Little R is my daughter’s friend, he is one of the most mischievous little brats who refuses to sit still for a moment. Constantly creating havoc, throwing things around, running like a puppy and hurting himself- he has his parents at their wit’s end. His mother has to mostly bear the brunt as she is the primary caregiver. The heights of defiance- I would call it. He is young no doubt but no amount of cajoling, pleading, scolding, threatening works on him. We often wondered about the stark contrast between him and my daughter who are just 2.5 months apart in terms of age. My daughter has her moments of defiance too, especially with me as I am not around the whole day and when I am, she makes sure I have a tough time. But once we sit her down and talk to her, she usually calms down and is mostly an obedient and well behaved child.
One thing that puzzled us is R’s mother never brought him down to play in the park, where he would get a chance to meet other kids his age, it gets quite lonely for a tiny tot at home without any company but that of an adult. His mother was more keen on watching the drama that enfolds on TV soaps and little R would madly ride his cycle around, throwing things, screaming and trying his best to get more attention, in whatever way he could.
Maya is 12 year old, just on the cusp of teenage- its a confusing state to be in. She shares a deep camarederie with her parents and they never faced any troubles. She was a good student at school, went for piano classes, was always well behaved but off late her drastic behaviour has been giving sleepless nights to her parents. She has suddenly turned into a rebel- defying everything her parents say, back answering them, literally shutting the door on their face. The parents are dumbfounded as they can’t fathom what caused this sudden change in her behaviour. On further probing, with the help of the school counsellor and the teachers who were cooperative, it was a revelation to find out that she had recently made friends with a so called “cool gang”, the studs of the class and the condition to be a part of the tribe was- she had to start behaving like them, imbibe the culture. They were adults now, not kids who listened to their parents and blindly followed what they said. She had to start challenging the norm, not blindly obey her parents. It was peer pressure and the need for acceptance that had changed their girl. They now knew the root cause and could work on it cautiously.
As parents we want our kids to be well behaved, listen to us, basically obey us and thats what we try and inculcate in them when they are young. But its important to be aware of the unconscious behavioural norm that we are feeding into them.
Swathi is a dutiful wife, she works hard in keeping her husband, in laws and others in the family happy. She cooks, cleans, runs errands, hands over her salary to her husband beginning of each month. She never questions, argues, even offers her opinion on anything. All the decisions in the family are made by her husband and his parents. Her opinion is never asked for, at times a tiny voice in her mind says “This one’s not the right thing to do, we should invest money in mutual funds rather than this risky chit fund” but that voice is shut up immediately by none other than herself. Since childhood she has been taught by her parents that a good girl always obeys her elders- her parents, grandparents, after marriage her hubby and in laws. You don’t talk back, the elders know best, you dutifully do what you have been asked to. This is ingrained in her persona since ages and though she is educated, working and can take rational decisions, when it comes to home, she often finds herself struggling.
This is a wake up call for all of us- do imbibe discipline and obedience in your child but teach him/her that its not a blanket obedience rule- there are times when elders are wrong, you may need to step in. Do it gently but firmly.
I am participating in The Write Tribe Problogger October 2017 Blogging Challenge. The prompt for today is Disobedience.