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25 Jun 2022, Edition - 2538, Saturday

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A recipe for a sweet home

Uma Ram


Till almost a decade ago or so, the term scattered family or broken home was referred only to those families where parents were legally or physically separated. The children were the victims of the parents’ blunder, which was very rare. But now almost every family, though staying under the same roof, is a broken one in terms of love and bonding.

The 1980s saw people staying united not only with blood relations but also with neighbours . I still remember the good old days when we were one among the few people in Chennai to own the old black and white television. With Doordarshan being the only channel, it used to be fun watching it. My mother used to serve coffee and snacks to our neighbors who gathered at our home to watch the programmes. Sometimes three or four families would gather for a pot lunch. In other words a get together. Apart from a neighbour, we too were one more to have a landline phone in our home. This provided yet another chance for more communication with neighbours.

But with today’s technological advancements, gadgets and social media have separated not only neighbours and relatives, but have also split every home. The state of one phone per street kept not only neighbours but also families close and intact. It is now pathetic to see each member of a family busy chatting even with a person who is less known to them.

There is no time for loved ones. Everything, I say, is just fake.

When there is time for even a stranger, how come there is no time for loved ones. The end result is a broken home – physically present and mentally absent. The worst affected are the children.
During my Master’s degree in Education, I remember doing case study of a child, from the so called broken home. The father was an alcoholic who extended no support to the family and the mother, shouldered the entire responsibility of running the family. The child was slipping down academically, Due to the situation at home. I tried talking to the parents and could see the little smiles on the child’s face then after!

But today, children suffer silently. Unable to express their feelings or emotions, they throw tantrums in order to get attention from parents and other elders at home. But parents, who have no time to attend to their children, rush to psychiatrists.

Due to several reasons joint families do not exist now. Even if it does, it is very rare. In which case, the entire responsibility of not just bringing up children, but “developing them into responsible citizens with humanitarianism and empathy towards fellow human beings” has become the challenging task for parents.

It was really pathetic to see a parent commenting openly in a PTA meeting, when issues regarding usage of safe internet was discussed. He openly commented, that it is something inevitable today. Boys will be boys, and as far as they score good marks, it is not a serious issue. The entire gathering went berserk and some parents even started accusing that the boy was spoiling their kids too. In another PTA meeting the school management revealed a shocking truth that in a second standard child’s school iPad, allotted for ebooks in the school, there were more than thousand pictures of actresses downloaded and stored.

Lakshmi and Rekha were friends since childhood. The duo met after a long time and got nostalgic about their early days. Rekha’s three-year-old daughter, who was playing with the toys, constantly kept pulling her mother’s saree and kept throwing the toys all over the place. Rekha did not understand and gave the child something new to play with. The chocolates and ice creams too didn’t help. Finally the kid broke a costly vase on the coffee table. Rekha scolded the child and reprimanded her. After Lakshmi left, Rekha cleared the place with the child sitting silently beside her. The child was silent and happy in spite of the scoldings that continued, as she had got what she wanted.

Remember parenting is not a burden, but a bliss. Just spend few minutes daily with your children chatting at their level. The child in you will be revived. Gradually you will get addicted to the wonders of their innocence. Though they might have grown up, they need your warmth. As a mother of two children, I too learn only by trial and error methods. But the beautiful truth I learnt was that, all that children need is just love and affection.

Whenever your child tries to be mischievous, understand that he or she just demands your attention. Their way of putting forth demands is a sheer expression of demanding nothing but your love and care. It is a funny aspect of human nature to ignore those who love them and demand love from those who don’t. Learn to love your loved ones. Remember that the greatest gift you can give your children is loving your partner! Children need that security every now and then that they are in a secure atmosphere. Children brought up in emotionally secure homes are the ones who excel in their lives as good human beings.

Mere degrees and jobs with multi digit salaries don’t mean a successful life. Remember that a successful life is that which earns you generations by your side when you are in distress, and not just a centralised AC serviced apartment engulfed in loneliness depending upon caretakers and nurses for even your emotional needs. Start your earnings today, for practice delayed is success denied! Happy parenting!!!

( The author of the column is Uma Ram, freelance writer from Coimbatore )

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are the author’s own

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