The Myth - Moment of Truth:
I have recently seen a popular Tamil movie “Santosh Subramanyam” which is about the feeling of young Santosh who goes through under the disciplinary regimental father Subramanyam. Subramanyam always wanted to take all decisions on behalf of his son Santosh right from the day he has born till he was 24 years old. Santosh never shows any reaction as a dissident child till he falls in love with a girl of his choice ‘Hasini’. Being an obedient son he is in a dilemma to announce his decision to marry her without the consent of his family, father in particular. He musters courage one day and tells his family about his affair and asks their permission for Hasini to live along them for a week to study and approve her as a member in their family. Subramanyam reluctantly agrees to this suggestion although he was upset about his son’s choice of his partner without his permission.
As you would have rightly guessed Mr. Subramanyam ensures that Hasini was rejected although all other members of the family liked her. The story goes like this and at the end Santosh breaks down and tells his father all his life’s experience with him where he was suffocating by his choices of all his needs right from the dress he was asked to wear, the food he was forced to eat, the schools & course he hated to study and so on. I was on tears when I heard the last punch dialogue Santosh spoke saying, “Dad! I hated all the non-living things you forcibly gave me such as the shirt I did not want to wear, the food I did not like to eat and the job I did not want to do. All those things could not speak to me saying I did not like them; they cannot because they have no life – similarly I also could not tell you that I did not like all that you have forced on me out of my love and respect for you”. Mr. Subramanyam realizes his entire attitude towards his son and realizes that ‘He was living through his son to fulfill all that he has missed and ended up ruining a youngster’s life’.
We as parents recognize the fact that the baby needs someone to make the choices what milk to drink, what napkin to wear etc. But unfortunately we end up doing this all through the life of the child without recognizing the fact they have their own choices to make. As the child grows even before the teen age it wishes to make choices on as many items as possible. We as parents in the name of discipline want to control them as a tyrant and make them to hate us. From our standpoint we feel that we are loving them and doing all for their good; but on the contrary we snatch away the freedom from our children to make choice.
Paradigm Shift-1: Don’t snatch the Decision Making skills
One of the qualities of Leaders is ‘Decision Making’ which is vital for occupying leadership positions. The children who grow in an ambience where all decisions on even mundane matters took by their parents loose their ability to make decisions. Parents who are autocratic and never give freedom for their offsprings to take decision often get stuck in their career.
Paradigm Shift-2: Don’t be a Control freak
Among the various modern psychology models FIRO-B (Fundamental Interpersonal Relationship Behaviors is one of the popular relationship skills models. The researcher says ‘One has to have balance in the tendency to control others and getting control by them’. For some unknown reasons we always wanted to control others but never want others to control us. This imbalance shows that one has an adjustment issues and often end up as abrasive character. Mr. Subramanyam character in the movie I sighted above is a maniac for controlling everyone in the context of ‘feeling he is doing something good for them’. Please try and find out whether our loved ones are feeling suffocated by our over nurturing. Try and enjoy being controlled by your children as you grow.
Paradigm Shift-3: Self-discipline is the best
There was a research done few years back which shows that the children of both parents employed are better in academic performance as well as in taking responsibilities. It also applies to children grown in hostel who are self-made than the children pampered by their parents. The reason was they were accustomed to take care of themselves right from very young ages as their parents were away. Loosen your controls then you will find children start blossoming.
Paradigm- Shift-4: You wanted freedom when you were young!
When we were young we felt suffocated by our parents controls as they were thrusting all their decision on us pertaining to all aspects of our life. But when we have become parents we do the same thing upon our children, which we hated. Is it not a double standard? Please follow what Jesus said, “Do unto others whatever you want them do unto you”.
Paradigm- Shift-5: Children grown with freedom are better leaders!
Human being’s self-esteem is the function of what they think about themselves. The sense of accomplishment is the key for self-respect, which stems from the individuals achieving something on their own. When we were young, our parents enjoyed their freedom to control us, which lead to a syndrome what Wayne Dyer calls it as “Approval seeking”. For every little thing we were looking for approval from our parents and when it was not validated we felt devastated. One of my seniors in his forties used to ask his father’s approval for everything he wanted to do – silly things like what pills to take when he was suffering from headache. His colleagues used to ridicule him saying he won't even go to toilet without his parent’s permission. Develop your children by letting them to take decision and tolerate even if they are wrong some times. What is important is they are learning to take decision on their own or else they will be followers throughout their life.
Wish you a great life ahead. Many more myths to follow.