Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Price for Parenting

Yesterday, this guy from my team told me his father-in-law had an accident in Bombay and he had to leave immediately. His wife left immediately, while he left after about an hour, after he handed over his work to an another team member. While he was at it he got news that his FIL had actually fallen off the train. He was really tensed.

Now, this guy and his wife were friends from junior college. He used to visit her parents and was in pretty good books, or so he thought. As soon as they announced their marriage plans, his parents agreed readily and hers did not. They opposed the relationship by not talking to her, threatening her and so on. Finally they got married with only his parents and her brother. The parents did not talk to her for a long time. She started talking to her mother, but her father was adamant. He does not want to see her and will not talk to her.

They are a very sweet couple. He worships the ground she walks on. He cooks dinner, when she is late from work. Her brother lives with them some days. He gets along very well with him. They as a couple love biking and I haven't heard an another couple go biking for 150kms. And they are constantly trying to reach out to her father in whatever ways they can. Last holidays, they planned to meet her father at her grandparents place. The grandparents had invited the parents but did not tell them about the daughter and son-in-law coming. Inspite of living under the same roof for 2-3days, the father refused to even look at her.

My colleague was back this morning. The guy seemed so sad. The FIL lost an arm. It seems he had fallen off a moving train. Someone had pushed and he lost his balance and fell on the tracks. He refused to see the daughter and the son-in-law in the hospital. They could just see him from outside. He is sad for his wife and whatever she is going through. She is not back yet. She is still at the hospital waiting to meet him just once.

I cannot help but feel, the price the father was asking for parenting was just too high. In the process he is refusing the warmth of a father daughter relation, specially in such a delicate situation and also refusing the daughter her peace of mind. As much as you think the child should be indebted to you for nurturing him/her, I feel parents are equally indebted to the kids for being born unto them and making them a family. Parents, at some point forget that the babies have grown into adults. You teach them to make decisions, and take that right away the moment they make the biggest decision of their life. You teach them to be happy and to choose happiness and when they do choose their happiness, you turn around because you are not happy.

I don't understand this price tag the parents put on for bearing them in the womb and raising them. Its really sad when you bargain the years of parenting for the child's happiness. Defeats the whole purpose.

A distant cousin of mine married a marwadi girl. Its been 14-15 years. He has 2 kids. They are a happy family. His father hasn't seen or met him for the last 15 years. He hasn't even looked at his grand kids. Not even the snaps they say. The whole family was against it, but everyone has come around. The mother meets him secretly at his sister's place or a cousin's place and it seems she never mentions him at home, since the father gets really hyper. 15 years, can you imagine? His argument was, this is not how I raised him, how dare he disobey. Such hard hearted parents.

You can not make decisions for your children all their life. I am talking about adults here. You may guide them, but they have the right to ignore or listen. Nobody is saying this is easy but you have to choose between what you think makes your child happy and what your child thinks makes him/her happy. And in the end, they might be wrong but they need your support to learn from it and move on with life and not your grudges and rudeness. You live your life and make them capable enough to make good decisions and then let them live their own life. You cannot live their life for them and enforce happiness upon them.

A general observation is, when parents are strict, the kids fall into the temptation trap for the forbidden. Whereas if the parents are easy going, the children are comfortable to wait and find Mr/Miss Right. So, educate, communicate and let the reins down.

21 comments:

~nm said...

What a wonderfully written post. Will link you up from the post I have been writing (but not been able to complete) for the past week.

But then you have done such a wonderful job to the topic which I cannot even match.

Mona said...

hey sunita, great post babe. :)
i feel for your colleague's wife and your cousin. that's awful!
you're so right that as parents we sometimes forget that we've empowered our children with the ability to make decisions, we just need to trust them, huh?

Poppins said...

Nice post Sunita. I think what comes in the way is the damn EGO. They refuse to accept that they are wrong and that the children are right. Sadly I've seen cases where the wedding has broken up because of the unaccepting parents. I wonder that parents can be so stubborn even at the cost of a divorce!

Sunita said...

