“Did mummy scold you? Don't cry, I will just go and scold her!”
“Arey, mummy ne daanta aapko? Maen abhi mummy ko daant doongi.”
It was a recent conversation that sparked this thought in my mind. My friend was telling her young son that he had watched enough TV and it was time to go out and play.
I was visiting her on a regular weekend afternoon. The father and grandparents were also around. My friend and me were doing our regular session of catching up when this happened.
The 3-year-old was not ready to listen, and soon a small tantrum followed, at which point my friend got up, took the remote and switched off the television. As expected, the little boy burst into tears.
It was then that the doting grandmother came in. She picked up the boy in her arms, who was most willing to find someone who would sympathise with those tears, and asked him what happened. The little boy, of course, pointed towards the mother, the ‘culprit’ of the moment.
“Arey, mummy ne daanta aapko? Maen abhi mummy ko daant doongi.” (Did your mother scold you? Wait, I’ll scold your mother right now.)
All of us heard her saying that, but somehow no one reacted. I didn’t say anything too, but I couldn't help thinking about the countless times I was made the ‘culprit’ and some family member had told my little ones that they would scold me back simply because I had done the most terrible thing on earth—scold my own kids!!!
All the mother was trying to do above was tell her son that watching too much television was not good for his eyes, and that he should playing outside instead of sitting in front of the TV the whole day. At the time when no one else chose to take the responsibility of disciplining the kid. And when the little one did not listen, she did it herself.
The right thing to do would have been for both the parents to agree to the decision, and for the grandparents or other family members present in the scene to support the mother or just keep quiet.
But strangely, in most Indian households, the mother is held responsible for everything that the child does and learns. From the first steps to the first words that the child takes, to overall behaviour and study grades and health, everything is the mother’s responsibility.
If a child does well, the entire family feels proud and takes credit and even say "bilkul apne papa kee tarah hai". But if the child has any negative traits, it is often the mother who is blamed for being negligent and not teaching the right values to the child.
If that is the case, why can’t every member of the family support the mother as she helps the child to learn? Why can’t the family support her decisions, for she definitely knows what is best for her baby?
Something like this, even if said in a lighter vein, can have very negative effects on the child, who will learn to disregard what the mother says and instead look for ways to follow rules. A little understanding and support from the entire family can go a long way in helping a mother teach the lessons of life to her kids.
Let’s give her that support, shall we?
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