Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Not All Parents Are Gods.

Foreward - This is a long post, with views that may not be acceptable by many or even enrage some. I will not be surprised, and so be cautioned if you are going ahead and reading this post, it stands strongly against the common belief system of most people.

Loving ones parents is a diktat, which we all grow up with, and I wonder why. Who created this unsaid rule, I wonder. Why is a child expected to love the parents unconditionally, while the expectations should be exactly the reverse.

Recently, while talking to a friend, the conversation led to such thoughts, and she said, the parents have the baby because they want to, and the child owes nothing to them. This refreshed my memories of an old friend, a man who spoke bluntly, but honestly. It was ages back when I was in terrible mental turmoil, and he narrated an incident to me, where tiered of his parents expectations, and demands, he once retorted, in the presence of guests saying,"You enjoyed yourself, and brought me here, so might as well deal with your responsibilities." Back then I was shocked. Now, not so much, in fact I have started to agree with the mindset. Its not that I believe a child needs to hate or disrespect the parents, but I believe the emotions should not be expected from every child irrespective of circumstances, nor is it necessary to blindly love ones parents, no matter what they do. It is infact the parents who want the child and have a child, with the responsibility of bringing him up to the best of their abilities. Whether its a planned child, or an unplanned one, it is definitely not the baby, who needs to come. Sometimes, I believe it is a conspiracy, to make a child believe that parents are always, perfect, so that they can be controlled.

The worst fallout of this blind following, is the lack of improvement. If I have grown up thinking my parents are perfect, I will blindly follow them to create myself as a replica of them, with no scope of growth or development. Sad really. I would love to quote my class twelve class teacher, who put as beautifully as I can ever imagine. She said,
To continue the process of human evolution, one must learn from their parents faults as much as from their qualities. One should love his parents, but must not be blind to them. One should see what their parents are lacking in, and eliminate that from themselves.

This has forever stayed with me. I just love what she said, and I appreciate it even more, having become a parent myself. I would never want my child to blindly believe me, I want him to ask questions, to observe and decide for himself, and most importantly develop a mind independent of either of his parents. I want only to instill in him core values like honesty, integrity, loyalty, kindness, but I want him to interpret life on his own. I want him to be better than his parents, to succeed where we have not, to posses what we lack. How selfish would it be for me as a parent to want my child to not achieve that, not even want to, and just be where the DH or I am, with nothing more. Unfortunately most parents want their children to be exactly like them, following every word they say, and be just like them. If these are averagely decent people, good for the child, else, we just have a species, which has stopped evolving.

It is scary when we look around and find people who are absolute clones of their parents, who believe they are independent thinkers, but are actually like the computers, which are programmed, in this case by the parents, and simply reflect their parents in their every word and act. Everyone picks up certain qualities, beliefs, morals from the people who bring them up, but to never give it any conscious thought, and just maintain that, without ever even realising if that is indeed their own true nature, is that not scary? The human consciousness is then stagnating, with no development, no change. A person who has grown up in a strongly religious family, where other communities are looked at with suspicion, will continue to do so, blindly without ever really understanding why. It is just blindness.

I for one, can never love anyone, except for the BB, based on legal relationships I have with them. I am incapable of that. I care from the core of my existence for people, whom I love, and I love them, because I like them as people, not because they are my sister, brother, cousin, uncle or aunt. My every personal connection is formed with a person, never with a relationship. When I like someone, I am extremely expressive about it. I can say it often enough to tire the person out. My appreciation never ceases to flow, because it is genuine, and my likings only form, because the person has achieved it. But absolutely no respect, emotions or liking can be expected from me for a person who is related to me, just because he is a relative. I have developed the art of maintaining a formal appearance of decency, as every woman needs to after marriage, but respect or love, just cannot happen. The BB is an exception to the rule, because I wanted him, and he is in the world today only because of the GP and I wanting it that way. It is absolutely my responsibility to love him unconditionally, and support him in every possible way to the very best of my ability. And I hope that as he grows, the love will keep growing, because he will grow up to a person who commands my love and respect, and not just as my child, but as a wonderful human being. I want him to love me, for what I am, and not just because I am his mother, I want him to question me, when he does not agree with me, so that I can make him understand the reason for my actions, or understand his point of view, learn and change where needed. I want him to have the space to grow and develop a mind that knows, only what his mind believes is the right thing to do, and not to blindly follow norms.

The second, grouse I have against this rule of blind love for parents, is that if a child feels a natural, instinctive dislike for the parent, he is too scared to express it, just like the fear of expressing homosexuality, no matter what the reasons. Censure and taunts is what he can look forward to. Nobody thinks it is acceptable, we are brainwashed to believe it is evil to dislike parents, and anyone who does that, is evil. So even if a child is being tortured by the parents, he has not a soul to confide to, without fear. If he does express himself, he need to give a million explanations for why. Why not? I ask? Why does one have to love their parents, why can an abused child never say he has been abused, and be understood by people, why do people need to blindly follow their parents and replicate themselves as monsters where applicable. Is it not the parent who wanted the child in the first place, and was it not an absolute responsibility of the parent to provide the best to their child, emotionally and physically?

