OPINIONMAKERS@Th Hush Post: Mothers are a reservoir of unhindered love for their small kids. Bringing up a child calls for seriousness, full of time-to-time self checks. Most of the times they know to go how far and no further, but do give in to motherliness.
We come across kids who say they have a ‘bad mummy’. From a child’s perspective, a bad mummy is the one who scolds for eating junk food almost daily, for asking to wash hands before and after a meal, who tells kids to keep their school dresses in the closet and tiffin in the kitchen sink, who tells them to get up early in the morning bla.bla.bla…
You are not a good mummy if you do not appreciate them at least some times (which means almost all the times); if you do not instantly buy something they like or wish to (a can of coke, an umbrella, a hand bag or anything which they fall for head over heels); if you do not take everything they say seriously. Once in a while your child will come to you with a complaint, “That child in the school hit me…he’s bad.” The mom immediately turns into an agony aunt. “Oh my baby, he is a bad child.”….. she might as well go to the ‘trouble monger’ and in a hurry forget to question her own child as to how it all begin, who started it; at times she needs to be like a questioning cop. The child might not have revealed the complete truth. They understand the parent’s psyche by this time, and their grey cells have already started ideating. They know the pattern in which you have been reacting or responding to their actions. But a ‘bad’ mummy, we seldom find these days, knows it all. She knows her child’s mind, she pre-emptorily sees what’s coming up next. Any mother would know the behaviour pattern of her child (mind you, the child knows yours too). In a busy marketplace, you would have witnessed the scene of a child lying flat on the road crying and howling for something he or she wants. The parents to avoid embarrassment give in to the demands. If this situation re-occurs and the response of the parent is the same, the child has won half the race for the rest of his life. I am reminded of a story of an older relative, who would decades ago threaten his parents as a teenager, “If you do not buy me a watch, I will destroy your radio bapuji,” in a typical sing-a-song Pahari lingo.
A ‘bad’ mummy will not fall into the trap. She will distract the child from the ‘object of distraction’ or will in clear words say ‘No’. The child will take the message because if it is a matter of disrepute for his mother, so is it for him. She knows what to ignore and what to listen to. The child is in turn slowly learning from her, what to vouch for, what to give up. A bad mummy will draw a line between luxury and need.
In a matter of a few hours, the child’s mind gets engaged somewhere else, and he forgets ‘how bad my mummy is’ and eventually you become his good mummy till the time another instance calls for your Durga form.
Children tend to conjure up a small world of their own where there are no ‘bad’ people, no garbage, no poor people, no underprivileged kids of their age, no hard work, no discipline, no studies, where their loved ones are always around them almost all the time… there is Oggy, Shin-chan, Doraemon, Pokemon….not to forget their favourite gadgets, mobiles, tabs, play stations, etc.
Young girls don sarees made out of their mom’s dupattas and behave like them too. With 24-hour TV channels, they have ever flowing entertainment with daily sops like Kuch rang pyar ke aise bhi, Naagin, and even Big Boss (to top it all). They imitate TV characters and young film stars (eventually mothers do become their role models as grown–ups), not being really able to differentiate between real and reel. They nurture false expectations of having a fanciful life. For the time being, what we can tell them is to live in the real world.