Raising a teen #Internationaldaughter’sday

“Poor you, a single mother. What will happen to your daughter after you…..umm you know…..we mean……we mean after you go?”


“And where am I going?”


“You see we are talking about death here. Please don’t get upset. We are genuinely concerned about your daughter.”


“Oh really. In that case my daughter shouldn’t get affected by my death. She has all of you. All parents, I mean double parents, a mother and a father towing behind.”


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It all started with my mother going hysteric when I declared that I am heading for a divorce. I didn’t want my daughter to witness the ugly fights with my ex and his mood swings. Riya was only a year and a half when I carried her to my parents place leaving everything behind. The only thing I had was a steady income and an unconditional love and support of my father. I know I am biased but that is the truth. Truth comes unabashed. I really don’t know if I had ever loved my mother for her cowardice, aggression, temper tantrums and what not. Please read the novel “A book of light” where I had written a detailed chapter on my ailing mother. But my father was otherwise and it was me who tried to copy him during my childhood but somehow wasn’t wholeheartedly successful. He was BRAVE.


Period, I am my father’s daughter and I am BRAVE too. No, I have never sat my daughter down with me to teach her alphabets. Not boasting but deep in me my father’s voice echoed “Do not pressurize the toddler. Not even after she graduates. She has her own identity and let her grow likewise” and I set my daughter free. She picked up the alphabets from her school, painting came to her naturally which I always appreciated. Those days my house would be full of colors as I loved to hang her lovely paintings. She was a little girl back then and all she had was a mother. She knew her mother had left her father for good. She understood the equation right in her tender years and adjusted accordingly. However she didn’t like skating and when her teacher had tried to convince her she had exclaimed “No, they are heavy.” So she had learned to say a NO a thing which her mother couldn’t and grandmother, let’s not talk about them. I think my daughter has this attitude in her genes. Not mine but may be of my father, or my paternal grandmother. May be, who knows.


My mother had expired long ago and after my father passed away we were just the two of us. Were we lonely? Did we ache for a man in life? I didn’t. And when I asked my daughter her opinion she twisted her lips, swaying her head sideways. But that doesn’t mean we are men haters. It only means we aren’t dependent on anyone for our needs irrespective of gender.


Unlike me my daughter can fit in any situation no matter how challenging it might appear. Well I don’t remember any of my foremothers (maternal side) having this quality. My mother was a far cry.


Recently I had a job transfer to Ahmedabad. I am placed out of Mumbai and Ahmedabad came as a welcome change. Far from pollution and utter chaos the city allured me. During my first trip I decided to take my daughter along so that she gets a glimpse of the city. I took her to different schools where she would be studying and kept on asking if she would be comfortable. At last the teen rolled her eyes and uttered “Mum, stop. Will you. What is the big deal in studying in a new school?” She would stay alone at the company guest house the whole day while I would be at work. In the evenings she didn’t even demand me to take her out. She knew mum is tired and needs rest.


I have a very introverted daughter but I have raised her to be emotionally and financially independent. At this tender age of fifteen she knows she will have to earn her living. She knows how to adjust. She knows how to be compassionate. Moreover she knows she need to stay humble and be grateful with whatever the Almighty had provided. In my house sometimes I am the daughter as I am emotionally vulnerable and Riya my teen takes up the role of a mother something which my matriarchal foremothers could never do.


I end my narrative with this message. On this International daughter’s day please leave your aspirations of only being a mother to a son with a need deep in your heart that he would look after you once you are old. No, please refrain. It’s applicable to a girl child even. Teach her the importance of having a high self-esteem. Teach her humanity. Teach her kindness. Teach her gratitude and most important educate her. And that’s exactly how I am raising my teen and I am successful till now.

Sorry, if I am being a bit preachy but one thing I must say is that you should never raise your hand on a child no matter how challenging the circumstance might look like. It kills self-esteem.


Raise a girl. Save a nation. Create leaders.




About the Author

Rimli Bhattacharya

Rimli Bhattacharya is a First class gold medalist in Mechanical Engineering from National Institute of Technology, an MBA in supply chain management and is engaged with a corporate sector. Her essay in the anthology “Book read more...

100 Posts | 677,213 Views

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