Today, I  would like to make a humble request to parents and apologize in advance I do not intend to hurt sentiments. Yes you are right, I am not not a parent but may be I can offer you a different perspective. May be I can tell you that what a dysfunctional family does to a human.

I will start by boldly asking you that what made you think that you are qualified enough to have a kid? Because it was easy? Because you could afford it? Or simply because that’s how it’s done? You marry then you have to have a child. Was that so? If that was the case then I am sorry to say, that’s not enough and that does not give you the right to bring a life into this world. 

I have seen and sadly witnessed numerous cases where parenting had gone wrong. Terribly wrong. A couple knows the arrival of their child almost nine months in advance and there are plenty of resources available to provide insights into parenting. We don’t even operate an oven without reading the manual first. What makes us think that we can operate a human? I see a lot of mothers hitting or slapping their kid just because the child did something that children usually do – Demanded a chocolate or a toy, wanted to play for some more time, made a mess of the wall or the house. I am sorry to say but this behavior clearly states that you were not ready to be a parent. I understand that it is an extremely tiring job but that is not an explanation to hit a human who looks upto you for protection. Rewards work better than punishment and if you want them to not to make a mess of the house then try this : make a sad face every time they do that. Make a face like cartoons do 🙁   so that they understand better that messing the house makes my parent sad and make a happy face when they don’t mess rather than treating them like a lab monkey who responds to fear. 

Second would be the relationship with your spouse. Please don’t have a child to fill the space that is created between two people. Have a child only if, there was no space in the first place and are slim chances of it being happening in the future. Having a baby just because your relationship is falling apart  and you feel lonely is downright selfish. You are introducing your baby into a family where he/she is likely to suffer emotional traumas. A person who does not pay any heeds to your emotional needs or worse, doesn’t respect you or is violent then he/she is not likely to improve  after becoming a parent too. On the contrary it will make it harder for you to walk out if things go further south.

Emotional traumas are real. I have said it a lot of times earlier and I am saying it again. We think kids don’t notice anything if we ask them to play in another room and shout and yell like a warfare. But they most certainly do. And do you know the saddest part? If they wind up with an abusive partner in their adult life, they will not be able to detect it because subconsciously, somewhere at the back of the heads, they think that this kind of disrespect is normal. They don’t mind physical and verbal abuses.The other case will be that the kid might have the ‘enough is enough’ attitude and grow extremely violent and rigid about everyone and everything. These kids don’t have enough friends, they don’t mix up easily. On one side it’s a plus point as these kids detect fallacies from miles ago on another hand, they miss out on a lot of good people and good experiences because they are too tired to have another emotional fight and just want to be left alone. The worst case will be a mental state like PTSD and bipolar disorder.

May be now you understand why I asked those questions in the beginning. All people who plan to become a parent someday must understand what a humongous responsibility it is. You are not making a toy. That’s an actual being we are talking about who will suffer his/her entire life if you did not think it through before planning one. Having kids and making them suffer with emotional challenges does not make any sense ,better to not to have one in the first place if you are not sure about it.

Some kids go through it, hold themselves together, make a better choice and become a better human themselves who are always conscious about the mistakes their parents made and careful about not making it again. My salute to such kids ! you are going to make this world a much better place. But the ones who fail at doing so end up in dark emotions forever.

Next point will be: Can you afford to finance a human for at least 18 years?  When you become a parent, it becomes your responsibility to provide for the child and fulfill the basic needs. Feeding them and then lecturing them about your sacrifices is pointless. Your kid did not ask to be born, so they are not responsible if you had to sacrifice your dreams for raising them. It was your decision. My cousins always knew that did not want a child, they are very fond of travelling and plan a trip both domestic and abroad once in every 6 months. Some people do judge them, but they are happy because they know what they want and they are following their dreams.I know them closely and they are the happiest couple I know. 

If you are a parent of a girl child,  it’s your responsibility to protect her from the conditioning that our women suffer from. Many of my friends’ mothers  say  ‘learn how to do xyz, otherwise what will you do after marriage?”.  This is the exact nonsense we need to protect our girl child from but rather some mothers are the first ones to burden their kids with such baggage. When a girl starts hearing such things from a very young age, it becomes difficult for her to start thinking that there is more to life than family and kids. There are countless cases where I have seen talented, bright girls being brainwashed by their own parents to become an obedient wife rather than a successful professional. I cannot stress enough the importance of financial independence, it is literally your shield that protects you from any kind of abusive situation. Don’t take that shield away from your child.  Teach your kid that they need to respect themselves enough to not to tolerate anything that questions their dignity or self-respect.

If you are a parent of a male child then teaching him how to respect everyone around in of utmost importance and when they are in their teens it is important to teach them that some things like staring at a girl, or trying to talk to her when she does not want to categorizes as disrespect. We are too focused on controlling and protecting our girls that we fail to notice that girls are not the problem here. Every Parent by default thinks that their girl needs to be home before dark but no one feels the importance of teaching their boys that how should they behave.  

Most kids of my age (21-22) are lonely and are looking for partners. By God’s grace I have never felt that way because I have always had enough hobbies to keep myself busy. It’s really important to see to it that there is something in your kid’s life that they enjoy alone. Otherwise they will always expect from someone else to make them happy. They will be totally dependent on external sources for their happiness which is not healthy. Some of my classmates stayed in unhealthy, manipulative relationships because they did not want to be lonely. Another downside to it is, they will never know that if they are in love or it’s just their emotional dependency that’s making the another person seem to special. 

Our Duty as a parent is not to raise our kids as an extension of ourselves. We are already conditioned by the society and there are high chances of it affecting our perspectives. Our Duty as a parent is to raise a child who knows how to think, our duty is to teach them about how to make wise decisions  and inculcate life skills that sharpens their intellectual and emotional Quotient . What they think and decide for themselves as an adult should be a choice left to them. Even though we created a human, we cannot own every aspect of their lives so the best we can do is to make them capable enough to know that what kind of humans they want to be. 

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Supriya Patnaik

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