Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Fear is the key?

I was waiting at the school bus stop the other day. A young mother with a small child was trying to feed him some food (yes, at the stop) and I heard her say in exasperation "You better eat your food or that aunty will take you away". As a bystander, I had absolutely no intention of doing any such thing, but the child who had been smiling at me, eyed me suspiciously and took a bite of the food in question.

"You better take this medicine or you'll have to go to the doctor." "If you do not behave that uncle/aunt will take you away." "Eat you food or the garbage man will take you." These are common threats we dole out to our children. This is so typical of Indian parents. I speak as one myself.

In fact the most common threat I've heard (when I was young, particularly) was "wait till your father comes home" almost as if the father were an ogre and this threat should strike terror in our hearts. Hardly the base to an open , honest, communicative relationship.(and then they complained that we never told them anything)

Disciplining children is a very difficult job, but are we not pushing the problem to another time when we proffer such threats? What happens if we have to take the child to the doctor at any point (maybe for a life saving vaccine)? The child is likely to be terrified and most uncooperative. Creating a lifetime of fear and dislike is hardly positive, even if it takes the heat off temporarily. Who knows where fears grow!

1 comment:

  1. Very true. We are subtly but surely miaming them for life in small ways



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