The way the Indian kids are groomed
The way the Indian kids are groomed
By Mridula Sinha
At last the Indian parents Anurup and Sagrika Bhattacharya got permission to meet their children in foster care centre in Norway. One can imagine the mental condition of the small kids who were separated from their parents without their fault. According to the Norway’s child protection service the parents were not taking proper care of their children while rearing them. Officers sent the children to foster care. With the intervention of Indian Foreign Affairs Minister SM Krishna the Norway Government agreed to handover the children to their paternal uncle living in India. The agreement is yet to be implemented.
This Norway incident reveals the difference of rearing and caring children between the two countries. Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya with three year old boy Abhigyan and one year old girl Aishwarya were living in Norway. The faults of parents which have been highlighted were that Abhigyan was sleeping with his father while mother was using hands when feeding children. These practices were considered against the law of Norway. For this fault of parenthood according to Norwayian State law, both the children were handed over to two foster parents separately.
The incident has given opportunity to review the Indian parenthood and its way of grooming the kids. With the intervention of Indian Foreign Minister the Norway government agreed to handover the kids to their uncle. This news gave happiness to grandparents. Indians can believe it. In our families the children do not belong to their parents only, but to their extended family members also. If given chance they may take care of children better than their parents. Child is supposed to be the asset of the family.
Feeding children with hands instead of spoon, is the common practice in India. For Indians it appears very ridiculous that one is ridiculed and punished only because one is fed by hands. We have heard the incident that took place when Vijiya Lakshmi Pandit, Indian Ambassador to Russia, was talking lunch with Stalive, director of the country was asked by him when she was using her hand for eating. She replied, “I think my hand is cleaner than spoon.”
In our way of life children are more comfortable if they sleep with their father or other family members. Earlier, male child used to sleep with his grandfather and he was more comfortable. There used to be his younger sister or brother in his mother’s lap. Grandparents had much more quite time to listen to their grand children’s questions and teaching them good manners. Only through story telling grandparents could sow the seeds of good behaviours among children. Actually when social scientists come from Western countries to study the family system of India, they forget to study the smallest but emotional things like rearing or parenting the children in a different and right way. In other words one can say that the whole personality of an individual reflects the rearing pattern.
It is good that Norway’s problem has been solved. But the incident has shaken the Indian sensitive people.
Shri SM Krishna also agreed that the cultural differences, not poor parenting, lay at the root of the problem. As far as family system is concerned India has been accepted culturally rich. Educating children begins from their very childhood. Mothers sing songs while feeding milk to children. The child does not get only milk but a touch of the lap of the mother. It gives the kid full satisfaction along with filling the belly. While sleeping in the lap of mother or of any other elderly women of the family, child gets sound sleep. Child is secured in its sleep also. If the mother did not get time to sleep with kids she used to put pillows with kids. In Indian way of rearing child, kids get emotional satisfaction also.
Ten years ago, my husband and I went to US for spending sometime with our grandson living there with his parents. At our arrival at their house my son gave instructions to be comfortable in new situation of the household systems. He instructed us not to hold the child who was sleeping alone in a crib next to our room. I asked “if he is crying?”
“Do not touch him even if he cries. He will cry and cry. After sometime he will get sleep. This is the modern and new way of rearing children.” My son gave us lesson. I was very much upset. I had to obey them. After all they were living in a new society with new living styles. I could not resist my feelings. I said, “If he will cry, I cannot sleep. When you were kid and crying at midnight the whole family used to gather around you. Nobody could sleep soundly while the child is crying in the night. Nobody allowed you to sleep separately. I have been a student of child psychology. Parents touch, especially mother’s touch, is necessary for the balanced development of personality. Many minor diseases can be cured only with mother’s touch.”
With my persuasions they agreed to keep the child in their bed while sleeping. In the name of modernity the younger generation is also leaving the older ways of grooming children through which their childhood have passed. Working mothers cannot spare much time for kids as they require. The peaceful time of mother is the need of the kids. In our joint family, mothers of small kids could get free time to feed their children while the other women of the family used to perform their duties. It was the responsibility of the whole family to rear the kids. Now the time has changed. We have opted single family pattern in cities. The women prefer to work outside the houses.
The government has to take care of the motherhood of women. That’s why maternity leave and now paternity leave are provided. This is the responsibility of the society and the governments to see that the proper care is taken of while bringing up the kids. Main responsibility lies with natural guardians, but they should be provided facilities for rearing the children. After all child is the property of nation, and the family is the first unit of the nation.