Do we allow our babies to grow up?

When the children are babies it is much easier to change nappies, feed them and rock them to sleep. When they cry at nights, mothers wait for them to grow up soon so they can get uninterrupted sleep. Are they willing to let the baby really grow up? It is an embedded desire that never takes shape as mothers never forget the moment they first carried the baby in their arms.

All species become mothers but human mother has strong memories and attachment to those thoughts that never allows them to accept the reality of growing up process.

Our babies have to be taught everything including walking, talking, eating, socializing; almost the whole process of growing up. Parents carry that exercise and get blindly attached to the children. When children go to school, all the project work is done by the parents and the school also expects certain standard from the primary children.

Teachers are on denial; kids can only stretch their intellect to their given capacity. In the western world there is a bit of callousness in dealing with children as they are in no hurry to teach them anything. The truth is-kids’ brain can absorb many things and the more you challenge it, better it is for their growth.

Lack of domestic help in the west makes the parents work really hard to maintain their homes and children; it is a very commendable setting, however the children hardly get any time from the parents. High rates of divorces tend to put the entire burden on the single parent; they may brave it out but the vacuum young hearts feel cannot be compensated. When kids feel peer pressure in any society, parents go through pain and pressure in the mind. They want to take a magical wand and go charging towards the bullies in school. It is advisable for the parents to expose the children to all adversities that are relevant to their age and explain how to handle them with confidence. Parents have to go above emotions to give the child a healthy environment.

As teenagers children start asserting themselves and they are labeled as rebels; they are only asking for space to grow and mature. As parents we don’t want to let go of them out of fear of losing their attention and want to protect them from the world. As adults we stunt their growth and progress. There are certain beliefs they hold in their minds which are not valid when they grow up but their action is usually a reflection of that thought. They are not the same babies we held in our arms. Failure and success are part of their lives.

When the baby has for college admissions; the stress and the peer pressure is immense.. There is a competition in the Asian society to do better than the other and the children get the brunt of it all. They are escorted to the college till the child turns around and says ‘mom please stop it’. Some of the boys and girls cannot have a steady partner as the parents keep talking to them every day trying to monitor their personal lives. Some mothers tell me “Do you know my son and daughter never hide anything from me; they tell me everything about their friends”. This is an imposed friendship parents try to strike with the children.

Parent cannot be a close friend to the child; he needs parenting but when the child tries to assert himself when he is ready to do so, we need to give him the space to evolve and progress and help him to see the world with the right perspective. Very often parents worry more on their relationship with the child than helping him to move on in life.

When he gets to the time of marriage; the whole family focuses on his future to the point of managing his mind. In Asian countries there is a shift in culture; children are given freedom to have relationships during their college time unlike the previous years. This is healthy no doubt but the children are treated like babies at the time of their marriage; when they have kids, parents become demanding and interfering grandparents. Parents can create support system when the children have genuine problem but mothers cannot live their(kids) lives.

When do we let them grow? Parents reach a point where they have to be counseled. The expectations from the children, inability to cope with their techno culture, emotional dependence even after babying them all their lives is disastrous for the well being of the society. Babies have to grow!

“Life” in your handMs. Vasantha Vaikunth