Where’s my Mama gone?
Where’s my Papa gone?
This song supposedly sung by an abandoned little bird could well be sung by a child who is looking for his parents today. Indeed, the cry is neither of an orphan nor of a child who is brought up remotely by his parents, but strangely enough, the lament of a child who is brought up by his parents who are also his best friends: a child who is well cared for, cherished and loved by both his parents.
A child who goes to movies with his parents on a regular basis, a child who plays football with his father over the weekends and helps his mother with simple household tasks. This is indeed a happy picture, one where a simple family unit lives in complete harmony. Of course, they have their differences and squabbles but don’t we all have fights with our best friends? So once they kiss and make up, the ripple in the pond is smoothed out and our family unit continues its peaceful existence.
But somehow, this doesn’t seem quite right. Does it? Why isn’t this the ideal situation? Very simply put, the child feels the need of a parent. A parent is as essential in his life as a friend because parents and friends fulfill different needs of a child. A friend is someone who you chose because you find he has the same interests as you do. You have friends at school that may be different from your friends at home. Some of these friends you grow out of as you grow older or grow away from.
Whereas a parent is someone you are born with. Much as you may wish that trendy.
Mrs. Agarwal was your mother or Uncle George your father, you can do little but just dream on for not only are your parents. YOUR parents but will remain so till death does you part. They are the ones who brought you into this world and who will care for you while you are growing up. Your mother is the one who can kiss your grazed knee better and who will press your tired feet at the end of the day. Your father is the one who will take umbrage when that “little punk” breaks your heart and who will help you get your balance on the bicycle.
And while it is essential to have a healthy relationship with your children, letting them know that you are there for them when they need you, at all times of day, do not make the mistake of becoming or trying to become their best friend because as the children grow up, especially during those teenage years, they often resent their parents who “wannabe friends”. They want someone to take the responsibility for them and get comfort in the fact that there is a safe haven for them to go to rather than have parents who are cool enough with whom they can share a drag or clothes. As it is, while growing up children are often embarrassed by their parents, a situation that becomes more acute when these parents hang out with their friends and try to be one of the gang!
I often feel that we as parents mistake having a good relationship with our children as being a friend to them. Let’s be honest, children find and make their own friends. This is not something they can do with their parents. Can a child find a suitable father or a suitable mother?
Fathers and mothers have a special purpose in this world – to nurture and guide. Often children who have friends for parents look for parent figures in other adults because they crave the security and love only a parent can give. So while you should have a healthy and respectful relationship with your child, let him know you are his parent first.
As a mother of two thirty-year old daughters and a grandmother of a nineteen week old grandson, Sunita Rajwade has been there and done that. A hands on mom, she has seen two girls grow successfully through baby hood, toddler hood, adolescence and adult hood; solving their maths problems and contributing to their angst of growing up with a mom “who doesn’t understand”. But now as a grandmother, she’s being appreciated for her “wisdom” and “understanding” and would like to share my experiences of this wonderful journey from motherhood to grandmotherhood