Girl, Interrupted


Entities Called Children


By Shalini Nayar



Famed American novelist and poet Toni Morrison once asked, ďDo your eyes light up when your children enter the room?Ē Itís a simple gesture really, to reflect in your eyes the love you have for your children embedded deep within your heart. But how many people are actually making an effort to let their children know how much they mean to them?


I have this friend whose mother practices hugs with her children as well as her childrenís friends. Without fail, I knew I was going to get a hug from her each time I visited the family. Another friend beside me said to me, after seeing my friendís mother giving hugs to everybody, ďBut thatís not our custom,Ē and I was taken aback for a second. It made me ponder, what is our custom? Did it matter then, only to show love and care in the way that was upheld for generations?


It may very well be that this hugging custom was derived straight from the West but itís certainly not evil. We live in a high octane world, chasing ferociously our dreams and ambitions. We always want everything, donít we? Then, how about spending more time with your child or simply making small gestures everyday to let them know how much you love them? Do you wonder how the distance occurs between you and the child? Werenít you supposed to be a tag-team of sorts? So really, what and where did it go wrong?


The detachment really comes into view when negativity is a central figure in your relationship. Labelling your child with negative and judging words like moron, stupid, slow or even associating them with animals like donkey (in reference to slowness of brain) is probably the biggest drawback from achieving a loving relationship. When your child makes a mistake, or has some trouble catching up with a certain subjects, judging them or calling them names will not do you or the child any good. Plus, punishing them physically (slapping, shoving or hitting their head with your knuckles) each time they failed to solve a math problem for instance, are perfect building blocks for a disastrous relationship and a low self-esteem character.


Another thing is the high expectations parents set on their children. When the kids are not able to perform up to the par set by their parents, they are immediately criticized and compared with their more successful peers. Try not to attack their character or lecture them because it doesnít work. Try to listen more and talk less. Be attuned to what they think and feel as a person, as a human being, as an entity that has a life to live in this world. 


Rather than coming home from work and putting up a bitter, sour face, try to forget your problems at work and be happy to see your children. We all know how demanding, how taxing work life can be but never ever bring that back to home. Home is supposed to be the sanctuary where positivity, love and validation rules.


See, the difference between an adult and a child is that an adult has more life experiences. Other than that, the feelings and emotions of a child can actually level the ones of an adultís. It is always the simple things that take into account when grown ups reminisce of their childhood. A simple hug or a loving ritual every day lets you know that all is well and that you can depend on your loved ones when things are not sailing smoothly.


Kavya, June 2003

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