I was at the hospital the other day and I saw an Indian toddler who must be no older than 2, sporting punk (ekor) hairstyle and it was dyed orange. Like Vivek says, “Yaaro thale mele kaara kolumbu kottita maari iruke..” Indeed. It looked exactly like that.
The tot didn’t grow the punk and dyed it orange by himself – his parents did it for him. This is misfired Indian parenting. From a young age, they introduce deviant culture and then when the kid grows up and indulges in Mohawk styles, garish hair colouring, tattoo and body piercing, Indian parents would scold their kid,”Ipdi iruntha epdi vele kidaikum?” They conveniently forget that they sowed the deviant seeds in their kid early on and he is just following it through. Pulliyar Sulli potathe Indian parents than.
I have seen the above in my nephew – his parents groomed a punk for him in his toddler stage and since he was the youngest child, his parents, especially my sister, doted on him. Then, his father died when he was 6. There was no male authority to keep my nephew in line and his behaviour deteriorated. My sister mollycoddled him on the pretext that he is a father less child. He continued to get wayward in school and outside. He began to bunk school, style his hair with cheap gel, stealing money at home and the money of guests that came to visit and support my widowed sister and returning home at the small hours. With the influence from his friends, he began smoking and drinking before he was barely 15. Despite knowing all these decadence of her son, my sister, who had to go to shift work to bring up her kids, never told a word against him. She would only nag her 2 daughters for not keeping the house clean enough.
My nephew flunked PMR and he was sent to a vocational school in Sitiawan. He had to stay in the hostel and he didn’t like it so he just left the school and returned home. Then he went to a secondary school near his place but constantly played truant and was a loose cannon. By some enlightenment, he sat for every SPM paper but failed in the exam. He then began working but never stayed in one workplace for more than 3 months. Then he was enrolled in College WIT and stayed with his aunt in Klang. He didn’t finish the education stint and backtracked and returned home. He stayed jobless for a period of time and the latest update on him is that he fought with his sister and he had left home since, working in a faraway place.
I’d say my sister is responsible for the downfall of her son. She doesn’t tolerate it if others reprimand her son no matter how wayward he is and conceals his insubordinate ways.
Indian parents who are clueless and mindless
If that is one extreme there is another extreme Indian parents do apply. My mother did this to me – she’d send me to the village where she was born and where her 2 younger brothers, 1 elder sister and parents reside during school holidays. Of course I enjoyed myself but it wasn’t wholesome. In the village, there were endless chores to be done and as a bookish little lass, I preferred to curl up in a corner with a book and do my homework and work book exercises. This trait of mine didn’t chime well with my relatives and grandmother – I was branded lazy, incapable and even silently intractable. I did my best at the chores but it still was never good enough and phrases like,”Don’t you know how to sweep the house?” “You are so slow at work, didn’t your mother teach you how to shell prawns quickly?” were always issued at me. One particular scathing remark that really hurt me came from my aunt’s husband. I was taking a break from sweeping cut grass to be set on fire later with my cousins and he rebuked me saying,”Instead of co-operating with your cousins, you are doing the job of a Kangani.” Kangani means estate manager. Everyone laughed while I cried.
So, my aunts and uncles would report my foibles to my mother when she comes to take me back to the city and my mother would scold me before all and sundry, right in front of my cousins. It was her way to make me more efficient when all it did was bring grave discomfit to me. I never met the expectations of my relatives and my atte used to call me a sickly goose.
But, I held my own and kept at studying and reading religiously, a habit I picked up from my mother ironically. I got excellent PMR results and after my relatives learned of my outstanding academic performance, they never dared to say a word against me. I was the underdog. My atte who called me sickly goose requested me to help her kids (my cousins) in studies and I did.
Indian parents tend to clobber their kids – I was a victim of such violent parenting. Even though I was never particularly naughty, my mother used me as her punching bag. I was also hit for mistakes in homework. She stopped flogging me after PMR.
Beating kids is a big no no and Indian parents need to understand this. It may have worked for our parents and grandparents but it is not advised now. Beating doesn’t mean disciplining – it suggests violence. My brother beats his son and the kid behaves differently when his dad is around and when he is not. To the womenfolk (including me) in the house, this is evident.
If my nephew’s dad is not at home, he wouldn’t eat at the dining table. He’d go to the hall and eat while watching TV – never listens to his mother and grandmother. And, his mother is neither stern nor firm. He is her only child so she gives in a lot much to her husband’s disenchantment.
Unable to control her son’s tantrums, my sis-in-law would report his misbehaviour to my brother when he returns home from work at night and a ‘poojai’ will be conducted, if you know what I mean. In the name of disciplining his child, my brother is actually making the boy more rebellious. The minute his father is not at large, he’d be mutinous – his mother will try to rein him in to no avail – then complains to the man of the house – he hits the daylights out of his son – the boy resumes bad behaviour once his dad is outta range and it’s a vicious cycle.
The kid’s 5 and in all his innocence, forgets the floggings but he won’t forget when he gets older. He’d hate his dad and have 2 masks – one for home and another for outside like so many Indian kids nowadays.
Indian parents have to master the art of diplomacy when upbringing their kids and establish the alpha status like how wolves do. Talk to kids rather than beat them to make them do what you want. Once in a blue moon spank is warranted when the kid is especially naughty – even animals, particularly mammals spank their babies if they get too rough. Set a good foundation in kids when they are still malleable. Give kids a good headstart and mother and fathers’ ideals should be unanimous. Focus on developing your kids strengths and help them with their weak points. Don’t give kids too much freedom and at the same time, don’t restrict them too much. Guide them instead of reprimanding them. Never call your children stupid or useless and never scold or clobber them in front of others. It will scar them for life, trust me.