The article “Spare the rod, you won't spoil the child” (Open Page, Oct. 24) brought back childhood memories. My elder sister and I enjoyed more freedom than our two brothers. After school, my sister applied for graduation. My mother was insistent on getting her married but my father strongly believed in educating us.
When cautioned by elders, he used to defend us saying his relationship with his daughters was based on mutual love and trust and that we would never fail him. We lived up to his expectations and today my sister and I hold responsible posts. The only punishment he ever meted out to us was silence. He would not talk to us for a whole day if we made a mistake.
The article is a guide to parents to empower their children. As Kahlil Gibran says “your children are not your children … they come through you but are not from you, and though they are with you yet they belong not to you” (The Prophet).
Parents love their children and punish them only to get the best out of them. It is children who should respect the love shown by their parents, even if they are punished.
Parents must think of new ways of telling their children that they care for their enthusiasm, ideals, goals and aspirations. They will then be more receptive to advice. Many children, especially adolescents, will blossom if they get friendly advice.
In their anxiety to ensure a better future for their children, parents forget the basic principle “give respect and take respect.”
The reasoning of many parents is “we were handled by our parents like this. Why not we do the same?” This only results in aggression among children. If they are dealt with like friends, relations will be smooth.
Parents say work pressure prevents them from communicating with their children. The young, who are innovative and effective in communication, spend more time with friends and peers. They doubt their parents' skills in comprehension and try to avoid interaction. Their concern is modernism and liberation. This situation often forces parents to be too liberal or dictatorial — two extremes of leadership. Counselling to educate parents and children is a must because it is not always possible to recreate a studio setting, as seen on television, to exchange feelings or make confessions.
B. Nagalingam Pillai,