Thursday, March 20, 2008

8. How we stop hugging

I have been thinking about why and how we stop hugging our children. When they are babies, we keep hugging them all the time. The feeling is so heavenly. We don't hesitate to make stupid gestures at them just to evoke some response. We are dying to see them extend their arms, smile at us or simply make some strange noises.When they grow up a little and start pronouncing words, we go ecstatic. It is amazing that mispronunciation can be a source of so much happiness to the species called parents. We almost wish that our children continue to mispronounce common words- for our sake. We are ever prepared to come to their level by adjusting our own pronunciation. The more the child fails to pronounce a word correctly, the more we love and hug him.When the child grows a little more, he starts revealing his independent mind. He makes demands which we find unreasonable and behaves in a manner which we consider unacceptable. Instead of following our directions blindly, he starts resisting and questioning us. The child is no longer a meek voiceless baby-wholesome entertainment with no strings attached.At this stage, we are physically much stronger. We have no time or energy to explain things logically to the child and win him over. The easier way out is to thrash him into submission. The child would weep for some time, but has no option but to forget and forgive. When he returns to us, we will lovingly hug him and tell ourselves that after all, the thrashing was for the child's own good and done most reluctantly.When the child turns a teenager, he is almost as strong as we are. Suddenly, we find it no longer a safe option to hit him. He wants total freedom and looks at whatever we say or do with disdain. He seems to derive pleasure in defying and ignoring us.Any communication with the child now is in the form of arguments. We stop hugging him and smiling at him. 24X7, we keep cribbing and remembering how nice, obedient and respectful we were when we were teenagers.

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