To parents, from one of your children | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 01, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, May 01, 2017

To parents, from one of your children

Traditionally, we have been taught that parents are always right in the decisions they take for their children. In fact, parents often consider it an inherent right to take their children's decisions for them even though the 'children' may have long crossed the recognised threshold of adulthood. Often, parents and elders of the society resort to religion to justify their claim. These claims and practices, however, are wrong.

Religion has strictly instructed us to respect our parents, to behave politely with them, and to take care of them. It has not, however, instructed us to blindly obey our parents, because an adult has the capacity to think and evaluate his or her options by themselves, and there are always alternative choices that may serve a purpose better or at least to a similar effect. There is an even better reason...

...and that reason is 'common sense'. Parents, besides being parents, are regular human beings. They make mistakes like regular human beings do, and there are opinions and schools of thought that could be more refined and pertinent than theirs, as is in the case of every human being.

It is true that when a parent takes a decision regarding their children, no one would have a better intention than they would while taking the decision. However, it will not be right every time, and it is unfair for anyone to suffer the consequences of someone else's misjudged decision. That is why it is important for parents to trust their upbringing and their children, especially regarding the latter's decisions in life.

The role of parents is to help their children take their own decisions, but not to enforce decisions on them, because that is not love, that is not fair, and that is morally incorrect. That in fact shows insecurity and obsession, which is entirely the parent's problem and not the child's – any negative consequence of which the latter does not deserve.

Moreover, if you as a parent are unable to rely on your children's decisions, especially when they have become adults, it means that there were shortcomings in your child's upbringing, which have caused their incapability of taking important life decisions in the first place.

This means that you probably have not been as good a parent as you should have been, which in turn means you may be ineligible to take the decision for your child that you are about to take as well. That may not be true, but that is what your actions mean.

'But what if my children have made mistakes in the past?' you ask. What if I say that so have you, and so will you in the future, as every human does, and you will not be able to help it?

You have to trust that your children are mature enough to take lessons from the past and use those to take better decisions going down the road.

If you notice an instance where they probably have not, discuss and consult with them, empathise with them. Try to understand their perspective, and their reasons. If you really do love them, and if you respect your and your partner's ability to raise a competent adult, why don't you venture into their decisions and discuss with them the pros and cons, while being open to the possibility that they may in fact be right, and that the pros of their decisions may indeed outweigh the cons?

If, however, you are totally unprepared to allow them this freedom which is their inherent right as an individual, you simply are being selfish and tyrannical, which indicates that you probably are an insecure person yourself. That compromises your eligibility to take decisions on your child's behalf for him or her.

When you force anyone to do anything, you create a distance between that person and you. And if your reason behind forcing your decisions onto your children is that regardless of your children's suffocation and suffering inflicted upon them by you, you are convinced they will be better off, chances are that you are simply being selfish.

Understand your child's dreams, needs, and wants, and help them become better human beings by offering them guidance and suggestions, and sharing your experience with them, which may help them take better decisions on their own, and seek your advice willingly instead of hiding things from you and hating you for your tyranny.

Everyone has a life of their own, and if you believe that your child is incapable of ornamenting their lives with freedom to take their own decisions, you should question your competence as a parent instead of making your child's life more miserable.


The writer is currently working in a private organisation.

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