Friday, 5 October 2018

Break the Silence

One of the luckiest things that can happen to you in life is to have a happy childhood and a loving home.” Agatha Christie

Who would have been better than the mystery writer herself in stressing upon the importance of a loving home that good childhood needs? Every now and then when the millennials (the new generation children) are subject to stranger dangers, it is of utmost importance that the child gets love and compassion at least at home, if not in the company of friends and teachers. This would also prove fruitful in breaking the silence about many subjects which are otherwise considered taboo in our society. 

With the recent Supreme Court verdicts we find the social fabric of our nation changing. With the changing social rules, we find the moral standards of people are also changing. This makes the job of us parents tougher than our parents. In addition to the Mobile Menace, we also have to deal with this Morality Menace. Some parents find it especially difficult to establish day to day conversation with their children. I can only imagine what would be their reaction when their tiny tots ask them all sorts of questions related to families with two daddies and no mommies in their vicinity.

Propagators of Indian social morality blame the openness enhanced by the social media for the increase in pornography related crimes in India. They say that undue openness about sex education has led to the arousal of curiosity of the adolescents in India. Children have started using their parents’ mobiles to seek sexual pleasures through stalking, cyber bullying and viewing pornographic sites. And with the recent legal verdicts in matters related to same-sex marriages, adultery and so on children would find it easier to accept the perversities!
In all this blame-game, we have forgotten the very fundamental reason for a child to turn to a mobile rather than members of his/her family or peer group. It is us, the parents who introduce the child to the menace, be it a mobile or immorality. It is because we keep silence at home at times when the child wants to break out that the child turns to the perversities. 

There is a lot of talk these days about how to handle sexual abuse, how the child should be equipped to handle such an incident. In most of such cases, it is an understood fact that the perpetrator /abuser are someone more powerful than the abused may be because of his/her age, physical or emotional power or influence over the other. Are we as parents ever ready to introduce a talk related to the child’s sexual preferences? Have we ever observed the child’s behaviour in a group? Are we as a parent ready to accept that our child might be the abuser at times and not the abused or the bully and not the bullied?

What happens if our child turns out to be the bully? We all teach children to behave, to not inflict pain on others, to not hurt anyone through our actions. But still there are times when children hurt each other, abuse each other, bully each other or even kill each other! This only means that we are not ready to actually “Break the Silence” when it comes to the issues related to the sexual preferences of children. 

We have to accept the fact that certain children enjoy violence, hatred and other vile things.  None, or let’ say, most of the parents do not teach their children violence of any sort. It always starts with a friendly mischief, a silly prank which children enjoy in the beginning. But the minute, parents put restrictions; it becomes a Secret to be shared by only a few of the family members. Then with time, the silence increases and the silly pranks turn into dark secrets, thanks to our silence and social media’s complete success. Therefore at times, we need to address these issues at home with the child. It is alright if the child is not a saint, but what is more important is how s/he deals with his individuality without harming others. 

If you feel uncomfortable trying to talk about certain issues openly with your children, you can take the help of photographs, books, animations and, the best; counselors. You can make it clear to the child before and after such a session that you want them to know about some things which you can’t explain them properly but which are important for them to know. So, both of you are going to take the help of some experts. And, after one such session you can always ask them what they understood, what they liked/didn’t like about it.

That would definitely be a great way to start to break the silence and make way for a happy childhood.