This is what Namnam said to me, the other day when she got back from school.
I asked, ‘why did you say that? What happened?’ She replied’ you know ma, JM told me to sit in another chair but I didnt sit. He said”‘katti” and I said “ok” ‘. To which I asked, ‘Why did you say that? Dont you want JM to be your friend?’ Pat came the reply,’ Yes, ma, but why should he force me? I KNOW where I want to sit’.
Now this happened when, only the night before, I had advised her how she should not force anybody to do things that she wants them to do and in the same way she must not allow anybody to force her to do things against her wish. Although this advice was, in retaliation to her constant pestering to get me to draw some painting that I didnt have a clue about( imagine, me & painting ), I made or at least tried to make her understand that she had to apply this wherever she felt the need to.
A lot of factors made me give this particular advice to her. One of them primarily being the horrific stories that I had been reading about child sexual abuse lately. I realize how much trauma those poor little souls had been forced to undergo, even worse how much they had been forced to shush up their stories, how much they have been forced to blame themselves for their ordeal.
The other factor being the umpteen stories of unjust parental expectations crushing the dreams of their children. So many parents forcing their kids to study harder and become an engineer or a scientist or chartered accountant. Why? Because it was something that THEY wanted to achieve but couldn’t so the only way to live their dream was through their children. And if the children, by any stroke of ill-fate, harbored a different dream for themselves that clashes with the expectations of their parents, then they were forced by way of thrashing/ hitting/emotionally blackmailing to change the course of their dreams.
Sometimes I feel I go overboard when I find myself nagging her to do her homework. Oh how I hate myself for doing that. Oh yes she brings homeworks! A mere kindergartener. I have so much to say about that but I’ll let that grouse be for another day,another post.
Anyway, coming back to the advice when I saw parents forcing their children to conform to their sky-high expectations, it pained me to see how much they were hampering the confidence and growth of their children. And I didnt want any of that to happen to my child. I didnt want her to feel forced into doing something that she didnt want to do. I didnt want her to think that she didnt have the freedom to do things that interested her. I wanted her to know she had all the freedom to dream and go after those dreams. Hence the advice.
So when she came and told me the class-incident, even though a small one at that, it made me happy to see that she did understand that advice after all. It made me happier that she had a mind of her own to know what she wanted.
Many a times, as parents, we end up forcing our children to do things that we want them to do. I agree many times our little ones are unreasonable in their demands and we are left with no option but to get a bit more compulsive.
But when we demand an all ‘A’ from her children and go all overboard when they bring home a B instead OR force them to become an engineer despite knowing that their interests lie in becoming a singer OR force them to get married to a person of OUR choice while expecting them to disregard their own OR force our them( daughters specifically) to ‘adjust’ or go in for a samjhauta in their marital homes, then its us who are being unreasonable, arent we?
Why force our kids into submitting to our unreasonable ways? Why not let them have a mind of their own and let them do things out of their own free will?