Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Crying babies

A baby boy, about 1.5 years old, is crying - I can hear his pitiful weeping from my window. I can hear his mother--a woman who told me she adores children and has put off taking up a job so that she can be with her son--tell the child, "If you cry, I will not come to you."

The child continues to cry. She repeats what she said. The crying continues, getting more and more hiccupy.

The mother gets annoyed and says, "Stop crying!" and after a few minutes, "Shut up!" She is getting increasingly agitated, and I can hear her change to threats - if you don't stop crying Now, I will.... Fortunately, I cannot hear the details.

I can hear discomfort in the mother's voice and her frustration. She is clearly very uncomfortable with the crying.

The simple solution is in her hands alone - she must go to her child and hold him till he calms down. She must comfort him to show that she is there for him, no matter what he has done.

It could be that the child has 'behaved badly' or not obeyed his mother's instructions, or made a mess that she hates to clean up, and that is why she is 'punishing' him by not going to him. The child is likely already upset that he has displeased his mother, but she is now drawing out his misery.

The child is Not going to learn the harsh lesson this woman is trying to teach. He is not going to understand that she is withholding herself from him for what he has done, or even that his crying bothers her. Instead, he is simply going to feel more and more helpless and frustrated that she is not coming to him even when he needs her so badly and is crying so pitifully. He is going to be insecure and cling to her more than before.

No harsh lesson ever went down well. All such lessons have a painful effect on a person that s/he can carry till adulthood. It is possible that this woman is so worked up to hear crying because she herself was shut up when she cried as a child.

Boys have an extra burden to bear because of the popular maxim: "men don't cry". So, right from babyhood, they must learn to stop up their tears, lock up their emotions. They can neither express their happy/loving emotions (a boy kissing his father or mother so much? Frown upon it) nor their sad ones.  Why, then, are we surprised at the higher violence generally observed in men? All that pent up emotion and frustration has to find a way out - and it does.

What would you rather deal with - your son growing up to be violent toward men, women and children on the streets, and possibly with his wife and children in his own home, or a little crying over a mess in the house?

Don't kid yourself that this 'small' thing does not lead to the 'big' one - it does, it does.

The sad thing is that this mother, like the thousands of parents out there, loves her child deeply, but still she inflicts this cruelty on her child in her ignorance. It's only when she stops to think and reflect on this uncomfortable situation that she can try to change her behaviour. And if she does, it can make all the difference.


rajk said...

Hi! Came here thru' Shruthi's blog. Nice one. Blogrolling you...

Vishal Bhatia said...
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