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Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Meddlesome parenting

I came across this article yesterday about a mother being killed by her own daughter. Although the case of extreme reaction was an exception but this power struggle in relationships especially for mother daughter duo is very much a reality. Irrespective of culture and community, mothers love to control their children. The intensity may differ but this innate instinct does lie somewhere.

It is more vocal in a country like India because the women folk here are generally not considered equivalent to men and children are not supposed to move out on parents. It is the control and power that some mothers lurch for and end up victimizing their own children in the name of being 'protective'. Mothers monitor their every move and especially when it comes to daughters, the protective nature becomes intrusive. And even without realizing, a normal intriguing parent turns into a meddlesome authority.

A very close friend of mine went through a typical hypocritical phase in her life where she ended up losing her genetic family but found love in those who were never related to her in blood. It was when her mother decided to be her marriage breaker. For the reasons best known to her, mother tried to manipulate the circumstances that brought her and her fiance on the threshold of putting an end to their otherwise very strong and loving relationship. It was my friend's confidence in her fiance and his family that gave her the strength to break all ties and be with the ones who truly loved her. They accepted her despite all the ill treatment they received from her parents and continue to adore her just like a member of their own family. Till date, I am unable to understand what prompted her mother to do that and what did she got by paving the way for her own daughter's misery. Whether it was the desire to control her and her new family, or a hunger for power or money or just an ego issue? Whatever it was, she ended up losing her only daughter, giving her child the pain of lifetime and I can easily bet that she would still be blaming her daughter for the rift.

Indian mentality does not allow children to be treated as grownups even if they are well past their 20s or 30s. Mothers refuse to let go and believe that its right to be preachy about anything and everything. But little do the mothers realize that this tendency pushes teens and adults even far and they burst either by revolting or taking extreme steps like the one that hit the headlines. Parenting is not about possession, control and expectations. It is about giving and understanding the individuality of the little ones whom you have brought into this world but eventually they are going to grow up, make their own decisions and live their own life. Just a little more thought and sensitivity can make life and relationships lot more loving and easier.

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