Why Should Our Children Carry The Burden Of Expectations?

Many parents want their kids to be early readers and compel them to learn the alphabet at the mere age of 2.5. This creates a lot of frustration in most of the children, which often goes unnoticed.


“Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself.
They come through you, but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.”

Of late, these lines from Khalil Gibran resound in my mind. I tell it to myself when I watch my son grow. And I remember these lines when I see so many parents around me who refuse to let go of their grown up sons and daughters.

I then resolve not to be and become like them, and recite these lines aloud, as if it’s a holy chant that would protect my son from my clutches of desire.

Our children’s have their own desires

Our children have a life of their own. Their interests, talents, thoughts, preference of certain foods, colours and even fragrances make them unique individuals. They have their own marks to make in the world and destinies to reach.

Let’s say a parent wanted to be an artist and failed to. They cannot force their child to become an artist just because they had aspired and failed. The child may fail miserably at even sketching, but might be great at sewing or photography.

Parents must never try to live their lives through their children

Unfortunately, that’s what’s happening today. Parents of today are hugely influenced by social media and aspire to make their kids quick readers, writers, singers and dancers at a very early age. This creates a lot of frustration in most of the children, which often goes unnoticed.

We come across many parents who want their kids to be early readers and compel them to learn the alphabet at the mere age of 2.5. Numerous videos and courses offered in the social media showcase certain kids reading and writing at a very early age.

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This makes the parents to force their little children to learn, to read, and to write when they are not yet ready. Every child is different, and they learn at their own pace.

Most children learn gradually, in phases. Children are like birds, nimble footed and restless.

The first step for a child in learning to read and write is to learn to sit in a place. Most of the kids start to sit and play in a place from the age of two. For a short span, they focus on the game.

At 2.6 the period of attention increases. After three, the child learns to hold a pencil, preferably a colour pencil. At three a child recognizes, shapes, figures, pictures, colours from books.

Gradually, the child learns to read and then write. In forcing the child to do things for which it’s not yet prepared, parents are tarnishing its individuality at the very beginning.

Indian parents, predominantly mothers, voluntarily sacrifice most of their lives and career for the sake of children.

We come across stories of many women who give up their jobs and creative abilities to nurture their children. And of women who do odd jobs to support their kids. To bring them up. While such sacrifices on the part of parents are commendable, one must also remember that it is a choice they make.

It is time we stop guilt-tripping children

It is not right to force the grown up kids to adhere to the wishes of the parents by quoting how they gave up all their dreams for the sake of children.

This guilt-tripping happens in the majority of the Indian families, where parents interfere in the lives of their children right from choosing their educational institutions, courses, careers to picking partners for marriage.

Parents are supposed to guide the children and never choose for them.
We find parents interfering in the lives of their children even after they are married.

They guilt-trip their children by referring to the past hardships they faced in bringing them up, and some even compel their children to let go off their wedded partners.

Sometimes parents contrive means to keep the couple emotionally apart. Such things happen, not because of a lack of literacy or awareness. These things happen because of the lack of counselling and guidance available to Indian parents about respecting and valuing a child as an individual.

They are so much into the lives of their children that living apart physically or emotionally is painful to them.

Only when we understand the true meaning of Khalil Gibran’s lines: ‘Your Children are not Children‘ can we let go of what is not rightfully ours.

Image source: Still from trailer of Cheeni, on youtube, edited on CanvaPro

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