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FUTURE OF THE FAMILY

The point of letting go

 

The mothers of the future may have to reassess just how much they will intervene in the lives of family members
PRAMOD KUMAR | Issue Dated: May 13, 2007
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The point of letting go The big question before the mothers of the future is where to draw the line. In a tremendously complex era, with roles changing rapidly, the mother is left largely to herself. She gives birth and that enables her to form an indelible bond with children. During the formative years, this is the most important relationship. Problems begin when the children start to grow. The father comes in, and the mother naturally moves into the background. This is a critical phase. The caretaker in the mother is straining at the leash, wanting to intervene at every stage. The children, who have by now known friends, begin to resent that. Clashes inevitably follow. One of the strong instincts of the caretaker mother is an urge to be praised for the effort she makes. The praise is not forthcoming in when the children are irritable.

Dr. Ramanjeet Jaswal, a psychiatrist with New Delhi’s G.B. Pant hospital told TSI, “In some cases, children never get out of the influence of their mothers. Such individuals are laughed off as Mama’s boys.” This derision is not to be overlooked. Mothers are classic caretakers. Caretakers generally feel responsible for the happiness of others. They tend to bend rules to bail people out of trouble that they brought on themselves. They wonder why so many people lean on them without being sensitive to their needs to lean once in a while. They find it easier to take care of others than to take care of themselves. They rarely have enough time to accomplish all their tasks. They are more interested in talking about other people’s problems than in talking about their own. Thus, armed with thoughts and feelings, the caretaker mother takes on the role of God in other people’s lives, principally those in her family.

Giving up that role is probably the key battle that the mother of the future will need to fight. Regrettably, in India, the most common image that is reinforced is of a mother who can go to any length for the sake of her children. Some Indian epics talk about Kunti and Yashoda, while popular folklore reiterates the deeds of Panna Dai and Mother Teresa. There’s nothing wrong with the impulse to help another. However, in mothers this urge can take on unreasonable levels.

“Many mothers in India are shocked when we tell them that undue love is also a form of emotional abuse, because it robs the child of the ability to pick up skills to deal with crises,” Ramesh Nagpal, who runs Caress Foundation that helps dysfunctional families, told TSI. As with others, the battle for the mother is in her mind.
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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017