Parenting: This is not a blame game

When parents blame each other for their children's perceived mistakes, it benefits neither the couple nor the child.

When parents blame each other for their children’s perceived mistakes, it benefits neither the couple nor the child. 

“You may give them your love but not your thoughts,

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,

which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.”

  • Khalil Gibran: On Children

Children are a blessing. But I bet raising them is no easy task. Each day is an experiment for you to face newer roles and challenges as a parent and the same is applicable to your children as well.

No child is perfect just as we adults are; and no two children are the same just as no two adults are. If these two aspects are borne in mind , and we celebrate the uniqueness in each child , half of the problems faced in the upbringing of children can be avoided.

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However, there is a growing societal trend these days to blame the parents for their children’s misdeeds, bad behaviour, academic failure or social mobility. This macro level phenomenon has also deplaned and settled into the micro aspects of our life. For instance, now it is quite common among families and spouses to blame each other for any negative trait found in their children, which even goes to the extent of creating a strain in the marital relationship in certain cases.

Have you thought of the logic behind the same? The true fact is there is no logic at all ! It is just so, because it is the easiest way to attribute a reason for the child’s failure or bad qualities by shifting the blame on the most easy, accessible and vulnerable person. But in the process most of the parents miss the replication it creates in the evolution and development of those little minds.

In our country, a lions share of responsibility in raising a child, especially girls, fall on their mothers . And I  have come across a good number of households where it is just normal to blame the mother for the child’s behavioural tendencies whether it be social, moral or academic. I would say, men too would have similar stories to say. Isn’t it quite saddening to see the plight of these parents who take so much stress and strain, only to be criticized in the end for want of due diligence and attention in raising such unsuccessful children.

What we tend to forget

Respect your partner’s intentions: No prudent parent would want their children to grow up as thugs, anti-social elements, or school drop outs; and they try their best to bring them up as good human beings.

I do not deny the existence of few exceptions but positively thinking I would prefer to stick to the majority of the good-hearted parents who have only their children’s welfare in mind. So the next time you feel like accusing your spouse for the immoral or anti-social inclinations of your children, please take a little time to ask yourself this question, ‘If he or she is responsible, then am I not too?’

Imitation extends outside the home too: Frequently heard remarks by a spouse to his or her partner include, “No wonder, they learn it all from you!” Children certainly do follow or imitate their parent, but that cannot be a reason to blame the mother or father for all the bad habits cultivated by them.

It is understandable that we are fully responsible for the safety, security and upbringing of our toddlers who are constantly in the process of learning and growing. But as they grow older, their level of exposure increases and the factors that influence them too are many. So it is only natural that they develop an individual personality of their own quite distinct from our own.

Am I perfect? Ask yourself: This is where Indian society still has a lot more growing up to do, for we, as a society, still consider children a part of ourselves and never really consider them as distinct personalities, which ultimately end up in accusing the parents for whatever actions of their children. So before you are inclined to ask this question to your spouse next time, ask yourself,  “Am I perfect?”

Who is doing the work? Look closer: Then again, it is quite common for the parent on whom the task of looking after the children’s academics falls to bear the brunt of criticism when unfortunately the child does not fare well, or flunks in his or her exams. Well, let me enlighten you – not all are born as great academicians or teachers and there is no need to make your spouse feel guilty or ashamed for his or her shortcomings.

So, the next time you feel your spouse is not good at educating your children, instead of giving the lecture on responsibility, please take the liberty to take charge of your wards’ education; or if you yourself are incompetent to do the honours, give them professional guidance. It is as simple as that!

Not merely genetic: Another common gibe doing the rounds is “Oh! They inherited it from you!” whenever the children fail to rise to either parent’s expectations or fail the standard set by him or her. This is where we need to learn one basic lesson that human beings are not merely slaves of their genes. A child’s IQ and character traits depend not only on a parent’s quality of genes but also on a plethora of other factors. So, the next time you feel like using this overly used jargon, please pause and reflect to yourself, “Aren’t they as much a part of myself as my partner’s?

Make your children learn accountability: Ultimately those tiny people too are human beings just as we are and they too are bound to make mistakes. If you blame it on your wife or husband’s poor upbringing skills, the children would never really cultivate the habit of being accountable. Rather they would grow up as persons who find no fault in playing the blame shift game.

So, the next time you start your lecture on parenting to your spouse, why not ask yourself, “Do I want my children to take responsibility for their mistakes, learn from them and understand the need to change for the better?” or “Do I want them to grow up as useless adults prone to the habit of taking excuses and blaming others for their mistakes?”.

Ask yourself if you praise: Over and above all, if you are a person who leaves no leaf unturned for blaming your spouse, before you do so the next time, hold yourself back and ask, “When was the last time I gave credit to my partner or applauded him or her for the little happiness our children brought us home?” If you have never done it, you don’t have the right to blame him or her either.

It’s ok to make mistakes: Parents, be it him or her, are not infallible and are prone to mistakes. So if you have really made mistakes and you realize it, do not be ashamed to say sorry to your children or your spouse. That way, your children will learn the lessons of forgiveness and humility from you.

But I would say, do not be weighed down by it or allow your better half to taunt you for an unreasonably long time; instead, move on, so that your children will understand one more lesson  – that their mistakes in life are not meant to weigh them down but to help them grow.

Children are part of both the parents and both of them are responsible equally in their upbringing. So instead of blaming each other for their shortcomings try showing them the way to evolve as good humans. And ask one more question to yourself:

“Do I want to be a parent who partakes in my children’s growth and development, who sets an example before them by giving love and respect to my spouse and help the children grow as responsible adults totally in charge of their actions?”

If you are not one, hope this article helps in shedding some light; if you are one already, my salute to you!

Image of parents arguing silhouette via Shutterstock


About the Author


Lawyer by profession, specialising in Service Laws in Kerala, India. Hobbies include blogging, poetry writing, write-ups on day to day issues, parenting, relationships, and other socially relevant matters. read more...

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