The Reward of Loving Your Parents

Over time repeated emotional neglect by the close family members of the senior citizens results in their aggression, low self-esteem and unpredictable behavioural changes.
"The father got stunned to hear this from a small child. These words pricked his conscience and tears rolled down his eyes." [Representational Image
"The father got stunned to hear this from a small child. These words pricked his conscience and tears rolled down his eyes." [Representational Image Wikimedia Commons / Eric Ward

Every senior citizen has particular emotional needs that are partially met in close relations, including the need for attention, support, affection, respect and support. Emotional neglect occurs when there is a repeated pattern of ignoring or disregarding someone’s emotional needs.

Over time repeated emotional neglect by the close family members of the senior citizens results in their aggression, low self-esteem and unpredictable behavioural changes.

There once lived an old man Rashid (name changed) with his wife in a village. His son Shameem (name changed) got selected for some job and preferred to stay in the city. He first lived in a government quarter and later constructed his own house in the city. 

Due to the death of his wife, Rashid, an old man moved to live with his son, daughter-in-law and six-year-old grandson. He was suffering from multiple ailments, his hands trembled (Parkinson’s disease) and he had a weak eye-sight.

The family ate together on the same table but old Rashid’s shaky hands and poor eyesight made it difficult for him to eat. The food used to fall from his hand and he could not even hold the cup properly resulting in the spilling of food and tea on the dining table. The son and daughter-in-law became more irritated about it. The husband and the wife decided to serve him food in his room.

The helper took the food for the old Rashid to his room and he started eating alone while the rest of the family enjoyed the meals together. After breaking the plate twice, Rashid was served food in steel utensils which were used by the helper as well.

Gradually, old Rashid was isolated and if he asked for something, the only words he heard were rough and abusive. The six-year-old boy was watching everything silently. One evening before dinner his father noticed that his six-year-old son was putting some steel plates in the bag. He asked the boy “what are you doing?” The boy answered confidently, “I am keeping some steel utensils for you and mom from which you will eat when I grow up”.

The father got stunned to hear this from a small child. These words pricked his conscience and tears rolled down his eyes. Without uttering a word, Shameem went to his father took his hand and gently guided him back to the family table. There was a marked attitudinal transformation in Shameem and his wife towards their father. They never hurt his emotions again.

Some months later Shameem received an official invitation to a dinner in a famous hotel at Pahalgam. He decided to take his old father along to attend the official dinner. Revisiting his old memories Shameem said to his wife and his son that when he was a child his father was invited to some hotel in Pahalgam. He insisted his father take him along to the hotel. Since the lunch coupon was for one person only, his father skipped his meals and served the lunch plate to his son

At the official dinner, Shameem introduced his father to his office colleagues. Rashid was now confined to a wheelchair and was showing signs of dementia. While eating Rashid spilt some food on the floor and everyone looked at him.

The food spoiled his clothes. Shameem without feeling nervous or humiliated quietly helped his father and took him to the washroom. He cleaned food scraps from his crumpled face, washed food stains from his clothes, graciously combed his grey hair and finally put on his glasses.

As they left the hotel a deep silence reigned around. Just before leaving the room a senior colleague got up and asked Shameem “Do not you think you left something here” Shameem replied “I did not leave anything” Then his senior colleague said to him “You left a lesson here for every son and a hope for every father”.

One of the greatest honours that exist is being able to take care of those who have taken care of us too. Our parents and all those elders who sacrificed their lives with all their time, money and effort for us deserve the utmost respect, love and concern.

We should never belittle hurt or bully elders. Too often the positive efforts of our elders go unnoticed. Acknowledging and appreciating the contribution of our parents in our lives is one of the simplest ways to give respect.

Emotional neglect is one of the worst things that our elders are facing. Senior citizens should know the strategies how to deal with emotional neglect and abuse. They should invest in a healthy relationship with people who care and reciprocate. Sometimes it can be corrected by open conversations.   Regardless of age, a little bit of empathy can go a long way.

Dr Zubair is a Senior Geriatric Consultant and Dr Showkat is a 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.

Related Stories

No stories found.
logo
Greater Kashmir
www.greaterkashmir.com