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It’s a great thing to be friendly with your child, but you need to be a parent, the person who sets the rules, not your child’s friend.
Millennial parenthood has been all about directing your queries to Google, which leads to well-known forums with quite some researched stuff. Well, I myself write about evolutionary parenting on my blog, and absolutely love sharing my take on it.
Over the decades of continuously learning, unlearning and re-inventing the art of parenting that it is, there have been myriad varieties of parents. From those who took “Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child” literally all their lives, to those who are raising sons who say, “Aaj main kar ke aaya hai” on TV, parenting has come a long way. Hasn’t it?
“These helicopter parents are the grossest people I’ve bumped into! (Sigh) I’m going to raise my son/daughter as my best friend, come what may.”
Hold on. I too have something against the rule book of helicopter parents who think sniffing and siphoning their child’s basic freedom is their birthright. These are parents who think that they quite ‘own’ their kid’s life and thus control everything they do.
Do you remember that friend of yours who’d tease you for not having been able to chat a guy/girl up to hook up with or maybe, even lose your virginity to?
How about the one in your prime who’d dare you to drive everyone home while you were at least 3 drinks down?
And one can never forget that bestie who’d inject you with a ton of complacence just before the exam and assure you that he/she is going to save you from flunking!
You being your child’s ‘friend’, precisely, wouldn’t really differ much from these scenarios.
NO. Being your kid’s friend doesn’t negate it.
Given that you are at least 20-22 years older than your child, he/she is certainly spans of technology ahead of you. That also means there’s more stuff for him/her to be distracted with. And when you try to be the ‘cool’ mom or dad here, your children will hardly acknowledge your effort to come across as understanding or friendly. In the long run, this will lead to your child to think that Mom/Dad is just a peer! A peer who is just about their age and has no insight about the future. And therefore, you become that peer who has no right to guide them either.
You see, here, the generation gap doesn’t get eliminated. But your years of prudence and intuition surely do get scrapped in the deal.
Sexism and Misogyny.
Yeah, that’s pretty much a casual thing to exist in our minds. Come 2019, the crux of misogyny and gender inequality is still being nurtured at our homes with young children. Ridiculously sexist & regressive ads still have a hegemony in our household.
A son is almost entitled to be a brat. He has a ‘mighty’ penis that’s meant to ‘deflower’ a girl’s hymen and even her ‘family’s honor’. And when he does that, she’s virtually labelled as a product with a ‘broken seal’. It’s furthermore nauseating to realize that this sexism has an entire Hindi phrase dedicated to it – “Nath Utaarna”. And now you might be surprised to sense the perversion level of the by-now-infamous Nana Patekar-Tanushree Dutta song, “Nathni utaaro, sambhal ke Piya”.
And with the number of creeps and perverts lurking in the streets, public transport, and workplaces, living with pepper sprays and compressed fear in the head is the norm for women. Not because a rape will traumatize our being, but because we’re all about the size of our breasts, derriere, vaginas and hymens. Or rather about which man gets to make his way to them. That’s the ‘wisdom’ a majority of mothers preach to their daughters in the name of sex education. The archaic analogy gets funnier when they compare a boy to a thorn and a girl (rather her hymen) to a fabric. I guess, this was first conceived by the combination of sexism and the anatomical resemblance.
Whenever there’s a campaign or discussion over the need for sex education at school, it’s mostly relegated to teaching the teenagers about the female reproductive system, dealing with periods, and the act of copulation to produce a baby. There’s hardly any mention of masturbation or orgasm. Even if there is, the copyright to these two aspects are owned by the men. And why not? Women are only supposed to be your guinea pigs to gauge your sexual stamina before marriage. Or to earn your rubber stamp after you ‘break their seal’. Aren’t they?
Doesn’t this resonate much with the wolf-whistles and applause the audience showered on ‘Sanju’ when the lead said he slept with 308 women? In fact, the scene was very much the USP of the movie as it perpetually aired in the trailers and even now for the promos.
What makes parents subtly or blatantly (like Hardik Pandya claimed) imbibe sexism into their children, hoping to become their ‘FRIEND’? This father in question even goes a mile further by expressing heartfelt solidarity while justifying his son’s bawdiness on the show as ‘entertainment’. Or even about praising an equally sleazy Karan Johar who formulates a chat show along the lines of misogyny for cheap giggles and TRP.
Why do they teach them that promiscuity for a woman is immoral but a badge of honor for a man (just as Pandya claims his parents did with pride)?
My mother was quite open to hearing me out about my crushes. But every time I took them up with her, she was very clear about mentioning the real consequences without hurting or snubbing me right there. I only got better and mature with my views on relationships and sex thereafter. She never threatened me about pre-marital sex, but her style and tone of discussion, and sex education helped me shape my own principles about sex and sexuality. It just sensitized me to these topics that are often the meat of sexist jokes forwarded on WhatsApp.
If you’re a parent reading me now, do remember that young friends do not necessarily shoulder the essential quality of responsibility while interacting with your child. We’ve all been there, seen that. If you’ve been hard on your child, stop being an authoritarian senior/boss to them. Step a level down to your kid’s age and try to understand their feelings when they share some uncensored stuff with you. NEVER reprimand in the first go. Or patronize their surge of hormones by calling it their bravado. Instead, try to reason with them over the consequences of their intentions. Whether it’s about their crush or lust. Both are follies of adolescence and teenage life.
I’m sure you’d be more proud if your son regards you as his true mentor instead of a prop to pose with on a Mother’s Day or Father’s Day for hashtagged social media selfies. I guess, I’m justified in mentioning only ‘son’ here.
Be a MENTOR. Not a FRIEND. That’s COOLER and makes more sense! Doesn’t it?
Image source: Koffee with Karan
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