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December 16, 2005

Papa, Can you hear me?

I get this question "How are you going to bring up your child? Strict or lenient?" from some people. Most definitely they are singles or blissful couples without babies. Because people with kids know how absurd this question is. Children just grow up. You might think that you are bringing them up. But that’s just an accident. S/he can survive without food, water, milk, toys, books, sleep, diapers, wet wipes, clothes, baths, bath toys, silicone tipped spoons, high chairs, swings, ... You get my point. It has been proven. And then "Will you hit your child" question from some wise-asses. Either they accept that they do spank their little ones and ask this question with a "If you say no, you are lying" look or with a "hitting is barbaric" look.

A little Flashback here:

My sister and I got a good beating from my dad when we were young. Me a lot more than my sis and once or twice even when I was in college. Accepted that I was a rebellious teen but nothing justifies violence. Especially with kids. The embarrassment and humiliation when you are hit cant be compared to anything else. (Except when we are caught naked in public. But that’s only in our dreams, so no worries!) My mom has nt laid a finger on me or sis, not even a pinch. All she had to say was, "Let dad come home in the evening" and I would start planning to kill myself or at least pray for an accident for dad while coming home from work. (Nothing worse God, just a minor injury will do!) Some times he ll be in a good mood and would just laugh away while my mom complained about us. And the other times, they were very scary. Probably he had a bad day in office, we ll never know. Because my dad has this Mother (or is it Father) of all Denials and swears that he has nt even laid a finger on us. Watch him in the company of kids and you would believe him too. Thank God I ve my sis to vouch for what I say. Otherwise I would ve thought I have imagined everything. Anyway, I still clearly remember the times my dad hit me. Everything would be over in a few minutes but those will be the longest time in our lives. I would apologize and say "Sorry Pa, Sorry Pa" a hundred times and say "I won’t do it again Pa. I wont do it again, Pa" a hundred times not even remembering why I am saying sorry and what I won't do again. I hated him the most then. My mom would feel very guilty and stand in a corner and cry. My sister would also get a slap or two because my dad would nt want me to feel lonely in pain. How nice of him! My sister would look daggers at me. I had other things to worry though. "When will he stop?" "How many more sorries should I say?" "Should I go to school tomorrow?" "Hope he does nt find the wooden scale". "I will never ever eat anything in this house again". "Would never talk to Mom again". "God, let me die in sleep tonight so that they all suffer tomorrow". Of course, none of the above mentioned happened. The next day, I had breakfast and went to school.

Today, I think back and feel all those violence was absolutely unnecessary. (In my situation, at least!) I turned out the way I turned out. The hitting part did nothing to my life except feel a little less love towards my dad than my mom and write a blog about it. Nothing can be worth the hurt a little mind goes through because of being hit. It’s just letting out your anger and then feeling guilty for the same. I never want to go through that guilt with Ashu. I will never hit her. (I should probably delete this blog by the time she learns to read). HD does nt come to the picture at all as he does nt hurt a fly. If he can be patient with me, he can be patient even with Calvin. (As in Calvin & Hobbes!) Also, that makes me the definite enemy for Ashu and I am sure she’s going to run "Daddy!" for everything. Well, that’s completely another blog material!


Anonymous said...

What can I say! Speechless! But violence is never an answer for anything!

Anonymous said...

You are so right...getting 'hit' just makes you feel more rebellious and angry ..your ego gets hurt and you want to get back in some way or the other..and not being able to do it,over time, kind of makes you less 'close' to the person..

I dont suppose you will ever hit Ashu..since you've been at the recieving end..

And really, you are an awesome writer! You put your thoughts down so clearly and
always with a hilarious note in it...

Hope you never get tired of blogging! :-)

Alpha said...

that's terrible. I never got hit though I did deserve it at times. But seriously, not after a certain age...maybe 10 is the limit..

hitting girls..never!

B o o said...

Until 2, they dont even know why they are being hit! Between 2 to 5, they are just scared. 6 to 10, they are very much hurt and confused. After 10, they just rebel. So Alpha, is there really a age limit for hitting?

Lakshmi, sometimes the reverse is also true. People who ve been hit are the ones who hit their kids when they become parents. May be its in the blood or its the only way they know. Even for me it does nt come naturally. I ve to make a conscious decision that I should nt lift my fingers on my children. I just hope I succeed in doing so.

anantha said...

Hmmm.. And I thought I was alone in feeling just a wee bit bitter about my childhood. I now know that everyone (and thats a realization that i got not just from you, Boo) goes through these emotions at one point of time. My resolution is that I am never gonna force my child, if at all I have one (which btw, seems more and more uncertain by the day considering my current single status and RC-ness), will get to make atleast his or her major decisions themselves with minimal intrusion from my side.
btw, can I blogroll you?

B o o said...

Honoured Anti. Of course you can. BTW, I left a comment a couple of months back here:

I commented very late so probably you did nt get to read it. Or did you?

anantha said...

Boo: My bad.. Did not see the comment till today..Tanx for the comment..will post a reply right there tomorrow.. its nighty night for now..

anantha said...

btw.. the pleasure and the honor... is all mine...

The Visitor said...

Comment on "Papa, Can you hear me?"

Your post makes me tearful...
I've been guilty of what your father did. Very often I take out my frustrations (often due to other causes) on the children for their minor demeanours, and later feel guilty as hell. Though my children have grown up and dont seem to harbor any ill-will, I still feel guilty on that account. I was never (very rarely) beaten by my parents, and yet I didn't follow their example. So I'm sure that you wouldn't be beating Ashu.

Spanking (punishment) is OK, as long as it is done in an objective way (venting one's frustrations is NOT objective). The punishment should NOT be out of proportion to the mischief done. Punishment should NEVER be given in anger.
Easy to say, but difficult to follow.

An aside: Since last night I've been reading your blog, and its been too much for me to take - I've become sort of emotionally charged. Thanks for sharing your thought with us - it has meant a lot to us (readers).

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