A child may have grown up in the worst conditions, due to the parents, and yet, due to mental conditioning, he continues to be subservient and dutiful, or needs to be completey blind to his own personal misery. Because of the ingrained false sense of morality that says the It is a case where I believe the classical conditioning takes over, and seemingly bad behaviour towards parents is filled with guilt and pain for the child, because he has grown up being forced to accept that parents are always good, and should always be loved. I am not aware of cultures beyond India, but I know that this is the way it exists in India. Very, and I say, a very few are able to stand up and say no, without guilt attached to it. Its a cycle very very hard to break, and even tougher to maintain, that state of mind once achieved. A lot of married women will agree with what I say here, I know. But it is applicable as much to men as to women. There are a lot of children who are exploited by their parents, but never even accept the truth of it, because they are conditioned not to. What follows then in a vicious cycle, is the same brand of parenting when they themselves grow up and become parents. If one looks at it from a distance, it is heart stoppingly terrifying. Exploitation, does not necessarily mean being beaten up, but can also mean a child who has no control over his life, where every decision is the parents, no matter what the age of the offspring, where the life of the child is only about fulfilling his parents wishes and desires and nothing more. There are so many parents who blindly refuse to accept their child's choice of a spouse, and in many cases the child quietly agrees, and does the parent's bidding, the same happens in the choice of career or education. These are not as obvious forms of exploitation of harmful parenting as is beating up a child, or forcing them into child labour, but the psychological repercussions can be far deeper. From growing up with no ability to take decisions, a lack of self confidence, to an ingrained belief that nothign they do is ever good enough. These things are extremely detrimental in real life. What does such a child really owe to his parents. What indeed?

Picture an average girl, in an average, educated, middle class family, growing up. An only child, expressing to the world the true mental liberation of the parents, not obsessed with the a male child. From the day she is born, she is taunted for being dark skinned and ugly, by none other than her own mother. Not a day passes by when she is not chided for her pathetic looks, and how she is such a let down for her peaches 'n cream complexioned mother. This happens so often, that guests visiting the household, feel free to similarly taunt her, even going as far as to say that she looks like the backside of an elephant. She grows up some and fights it out loud, telling the mother in clear tones that it is such a horrible thing to say, because she is growing up in progressive family, a modern one. Asking the mother to stop taunting her for her looks. But within, its a lost cause. She believes herself to be ugly and worthless in every possible way. Twenty years down the line, the mother may turn and say that it was all but a joke, but by then the girl's spirit in gone. Never can she believe she is worth a second glance, or that she possesses even decent looks. Even when someone truly compliments her on her physical appearance, she can never really accept it, because she can never believe she deserves it, in even the minutest possible way. This kind of bad parenting is not outright, nor obvious or apparent, especially when she is being educated in premier institutions of the country, the parents are feeding and clothing her well. Who would dare say the parents are bad? No one, at all.Imagine the strength and courage it then needs, for a girl like that to break out of that cycle, the oppression and step out. But even then it is not easy, because no one really understands her, without her begging them to, with explanations and horrific tales of her scarring childhood.

When a child does give up on his parents, every person who even remotely knows him, will persuade him into believing he is wrong, that parents could not possibly ever be bad and the fault lies with him. Sometimes it does not. It really does not. And at this vulnerable juncture of life, when the person most needs reassurance, it really does not help to doubt him, needing himself to explain himself everywhere, trying to convince himself as much as anyone else, that what he has done is not the wrong thing to do. It is a very tough decision to make, for one, and the vulnerability one feels at that point cannot be explained. One can compare it to a divorce maybe, but it is worse. Because when one gives up on the parents, it is giving up on the secure shelter of life, or atleast the illusion of it. It is not easy. What people need to understand too, is that in the true sense of nature, a child is the weaker, helpless being, and the parents the stronger more powerful one. Nature has given people parental instincts, because the balance needs to remain. But in today's educated and uplifted society, where every natural order and instinct is looked down upon, the parental instinct is gradually dwindling too, leaving a small child in great peril. No one believes that a child is exploited by parents, unless they witness it themselves, it is not considered possible. And the knowledge of this disbelief makes it so much tougher for the child to ever come out, and express his pain and distress. It needs an immensely tough person to be able to first point out what is wrong, accept that it truly is wrong, and then break away. It is not easy either, when every other person who he looks at for some support doubts and judges him at this crucial point.

Why does society question a man who moves away from his parents, not fulfilling his responsibilities towards them, inspite of the fact that the have been hurtful to him forever, have used him for their own selfish motives, and never cared for him. And inspite of all of this, the parents are blindly believed to be good, and the child to be the one who is wrong. The parents will cry hoarse about how they have been abandoned by their child in their old age, and the whole world will sympathise with them, but no one will feel for the man, who was young, and helpless as a child and mistreated by the parents, because it is a given, that parents are good. Why is our view so lopsided, so biased, so pathetically uninformed and narrow minded. It is evil to even utter a bad word about our parents, no matter what they do to us, if we leave abandon them, the whole world will try to persuade us to think twice about it, but no one bothers to say a word to parents when they mistreat their child, a child who knows no one but them in this world, who cannot survive without them. Why and why again? It is so bad infact, that the child himself is full of guilt, and continues to be dutiful towards parents, to whom he owes nothing at all, because it is drilled into his mind that he needs to serve his parents.

