Parents and Children, Life and Death – II

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The news of a 15 year old school student stabbing his teacher to death, rather disturbed me a lot. (Read link below)

While on one hand my heart went out to the teacher, her family and her two young children who very suddenly lost a parent for no fault of theirs, on the other hand it set me thinking – what prompts a 15 year old to take such a big step? While the authorities, the media, behavior experts and peers are getting geared up to judge and play the blame game – I really think the boy should not be blamed.

Yes, you heard me right. I am not blaming the boy. I am not welcoming this incident of violence towards teachers or anyone else either. My eyes are searching for just one figure in this chaotic crowd – the parents! For I truly believe – that parents influence their children whether they interact with them or not.

They cannot get out of this responsibilty saying ” I was not there. Hence I do not know what was going on”. My question to them is “ Why were you not there? ” . To the parents who do take an “active interest” in their children’s lives, my question is  – “What are you teaching them?”

Parents of today have become aggressive and greedy. They think an early start is always an advantage. But not for everyone.I see parents sending their toddlers to play-school. I see mothers explaining to their children (very patiently) ” You must drink milk darling, for you need calcium to be strong“. Yes, I heard your soft and patient voice sweetheart. I know you did not raise your voice and scream.”DRINK YOUR MILK, OR ELSE…” But why are your telling your child this? Why does he/she have to know the effect of calcium/vitamin D in his/her body? Why can you not just use the traditional method of telling a story or playing a game during eating? “One sip for you, one sip for me! ” That works just fine. I tell you.

But how weird is it – when you see a child of 5 at a supermarket, telling the father ” This chocolate has ‘pre-suh-vati-wes’ ” (preservatives!) . How does that child know to look at the back of the chocolate for ingredients? Why is it important for a child to know that the Owl is a nocturnal creature, at the age of 3? Can we not just stop at ” O for owl” ?

Why are you feeding your children information? Instead teach them it is ok to share. Ok to smile. Ok to lose once in awhile. It is ok to make more friends. It is ok to adjust. Teach them  to think. Not learn.

Recommended advice that was given earlier ” Support your child” has become advice out of control. Parents now think they have to support their child irrespective of “whatever the child does”. Earlier, the teacher was the substitute of the parental figure at school, where the child does spend a long time. The teacher observes behavior patterns, development patterns, friendship patterns of the child and informs the parent in case of a problem. The teacher these days is not expected to have a say in the student’s activities, but just take on the responsibility of the parent figure. “Supportive parents” do say – ” I trust my child completely.” And what role does a good teacher have at the end of the day? None.

We hear/see/read about shooting incidents and stabbing incidents all around the world. Done by students.These are children with access to education. Not children on the streets fighting for survival. They wear branded T-shirts and Jeans, drive fancy vehicles, have a laptop/Ipod/Ipad and carry a gun/knife as well.  How does one communicate intrinsically to a child- that it is fine to take a life?

The answer is – You did. When you smiled at your child stamping an insect. Throwing stones at a dog. Clipping a butterfly’s wings. Education has nothing to do with this. It all boils down to attitudes. A cumulative effect of what the child has observed in its environment. Has it seen you smirk at someone in authority? The child will do it too. Has it heard your condescending remarks about your boss? The child is processing that too. Has it felt your unconditional support towards all it’s illogical thoughts and activities? Congratulations, on turning out a weak-minded child that is of no help to the society.

I really wonder – what kind of trends there are  in the society now in child upbringing ? Do not scold your child. Do not spank your child. Do not do anything that makes him sad. But what should we do to make him happy? What explanations should we give him about our actions? How do we give our children conviction that we are indeed “Respectable” people? These are issues that need to be addressed.

The pressure on parents to be a “friend” to the child is immense. The problem is the parents do not see it as an additional role to their parental one, but make the common mistake of replacing the “Friend” role with that of the parent. The parent feels helpless at many a time, and wonder of wonders so does the child. For the child needs a parent too!

And so I plead.  Parents – stop overdoing it. Stop making your children independent. You are isolating them.  Stop thinking you are instilling discipline. You are compelling them. Stop thinking you are making them relaxed. You are making them indifferent. Stop thinking you are making them responsible. You are over-tiring them. They are just children. They will grow. They will ask you questions. They will sometimes want to find out for themselves.

You are tampering with natural processes. And killing something precious in the bargain. Childishness.

Back to the present – My thoughts are with the teacher and her family, that is undergoing such an irreparable loss. My prayers are with the boy who was sent to the juvenile home.

Both should never have happened.


4 thoughts on “Parents and Children, Life and Death – II

    Haley said:
    February 10, 2012 at 4:15 am

    Just curious : In the columbine shooting one of the boys parents were VERY good parents. They were very religious, always had family time, helped him with school work, just a good, American family. Their boy ended up being a mass murderer and they believe he had a mental disorder in evaluations after the fact. Is this the parents fault?

      Mathangi Jeypal responded:
      February 10, 2012 at 8:56 am

      Hey Haley,

      Thanks for your comment.I am not disturbed by a one off incident by a person with a disorder, but the fact that such incidents are becoming more rampant – almost a new trend. Parenting is a tough task I know, and as a teacher I have interacted with some rather unreasonable parents.
      And when we look back for instances of childhood trauma even for seasoned criminals, for a child to commit such an act – there must be something that the parents did or did not do. At the end of the day, all I wish for is – to nip this trend of rage and vengeance in children right at the bud. It would make life easier for many.

    Sukanya Ramanujan said:
    February 14, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    Well said, old chap! True I agree that parents are the cause in most cases of such an event. But there are the random kids who are incorrigible as well. But parents are in the most cases to blame.
    In our days our folks were quite strict, somehow although a bit unpleasant it always taught us what to value and what not to. That no longer seems to be the case.
    From what I heard, the entire movie Ra One was about a wimpy dad who creates a bad superhero who can’t be defeated because the kid wanted it. What rubbish!

      Mathangi Jeypal responded:
      February 14, 2012 at 2:57 pm

      Have not bothered to see Ra-one yet but totally agree with your thoughts. Sadly parents tend to over-indulge these days 😦

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