Walking the parenting tightrope
After the various horrific incidents of girls being molested in different parts of the country, I received a forwarded message which said, "Don't curb your daughters' freedom, teach your sons to respect girls". It was one forwarded message which really made sense.
For after every incident of violence and molestation against girls our natural instinct as parents is to set limits for our girls, prevent them from dressing up freely, warn them against the outside world etc, when, in fact, it should be the reverse.
We as parents need to teach our sons to respect girls and treat them with equality.
Gender biases often begin at home in our families. We allow our sons to have night-overs at friends' places, allow them to come home late, ignore their innocent acts of violence saying 'boys will be boys' while we don't let our girls stay out after evenings, teach them to be well-mannered, start including them in cooking and cleaning as soon as they are of appropriate age and keep warning them about the rowdy ways of the world. We teach them to be wary of boys, relationships or love. Rarely have I heard of parents warning boys to be careful of girls.
The way fathers treat the mothers, the kind of relationship the parents share in front of their kids, the atmosphere in the home, just about everything goes into shaping up our children's minds.
If a boy sees his father beating up his mother, he assumes its natural to do so. On the other hand, the daughter too sees this as a normal part of a woman's life. So from one incident a son and daughter take different lessons. While one learns to be violent, the other learns to be submissive and accepting.
As much as we need to teach our daughters not to take violence lying down, we also need to inculcate in our sons the respect they need to give women. If every mother teaches her son to treat women equally and not merely as sex objects and if every father instills a sense of confidence and trust in his daughter, I think it will go a long way in evolving a society free of crimes rising from gender inequality or gender biases.
Actions speak louder than words. So children need to see it day after day than merely hearing empty words. A home where a woman's contribution is appreciated and respected as much as a man's will always have balanced and sound children.
An apple never falls far from its tree. It is on us to give children a rock solid foundation built on moral values and trust. The most valuable lessons are learnt in the confines of a home. The seeds of a revolutionary change are sown in a home which then graduates to a society and then to the country at large.
We just don't need to teach, we need to follow ourselves what we preach to our children.
The more we invest in our children today in terms of quality time, the more we will contribute in shaping a world where our precious daughters can roam freely with no sense of danger lurking behind her.
We need to protect our girls, provide them with a secure environment in which they can thrive and flourish and the only way to do it is to start by equipping our sons with moral responsibility towards them.
To teach them that girls and boys are born of the same womb and both are as special as the other in all ways and the mere fact that one is born a boy does not give him the right to strip or hurt a woman's modesty is the biggest lesson we need to teach our children.
The power of change lies in our hands. But are we doing enough?
Till my next post, you can write to me at http://mammamania.in
More about Shabia Ravi Walia
Shabia Ravi Walia is a media professional for the past 15 years. Dabbling in production, creative direction and writing, she has equal experience in both genres of fiction and non fiction. Over the years she has worked on various reputed non fiction shows like Surabhi and The Good Food Guide for Siddharth Kak, Movers and Shakers on Sony TV and well known fiction shows like Siddhanth, Kumkum, Ek thi Rajkumari, Mile Jab Hum Tum etc. She was amongst the core team who launched Sahara Samay in Mumbai for Sahara Television.
She satiates her love for writing by providing content for websites, copywriting for corporate films and penning down short skits and poems.
Currently Shabia works in the content division of a leading television channel. However her biggest achievement till date as considered by her, is the birth of her baby Sia and penning down the experiences associated with it in the form of her bestselling book 'Mamma Mania.' When Shabia is not rustling up stories, she loves to whip up a storm in the kitchen or put on her dancing shoes and burn the dance floor. Shabia lives in Mumbai with her husband Ravi and daughter Sia and is already planning her 2nd book.