[PART-I] Exploring Caged Childhood through Parental Delinquency Lens

The child’s active mind and other senses are like a camera, which keeps capturing images around
"I had lot of expectations from my father; I loved him unconditionally but my bad luck he never gave me a patient hearing."
"I had lot of expectations from my father; I loved him unconditionally but my bad luck he never gave me a patient hearing."Special arrangement

During my research I read a post on the social media that the teenage son had badly hit his father. This post had got hundreds of comments. All the comments targeted the teenage boy and demanded severe, rather exemplary punishment for this boy.

Everyone had taken it on its face value. Next morning I was reading Holy Quran and came across one illuminating verse from Surah Al:Hujarat ( 49:6): O you who have believed if there comes to you a disobedient one with information investigate, lest you harm a people out of ignorance and become, over what you have done regretful. I just wanted to study other side of the picture.

I decided to prepare a comprehensive case study of the child. After visiting his village I located him after intensive search. Initially he was not ready to talk on the subject but after rapport building he opened up. He said, “My father had divorced my mother and remarried.

My step mother never accepted me and always tried to create a gulf with my father by poisoning his ears against me. I had lot of expectations from my father; I loved him unconditionally but my bad luck he never gave me a patient hearing.

He used to torture, abuse and insult me in front of my friends and relatives by labeling me a worthless fellow; how hard I tried he never acknowledged me. On the fateful day I had gone to Srinagar to appear in an examination. It was a harsh winter, I skipped my lunch and with a limited pocket money purchased some sweets for my parents.

Back home I was shivering with cold and expected a warm cup of tea. As I entered my home I handed a box of sweets to my step mother. She threw it into dustbin and my father started shouting and abusing me without any valid reason.

He pushed me outside the house in a fit of rage. I kicked the copper tumbler which accidentally hit my father and he received a minor injury. Taking advantage of this situation my mother went outside, created a big drama and gave impression to the people that I attempted to murder my father.

In the police station I expected my father to speak the truth but he joined the fabricated story of my step mother. I was deeply injured and left that house for ever. I became a school dropout and was the soft target of habitual offenders.

The virtue or wickedness of a person is dependent on the upbringing he receives and this responsibility rests squarely on the shoulders of the parents. The greatest service which the parents can render to their children is that they train them to be good mannered, kind and educated.

The parents, who do not pay attention to the education and training of their children, become guilty of gross negligence. The parents are answerable to the society. Today’s youngsters will be the citizens of tomorrow. The fabric of the society will be made of these individuals.

Whatever lessons they learn today, they shall put them into practice tomorrow. If their upbringing today is perfect, the society of tomorrow shall be impeccable. And if today’s generation follows a faulty program of training it is imperative that tomorrow’s society will be evil and perverted.

The mothers in particular bear more responsibility for the upbringing of their children. The child spends most of his childhood in the lap of mother. So, the key to the vice or virtue of a child and the progress or decline of a society is with the mothers of the society.

Mothers raise perfect human beings. A family in which the members are cordial towards each other their children are generally well mannered, self-respecting and judicious. Against this, a family where the parents have the habit of opposing each other their children will be morally deficient, pretentious and excitable.

The child’s active mind and other senses are like a camera, which keeps preserving images of what happens in the environment. A child of six to seven would have acquired a certain character.

Good or bad habits would have got engrained in its nature and it would be a difficult task to bring about a desirable change in his behavior. The child, as a matter of fact, is a mimic. It tries to emulate its parents and other members in the surroundings.

The child views its parents with a degree of respect and makes efforts to replicate their life style. Their actions become his yardstick for good and bad actions. The child depends more on the behavior of the parents as a model for its actions than any amount of sermonizing. Rafiqa (name changed) writes in a letter:

“My parents’ character has deeply impressed me. They have always been kind to their children. I never found any flaw in their words or deeds. We also assimilated this habit. I cannot forget their good character and behavior. Now that I am a mother my endeavor is to see that I don’t do anything in presence of the children, which is not considered good. My parents’ character is the example to be emulated in my life. I try to see that my children too are brought up the same way.” Another lady Mymoona (name changed) wrote in a letter:

“When I recapitulate my past life I recall that my mother used to argue and shout on trivial matters. Now that I am a mother I feel that with a little difference my condition is nearly the same as my mother’s was.

All her negative manners have become a part of my character. The strange problem is that howsoever much I try to reform myself I am unable to make much progress.

Definitely it is proved in my case that the parents’ character and behavior has far reaching effect on the molding of the character of their children. The saying, therefore, is correct that a mother with the good training of her children can transform the world.”

For a child home is like a nest. He feels very much attached to it. His heart is always tied to it. If the parents are on friendly terms his nest remains durable like a warm lap.

The child in such a home feels contented and secure. Getting an upbringing in such congenial atmosphere the latent qualities and capabilities in the child will truly find expression and will bring out salutary results. But if the parents are excitable and fighting type then the child will lose calm and contentment and he will be uneasy and restless.

The parents who argue and fight do not capture the feelings of the poor child. In such a situation the children get frightened and with hurt heart seeks some corner to hide, wondering as to why parents are behaving in that manner. Otherwise, seek the avenues of fleeing from the nest that has been so dear to him and seek refuge in some lane or bazaar.

The harshest memories of a child are the times when the parents have loud argument, and fights. The children are unable to forget such scenes till late in their own lives. These events remain etched on their psyche and have deleterious effect on their natures. Such children have weak hearts and stunted physique.

They will be heart broken and spend their lives miserably. It is quite possible that daughters of such parents carry an impression that all men are as harsh and rude as their own father was. This may lead to abhorrence of the very thought of marriage for such girls.

It is also possible that the sons of such homes think that all women are as ill mannered as their own mother is and decide to remain celibate all their lives. In such an environment the children become rebellious and start hating the parents and the things come to such a pass that some children become revengeful.

The statistics indicate that lot of gallivanting, alcoholic and anti social children is the consequence of the disturbed atmosphere at home. If one thinks of the bitter events of his childhood when the parents had bitter differences then he will feel that despite the passage of long years the unpleasant memories are remaining etched on his mind.

One psychologist writes: “The parents should know the fact that when there is an argument or fight between the elders of the house there will be deleterious effect on the thinking of the children. The type of relations the elders keep will have definite effect on development of the children.

If the atmosphere of unity and peace is absent from the house then it is not possible to give proper upbringing to the children. When the elders become argumentative they forget that the impressionable children are with them whose upbringing is their responsibility.

In such an atmosphere the children do not learn any good lesson. The children then become secluded and ill tempered. Particularly children of slightly higher age find the situation very difficult. Their hearts cry over the attitude of the father. They are unable to decide whose side they should take. In some cases they become antagonistic to both the parents.

Dr Showkat Rashid Wani, Senior Coordinator, Directorate of Distance Education, University of Kashmir

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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