Parents, children, control and many other things...

Of the many unifying factors of religion, such as women subjugation, stratification, and special status to a select few, is the elaborate rules on behavior, especially with respect to children. And, mind you, am not talking of children in terms of one’s age…you could be well past your ‘adult’ age or you could even be over 25 or 30, but you will be still a child to your parents, and hence you are obliged to follow the detailed rules for children about their behavior and life.

In this context, let me delve into the actual day-to-day realities of some children. As a growing Christian child, the virtues (and of course the carrot of long life, as if good health and fitness never mattered) of being an obedient child was drilled into me, as it was into all the other poor unsuspecting children. Even before we knew it, we were given tags as Christian, obedient, girl, sweet, intelligent, etc…and, one tended to hold on to these tags, even if they gave you no returns…well, the returns were roads of gold after death. But, our minds/intellects were dwarfed so that we don’t ask questions like, “If I obeyed, I would have a long life, which keeps me away from the golden roads!” Then, why should I hanker after a long life here? If I have a long life here, I must try and fit into those tags, which are incidentally given to several Christian children.

This piece is not about religion, rather about the power that certain relationships have due to religious sanction, and hence the prelude. The relationship that parents have with children enjoys much more that just religious sanction, I assume. It has societal sanction, with financial backing. At this outset, the chances of a short change for the weaker party is quite high, and my assumption is most of the children are short changed, except a select few who wage a war, who walk out of the house, who run away, who stay and question/rebel, or become artists…

Well, there might be reasons to why parents behave in a certain way. It could be due to religious, patriarchal, and market forces. However, what happens to the independent free will? After all, isn’t growing up a child a huge responsibility? Especially because the child has no means for developing an independent idea or will? Can a child grow on its own? Is it truly possible for a child to just be on its and develop into a fine individual, well again how does one define what is fine and unfine? Is that why we have scripture to tell us what is right and wrong? But, then why are there so many different types of scriptures, which are most often at loggerheads with each other? And, it hasn’t just stopped being at just loggerheads, rather, we today have armed battle…and who are the arsenal…the poor, unsuspecting children, grown on the much fermented anger of the parents. Dovetailing this idea, I have known of so many children being the actual deliverer of hatred between families. In such situations, do parents treat their children as their arsenal? The ultimate weapon—a young body indoctrinated in the scripture of hatred for the other; without any scope for love or humane ideas, because all of these ‘unnecessary’ emotions have been systematically removed so that the child can be customized to take on the enemy!

If you have noticed, elder children, usually speak the parent’s language, and most often are clambering to take on the ‘parent’s’ role more because that role is the role of power. And, what parents don’t see is that, they make their first-borns their ally! Is this because people marry young (especially those that are immature enough to think of marriage as an escape) and have a child immediately? Is their long-time desire to control comes delivered in the package called ‘first baby; now do what to you want to do!’

This, of course is not a plea for apology or a call to understand a ‘first child’; it’s in fact a way to be re-born…to choose one’s emotions…to break away from set patterns…in Steven covey’s language, to break the social mirror…and rewrite one’s destiny; to be the controller of your destiny and not let others control you…

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