PUSHY PAR­ENTS, AB TOH SUDHAR JAO!

Let me con­fess, ag­gres­sive and pushy be­hav­iour of par­ents touches a re­ally, re­ally raw nerve with me

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Time Out - SONAL KALRA Sonal Kalra de­mands free­dom from ag­gres­sive parental be­hav­ior. Live and let live. Laugh and let laugh. Mail her at sonal.kalra@hindustantimes.com and face­book.com/ son­al­kalraof­fi­cial. Fol­low on Twit­ter @son­al­kalra

Head­line padh ke iss week ke col­umn ka topic toh clear ho hi gaya hoga sabko. Now, let me tell you what trig­gered it. So, Bansuri — yes, my neigh­bour Chad­dha ji’s daugh­ter — asked me to come and watch her re­hearse with a choir of the colony, that is due to per­form in front of the mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil­lor for a colony func­tion. But, she for­got to men­tion that the king of all things ir­ri­tat­ing — her father — is go­ing to be there, too. So, obliv­i­ous to my fate, I went there to cheer her. Any­way, sup­port­ing some­one whose par­ents have named her Bansuri is recog­nised un­der the In­ter­na­tional Good Sa­mar­i­tan law.

There she was on stage, in the fifth row, her mouth still mak­ing noises that could be dis­tinctly dis­tin­guished as be­ing some­thing which was def­i­nitely not singing. We clapped and cheered the group that was do­ing a great job over­all, till Mr Chad­dha suddenly raised his hand and shouted. ‘Ruko, ruko,’ he said, and sig­nalled Bansuri to come for­ward, in the first row, right in front of the mi­cro­phone. She looked un­easy, so did the other singers. The bewil­dered choir in­struc­tor started to in­ter­rupt, when Chad­dha ji glared at him and said, ‘Aise hi hoga’. Now, is the right time to in­form you that much to the mis­for­tune of the res­i­dents’ wel­fare as­so­ci­a­tion, Chad­dha ji is the Pres­i­dent this year, and had used his clout to get the Mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil­lor to agree to pre­side over the func­tion. It is a given then, in Chad­dha ji’s mind­set, that his daugh­ter gets to be in the fore­front. Bansuri was vis­i­bly em­bar­rassed, and try­ing to deal with the looks those oth­ers in the choir gave her. I slipped away, amid the chaos that was to start. Also, let me con­fess, ag­gres­sive and pushy be­hav­iour of par­ents touches a re­ally, re­ally raw nerve with me. All through my school life, I com­peted in ex­am­i­na­tions to top the course, with this one class­mate whose father would land up in school and bit­terly ar­gue with the teach­ers if his son got even one mark less than me. Dread­ing his pres­ence used to be as much of a stress as it was to study. And I’m sure at some level, his own son dreaded it too, be­cause his dad’s be­hav­iour made him un­pop­u­lar with the class­mates, and the teach­ers.

Dekho bhai, who does not want their kids to do well in com­pe­ti­tions, aca­demic or ex­tra-cur­ric­u­lar. So no one’s doubt­ing your good in­tent. But it’s about time kids got free­dom to com­pete, with­out hav­ing to deal with he­li­copter par­ents hov­er­ing all over, and fight­ing their bat­tles for them. Al­low me to tell you that if you are a pushy par­ent, your be­hav­iour is not good for the fol­low­ing four en­ti­ties. And it’s only these four that mat­ter.

1

Your child: Right from the day you forcible re­moved an­other kid from the swing in the park so that your tod­dler could play, he/she has looked un­com­fort­able. Just look closely and you’d be able to spot the em­bar­rass­ment on your own child’s face. Just imag­ine that in the name of be­ing a well-wisher, you sub­con­sciously in­flict this em­bar­rass­ment on your child, year af­ter year, even when they are grown-up enough to han­dle their own chal­lenges. Just let them be, yaar. They’ll learn to deal with com­pe­ti­tion, with dis­ap­point­ment, with un­fair treat­ment, with fail­ure. And they’ll deal with it beau­ti­fully if they’ll be se­cure in the knowl­edge that they have your love and sup­port, un­con­di­tion­ally.

2

The teach­ers: Deep down, all teach­ers loathe pushy par­ents. They not only make the teach­ers’ job dif­fi­cult by al­leg­ing par­tial­ity but also keep them from be­ing hon­est and up­front about your child’s weak­nesses. “There’s a boy in my class whose mom just has to come and fight if he doesn’t get an A+ in the exam. I’m so wary of the con­stant ar­gu­ments that I don’t even feel like point­ing out that child’s mis­takes,” a teacher friend told me once. End mein nuk­saan kiska?

3

The fel­low stu­dents:

The best way to make your kid un­pop­u­lar in the class is to turn into a crib­bing, com­plain­ing leader of the pushy par­ents gang at ev­ery PTM. “Uski mom toh ladai karke usey role dilwa dengi, aap bhi kuchh karo,” is what my daugh­ter told me once, when she wasn’t get­ting se­lected for a school play. “Ok I’ll also come to­mor­row, ladaai karne,” I told her. Af­ter five min­utes of look­ing stressed, she came and said, “Mat aana, please. Ev­ery­one makes fun of her, now they’ll mock me, too.”

4

Your­self: It is just too stress­ful to watch your child com­pete, with your heart thump­ing out of your chest and the face more tense than it would be if In­dia went to war with Pak­istan. Is it worth it? Just sit back and re­lax for a change. Your child has come with a destiny, and loads of tal­ent. Let that talk.

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