Thursday, December 01, 2005

Being a parent.

Aekta's post criticising excessive sexuality in movies reminded me of my apprehensions about parenthood.

I dread being a parent; probably the only thing I dread more is being trapped in an all-gaboor room with people playing antakshari all day long. The reason why I dread it so much is because I don't know the first thing about bringing up a child, the type of moral instructions it should or shouldn't get; to bring up a child as an atheist or as an agnostic; to impose a sense of right/wrong at an age when it is too young to form impression; and if doing all this or not doing this will affect the child's psychological and emotional character in any way, and if it does, will I be responsible for it.

Heck, I don't even know if I should feel responsible. My upbringing tells me that I am responsible, and my mind tells me that I am not. Left to myself, I'd bring up the child as a scientifically-minded atheist that doesn't hold anything as right or wrong. But again, will I be being fair to the child. Not that there is anything wrong in bringing up a child in a way that would pput the child at a disadvantage later in its life, but it would ease my guilt.

Sometimes I wonder how parents bring up children the way they bring them up. Do they do what their parents did, their society is doing, or do they apply their minds to it and decide it on a case-by-case basis? Who told parents that exposing children to sexuality at an early age will lead to mental trauma later in life? Or are parents acting on what every other parent says?

How do parents decide to tell their children that, for example, that certain things are right and certain things aren't? What if the parents themselves can't discriminate between what is right and what is wrong?

How do parents tell their children to be patriotic? How do parents do the things they do? Am totally confused... Will somebody please clarify?


Parii said...

First of all I'm not condoning it at all, I'm criticising it!!!

Secondly, yes, its awfully hard being a parent. You have to balance things out very carefully. You have to teach your kids sensible stuff and yet help them think independently. It's a fine line between being protective and possessive.

I do not like forcing my ideals on my kids. I am a vegetarian by choice but I let them have non-veg, I figure they should make that decision themselves. I call myself a buddhist but I am content with them calling themselves hindus. But there are certain things you DO know you have to lay down the rules for: sleeping on time, eating on time, doing homework, playing on time, and so on, because you know it will mess up their body clocks otherwise.

Similarly as a mother, I KNOW that describing the word 'sexy' to my 9 and 6 year old is not a very wise thing to do. It's not about later trauma, its about their focussing on the wrong things at the wrong time. They hardly understand their bodies, forget about sexuality. This is why I oppose such movies and songs, which make them curious about these things sooner than they are biologically able to handle it.

You can only teach certain things by example. And sometimes, you're yourself not a very good example at all. No amount of coaching can make a kid a patriot unless the coach is really one himself. Nilu was only partly right when he said we try to make clones out of our kids, but fact is, we DON'T try, it just happens most of the time. The best way to teach someone to be a nice person is to be one yourself first, that goes for everyone, not just parents and kids.

Ishwar said...

Oops... got my words wrong. I meant criticising :)

Aekta, I completely agree with you. But consider this hypothetical situation: My daughter(or son) tells me that she is just back from an orgy and that there were 3 more girls and 4 boys. My only reaction would be to ask her if she had a good time and if she had protection. Nothing more.

The confusion would be that if I did the right thing by not reprimanding her. Left to myself, I wouldn't. If I did,I'd be imposing views on her which I don't believe in. And if I don't, it might end up being socially disadvantageous to her, which I wouldn't want.

At the end of it all, all I want to do is to save my ass.

Ambar said...

Ishwar, its just hubris.

Sanket said...

I think it's a huge problem when your daughter/son is still a kid. But once they reach a certain stage, however early/late, 'telling' does not remain one sided. You and (s)he may argue and reason. Most probably (s)he would not tell you tat (s)he is coming back from an orgy if (s)he thinks that will put you in a dilemma.

Shals said...

Hmm... never thought of such a thing!! May be its too early.

Ishwar, had your daughter told you something like this, you would have never reacted the way you mentioned... Its easier said than done. No matter how liberal we become about certain issues & life, the fact remains that theres is sense of right or wrong which remains embedded in our consciouns, the Morality, the values... that are instilled into our minds while we were growing up, and we tend to teach our children the same thing (directly or indirectly)...cus thts what we belive in subconsciously, even if we go about denying it.

whether our children wish to follow what we say, or have their own outlook towards things is something different.....and i guess they should be given that liberty wihout doubt.......

but what i think is our children tend to do things the way their parent would do, cus thats what they see and learn froM..i mean not all the time, but ya..most of the time.

What you want your children to be like kinda depends on how you are yourself......

"The best way to teach someone to be a nice person is to be one yourself first, that goes for everyone, not just parents and kids." What Aekta said is so true..... and thats what i believe in myself.

So stop thinking about how would you bring up your child and instead concentrate on how good and what kinda a role model would you wanna be?? And are you anywhere close to being one?

Shals !!