It is not easy setting our children free in the mad, bad world of humans. But then, who are we to bind them? Aren’t our children born free like we were, like all of us are? Who are we to grant freedom to them?
All a very nice piece of philosophy but when it comes to letting our little ones run on their own, make their choices, choose their own friends – the world seems too shady a place for our precious gems. Part of us, born of us, when it comes to allowing them to get into relationships/friendships – go through the consequences of investing their vulnerable emotions in someone, does it come easy? Having gone through it all, having suffered the pangs of broken friendships over time, would we want our children to go through the pain too? What a silly question? Life is so. There is no other way. We parents know it and yet hesitate…
Remember the time when our little prince/princess held our finger with his/her little palm looking up to us to save them in case they fell.
Remember the time when our children came running home complaining about a dear friend who had suddenly turned foe?
What were our reactions then? Did we become knights in shining armour and brandished our swords to save our little darlings from a friendship that hurt them mentally or physically? Or, did we let time do the healing? Just as it is not easy to let go off people in our lives (good or bad), in the same manner, when our children make new friends or get hurt in a friendship, it isn’t easy for them. Many of us, parents, fail to realise this and are ever ready to commence a sermon on the kind of friends to have in life, etc.
My teenage son came home some months back from school with two of his friends. My first impression of them wasn’t up to my expectations but I let them be. A month back, a misunderstanding took place in school and my son came back home all moody and upset. I let him be, gave him his space. Much later, he mentioned to me in passing about the breaking up with his friends. I heard him out patiently. Matter closed. It took a lot of patience to keep me all clammed up, to not trespass into his emotions. But I am glad I did something I would not have imagined doing earlier.
Sometimes, not doing anything at all until asked helps.
Sometimes, pretending to understand (even when one is prejudiced against a child’s friend) helps our son/daughter to not get traumatised when a friendship falters.
Of course, knowing when to barge in is also necessary because by just staying one step behind does not mean that the parent is not going to give a hand to the child when it is desperately needed.
“Humaare Zamaane ke friendships …” that oft repeated dialogue has no copyright. Our parents said it. We say it too. Our children will say it in their time. But it is a fact, that due to the exposure to too many things in society, due to too many conflicting choices available, today’s children are not as emotionally strong as earlier generation kids were. A scolding here, a grade fall there, a misunderstanding are all that’s needed to turn them to probable dangerous decisions in life.
Maybe, somewhere down the line, we have permitted them to become so with our desire to make them independent before their time, with our obsession to make them become intelligent and aware before the need to be so. What do you think?
Shail Raghuvanshi is a freelance journalist, content writer, editor, book reviewer and poet. She has 15 years of writing experience in newspaper, magazine, radio and television. She has worked as a Spoken English Teacher too. She runs a blog for writers called Write Space and blogs at her personal blog Muse N’ Motivation. A daughter, wife, mother and friend, she believes that there is no situation that can’t be made better. Faith, Friendship and Family are what makes her life complete.