Note - The last paragraph has been removed, because it was taking the focus off the post and onto other things, which are actually inconsequential to me at this point in life.


mummyjaan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roop said...


like i said to you earlier, 'they' shouldn't have fu*($ed. if i love them, it will be based on how they treat me. not because they conceived me in a moment of passion.

i won't disrespect them, be mean to them, or kick them out of house ... i'll give them that much credit as i would any human being who is dependent on me ... but other than that, that lovey-dovey feeling that normally kids are supposed to feel ... i aint gonna feel it if they treated me like shit all my life and arent doing any better a job now either.

wont say more here and take ur comment space. sowwie. :)

D said...

I agree with every bit of what you've said that.

Whoever gave parents the authority to mess up a child's head and his life?

Respect is not something you can command without deserving it. So also with love and so also with parents.

Parents can and do go wrong. They're not infallible and shouldn't be put on a pedestal merely because they're parents.

The saddest thing about the mistakes made in parenting are that none of them can be undone.

Let go, I would say Goofy, even though it's easier said than done.

Shruti SriHarsha said...

Hi GM..nice post as usual...In reality am in b/w 2 worlds here...My parents - who were linent, gave space which was required and turned frens to us after a certain age. By doing this, doesnt mean u r not a good parents and don't CARE - U DO!
Next are my In laws, who are still very protective, want to know things which we do, where we do, why we came late etc....and lot more which I at times felt was YES CARING, but you should take a stop point after a certain gae...Its confusing me, tomorrow how do I need to be or how will I be:)))

Thanks a ton for the Egg curry Recipe...Hugs!!!!!

Solilo said...

GM, it takes courage to open up like this. Good that you did because now you will feel light.

Now coming to the topic, the first and foremost is putting parents on a pedestal. It is some kind of unwritten rule that whatever they do is right so automatically become much more than a human. They become a power.

If every child considers parents as human and accept them with all their flaws then it becomes much easier.

Then there are some parents who emotional blackmails their children reminding them of the sacrifices. That's really sad!

Anonymous said...

If you think you weren't treated fairly and your parents were wrong, You are right in assuming you don't have the responsibility to love them.

However, if it is the question of financial help, I guess, you'd help them just like you'd help any other soul.

And with regards to explaining to people, I think you're tough enough :)

Sraboney said...

GM, I agree with what you have said...Parents are not always right and don't always know everything...I'm glad that you've written about this because whenever I've brought up this topic, I've shocked people...I think there is an unwritten rule which says, "Thou shall never criticize your parents" Why not? If they are wrong, shouldn't they be told and/or criticized? Are they not mortals? Can't they make mistakes?

Passionate Goof said...

Roop - Exactly my sentiments. I will not be mean to such parents, but I will not worship them, no way!

D - Exactly. The worst is when the child is there to serve the parents a purpose, as social status, or an heir or something, there is no parental affection, just expectations, which are more like demands.

Shruti- You are most welcome. And I know all the keeping tabs can get extremely stifling.

Solilo - :) That is exactly what, the unwritten rule, everyone expects that parents need to be worshipped, irrespective of everything, and even the 'bad' parents themselves.

Rakesh - I am very strong, I know. :) I cannot be mean to people, be it anybody, as you put it, so that way I will be the same to them.

Bones - Oh! yes. if you say it, you must be seen like a witch. That pisses me off so much man. Get over your high horses people, I feel like telling them on their faces. Disgusting I tell you, the hypocrisy some people maintain.

Smitha said...

GM, Agree totally with everything you have said here! A child is here because we want it - not the other way around, so to expect unconditional love, irrespective of how the parents treat him/her is such a ridiculous concept! This is something my husband always says. Our daughter is here because we wanted her. It is our responsibility to do everything we can for - and NOT the other way around. We can just try and instill good values and try and give her everything we can.. rather than expect her to unconditionally agree to everything we want..

Piper .. said...

absolutely and completely agree with every word. I have forever had my differences with ma. Forever. The incident about the dark skinned girl that you wrote about, you could well have been writing about me. Only that I wasnt dark. Just fat. There is a reason I dont use make-up at all. Dont dress up. Dont look at myself in the mirror.
Parents say they have the children`s best interests at heart. Maybe. But the way to go about executing it, is pbly skewed up. One must pause to think. At what point, compassion leaves and blind dominance over the kids steps in, one never knows. One just has to be careful.
Excellent post, as always!!

Passionate Goof said...

Smitha - I cannot tell you, just how much i am with your husband on this one. I think our love and affection, flow downwards(agewise) and not the other way round. That is the way that the species will grow and evolve I think. :) Also when we hear our child, we learn and grow ourselves too.

Piper - Thanks. :) The worst is when this "I know what's best for you" attitude, crosses limits, with close minded people, who cannot think beyond a limit, and also the love ceases, all that remains is the want to achieve, through the child. It is scary, real scary there, believe me.