are our pivots. And we derive our identities and experience a sense of achievement and satisfaction when we are working professionally.
Learning to juggle all these spheres of our lives is not easy. Something or the other is bound to go wrong somewhere at some time every day. Instead of getting overwhelmed by a sense of guilt, learning a few traits from our spouses will help us a great deal!
Why are women alone blamed when children misbehave or when something goes wrong in the family?
At what age are children supposed to shoulder their own responsibilities?
Can anyone at all teach them how to lead responsible lives?
What is their definition of responsibility? Is something wrong with their definition or thinking?
We can add another dozen questions here, but the flow of doubts and anxieties will continue to flow through our hearts.
The only feasible answer to those questions is – there is a mindset that needs to be changed here. Half a century ago, the men were the breadwinners of the family. The women took care of the home and the family. It was and even today is a thankless job. Every woman will vouch for it. But it has to be done – the endless household chores, the never-ending homework, assignments, projects and holiday homework! (God bless all the teachers – but mothers never could understand the concept of holiday homework).
The kids are frustrated. The women are going insane trying their best to multitask effectively. They fail miserably.
The grades suffer, the homework remains undone. Or the dinner is burnt to a cinder! Yeah – nothing to smile about – most of us reading this are on the verge of tears – we can feel the hot tears flowing down our cheeks! We can’t bring ourselves to shunt our children from one tuition class to another. We prefer to give them our time and personal attention so that they can grasp crucial concepts effectively.
We mold our teaching so that our kids learn things at their own pace. We are aware of their weaknesses and their strengths because we are personally interested in their academics. We use all our inner reserves of patience. Our kids slowly learn to overcome their weaknesses and turn them into strengths. The learning that they derive from this entire process is intangible because they learn perseverance. They learn tenacity, and they learn to have faith in their own ability and their efforts.
That is the kind of physical, mental and emotional investment that a woman makes for her kids. It is praiseworthy because she thinks nothing of it. In fact, she feels happy when she sees the understanding on her child’s face. She builds the confidence of her child one brick at a time – one day at a time – one assignment at a time. She creates this time for her children every day! It does not matter whether she is working outside or at her home. She is a devoted and dedicated mother.
And a single answer to all those endless questions would be – that is why she feels so guilty when something goes haywire in her child’s life. She has made a huge mental and emotional investment in her child’s life. She naturally gets hurt and upset when her child misbehaves or does not match even her most basic expectations.
That is one part of the scenario. If we detach ourselves from our emotions for a short while, we will agree that all women invest their love, time and energy to nurture their children with good values. No woman consciously or knowingly misguides her children.
At some point, children do grow up and grow out of their confining cocoons. They interact with the kids belonging to different social strata. The exposure expands the horizons of their learning. Academic knowledge alone is no longer enough now.
The values that the woman has nurtured her children with will be tested very often when these youngsters move out of their homes. We all hear incidents of young boys and girls – yes even girls – puffing cigarettes. The extreme end of the spectrum of addictive habits is best left to our imagination. Children – or should we now use the term youngsters – misbehave.
They bully, rag, pass sarcastic comments, use lewd language and whistle and hoot. They puncture tyres, empty the contents of their water bottles from the windows of their buses on innocent passers-by. They break the furniture of their classrooms and misguide the new school bus drivers. They shatter tube lights and steal question papers from the principal’s cabin.
Sad scenario. Where did they imbibe all this misguided learning from? Who influenced them? Think of the extreme – even terrorists were lovingly cared for by their parents? Why and how then did they become terrorists? Did the mother or the teachers teach them to become terrorists in real life or bullies in the school premises? Where is all this learning coming from?
Most of us will conveniently blame the family background for the child’s misbehavior. And that is what rankles. Why is the woman blamed for all the misdeeds of the children? No woman in her right mind will ever sow a wrong set of values amongst her children. Perhaps – being a normal human being – she will vent out her frustration on her children. We have all been spanked as children and have respected our parents for those spankings too………in retrospect.
We all acknowledge that every child is unique. We may notice some similarities in character traits amongst siblings, but we know that each child is inherently different. Why – even twins have extremely different character traits.
A lot depends on what kinds of elements we were exposed during our growing up years. The learning that we gleaned from our experiences of life shapes us into different personalities. Our children too are on the same trajectory of learning. They too are getting swayed by the strong influences of the external world.
As parents, we have done our best for our children. When the values that we have sown in them are tested, they will either succumb to the temptation or will emerge stronger. Many youngsters emerge stronger after they give in to the temptation of misbehavior. At some point in time in their lives, the learning and the realizations of the stark harsh reality will dawn on them.
They will then muster up the courage to acknowledge and accept their erroneous ways. They then realize that life is not about making merry all the time. The learning will slowly sink in when they gradually learn to shoulder their own responsibilities. The learning will then shape the course of their life as they graduate from dependence to independence and then slowly to interdependence.
The learning phase of independence is the longest of all and many of us – yes – us parents – unknowingly brand our children as selfish and self-centered at this stage of their lives.
We need to look at things from a different perspective here. Becoming independent is not an easy task – certainly not a joke to be laughed at. It does not happen overnight. Graduating from dependence to independence is tough.
We have no one to rely on or fall back upon now. It is scary and can even give rise to feelings of insecurity. Youngsters are just settling down into not so cushy first-time jobs. They are barely able to make ends meet. They hardly have enough money to take care of themselves. They are working round the clock to make a mark in their chosen profession so do not have a minute to spare.
Let us not brand them so callously. As mature parents, let us give them ample leeway to explore the expanse of the skies. They may falter a bit or stumble a lot along the way. But the learning from such life experiences will add a sheen to their personality.
Let the fly. Give them their freedom for their freedom was never in our hands anyway. Let the old fashioned social structure or people with out-dated perceptions brand and label the mother or the woman of the house for all the mistakes that the child makes and continues to make.
We can choose to turn a stony deaf ear to such hurtful spiteful comments. That is what we have to learn from our spouses. We have to think with our hearts and feel with our minds. Having done our duty to the best of our ability and having enjoyed the entire process of child rearing – let us now master the art of learning to let go of our children.
For if our children are truly ours – they will outlive us through our values. If they choose to live by a different value system – So Be It – the choice, after all, is theirs and theirs alone!