@~nm:Thanks. I will hop over soon.
@mona darling: I think parents do not trust their own parenting skills. isn't it?
@poppins: Its really sad the extent they go to, defeating the very purpose of it all. I am not even saying the kids will make the right decision all the time, and that is why parents need to talk and tell them why they do not agree. But let the kids(who are now adults) make their own decisions, right or wrong, just stand by them.

K 3 said...

great write up, very well said. To add to Poppins, its definitely the EGO and the society that pressures parents into going into extremes!! Just sad. Do hope things turn around for your colleague and your cousin.

Monika said...

great post, in india there is too much expected from cadult children because the parents have raised them. I guess the parents who become too insecure behave like this...

Just Like That said...

That's sad and very hard hearted, Sunita. The poor daughter. I feel for her.
But then, some people just can't let go of their egos.:-(

Anonymous said...

Well written. You have improved a lot! Parents are demanding in india.

NainaAshley said...

Great post! This kind of behaviour is extremly common in our Indian society. Most indian parents want to dictate how their adult sons/daughters must live and when their expectations are not met they take it as a sign of disrespect.

rksistu said...

hi ..
Do you still use free service like blogspot.com or wordpress.com but
they have less control and less features.
shift to next generation blog service which provide free websites for
your blog at free of cost.
get fully controllable (yourname.com)and more features like
forums,wiki,CMS and email services for your blog and many more free
services.
hundreds reported 300% increase in the blog traffic and revenue
join next generation blogging services at www.hyperwebenable.com
regards
www.hyperwebenable.com

Usha said...

Very nice post. This used to happen a lot in my time and I was under the mistaken impression that it happens less now as parents of my generation have learned to let go of their adult children and respect their decisions.
Why be the cause of so much unhappiness when the daughter herself is happy in her marriage. EGO I guess.
What kind of a parent expects a price for parenting? But you are right , that is exactly what this man is demanding.

Gouri Dange said...

hi Enigma
look forward to seeing you at the launch. couldnt reply to your mail direct, hence here!

Risha said...

very well written post gal. i like the line ' you cant enforce happiness on them' :) you'll be a lovely mother I am sure.

rksistu said...

hi ..
Do you still use free service like blogspot.com or wordpress.com but
they have less control and less features.
shift to next generation blog service which provide free websites for
your blog at free of cost.
get fully controllable (yourname.com)and more features like
forums,wiki,CMS and email services for your blog and many more free
services.
hundreds reported 300% increase in the blog traffic and revenue
join next generation blogging services at www.hyperwebenable.com
regards
www.hyperwebenable.com

artnavy said...

A very moving post

Yes, we must be indebted to our kids for making us a family

it really beats me how people can ignore/ be indifferent/ sever ties like this- it is really awful and even worse if one of the parents is okay and the other is not

Lakshmi said...

beautiful post and I feel sorry for the entire family..

Amit said...

My marriage was problematic too... my in-laws had not even met me, but wrote me off because I am a Bengali, while they are Maharashtrians!

Fortunately, my marriage was accepted by all, once the deed was done :-)

phoenixritu said...

My mother was one of those parents ... it was bad. I think its also all about boundaries, sometimes a parent cant differentiate where the self ends and another person's (it may be your own kid)starts. And the fact that the kid is different and will think and act differently ... Wonderful post

Rohini said...

Really great post Sunita. Totally agree. I think it's silly to think of parenting as a favour that has to be returned. It's the child's right and they don't owe you anything in return... the line I hope never to use with my son is 'After all I've done for you...'

Amit said...

sometimes I feel that parents think more about what people would say rather what their kids would go through.
I can understand initial reluctance but when they see that kid is happy with her/his partner and it was right decision, what is holding them back...may be strength to say to your little one that I was wrong and you were right.

Anonymous said...

I just came across your post while blog hopping and I have to say that i totally agree!

Esp when you said its really unfair of the parents to first teach their kids how to take decisions and at the slightest hint of the fact that they might be growing up and making their own paths in life - they disapprove!

I'm a 22 yr old girl going through the same thing where my parents disapprove of every small decision i make for myself!

i don't know how long I can make this relationship survive...