A handful of sand

‘My son never eats food unless I serve him myself and sometimes wouldn’t eat unless I feed him,’ says this mother of her….hold your breath…25-year-old son. When I heard her say it, I had a job trying not to puke. Fortunately for me the son wasn’t around.

Then there is the father who wouldn’t send his son to study out of the city since he couldn’t live away from his jigar ka tukda! And the boy — all of 19 — for his part avers, ‘My papa is my hero!’ The man wouldn’t get his daughter married off to someone who was likely to leave the city either.

There are other mama’s and papa’s children of both the sexes, who are firmly kept under control  by the respective parents. At the other extreme are parents who let their children have all the slack and sometimes no restraints at all — to live according to the latter’s rules. With the result we have brats who demand and get more than they should, including the freedom to do whatever they want, riding vehicles beyond their age and capability, dressing age-inappropriately, getting into undesirable friendships and habits….

Ultimately, the ones who are well grounded and also emotionally secure are the ones who are given age appropriate freedom and unconditional love. I am tempted to quote S.E.Hinton from The Outsiders here: They (his parents) gave in to him all the time…he wanted someone to tell him ‘No’. To have someone to lay down the law, to set the limits, give him something solid to stand on…If his old man had belted him – just once, he might still be alive.

(Read my review of the book here)

So what kind of love is the best and most enduring? Try this test and you will get the answer:

Take a handful of sand and think it is your loved one. Now hold it tight in your fist, squeezing it as much as you can – trying to hold it all in. What happens? The sand begins to trickle out with the same speed as which it is being squeezed, leaving you with just a few grains. Next, hold it in a flat palm in a windy place and see it all blow away slowly. Finally, cup it in the palm – and see it stay.

Squeeze too hard and the sand trickles out

That’s the way love should be. Some support, a lot of breathing space and it stays put. Too much suffocating love only makes it escape the clutches while complete freedom sees it fly away! So which kind of love is yours? This test applies especially to children but to other relationships as well.

When I was still in my teens, I had formed a lot of my beliefs and convictions as most teens do, I suppose.  But I have tried to live by many of them that I thought were sensible, in my adult years too. One of the life lessons that I learnt was about the sand test. So one day, I told an older woman who had one son on whom she doted, that I would start letting go of my children when they began walking. She laughed and told me, ‘You can talk all you want. Let me see you after you have kids.’

When I had kids, true to my word, I began practicing what I had learnt as a teen. Only she didn’t see or didn’t want to acknowledge the fact. It is easy: Just think that every step a child takes is towards independence, one step at a time. So when the time comes for the child to leave home the wrench is far less than it would be had you held on fiercely, trying to prevent falls and hurts.

No, I want to amend that statement. It is NOT easy. When you see the boy getting down the steps, leaving home for college, you want to run and hug him, but hold back, afraid he would brush it off as sentimental stuff (or maybe turn away, afraid to betray his own fear of the new life?). You hastily swallow the lump rising up in the throat and say something monumentally silly like, ‘Remember to bathe everyday!’ He looks at you as if you have lost it and you are glad you have saved the day!

But once you are through this difficult stage, you don’t keep calling every day or make them swear an oath that they should. That is the difference between those who let go and those who don’t.

My neighbor has three grown up children – the eldest one a daughter, is married while the other two are boys and still unmarried. She keeps insisting that she wants to be ‘free’ and on her own with her husband but becomes restless by mid morning if one of them hasn’t called. She would call me up and start unloading all her fears and paranoia about their welfare, ending with roundly cursing them for being so uncaring!

I know another woman, an independent, working woman who had been talking of leaving for her native place in the south once her sonny boy completed school. ‘I will send him off to hostel and then leave. I want to engage in some spiritual pursuits,’ she used to keep saying. I would hide a smile and nod. Everyone in the colony knew what a control freak she was and how terrified of her the 12-year-old boy was. The school final came and went and she still was around. I had shifted from that place but when I caught up with her sometime later she said, ‘He has got admission in a local college. It doesn’t make sense to leave him in a hostel.’ He completed his PG, M.Phil and then doctorate and she still was around. ‘He is so busy that he needs someone to tell him even to eat!’ I will rest once he gets married and then I will leave.’

The last I heard was that he had been married off to a girl of her choice and that she will stay with them for sometime to ensure that the girl ‘takes care of my son properly’! Besides, ‘He wants us to be with him and I can’t break his heart.’

That’s possessiveness for you. I can well imagine the poor girl trying to snatch time for herself with her husband from this woman while trying to become his mother under his biological mother’s critical gaze.

It is this same streak of possessiveness that makes mothers call up their married daughters (whether living in a joint family or in a nuclear set up) to find out how the day was, what she cooked, what they ate and where they were going for the weekend – the works, interspersed with (un)solicited advice on a variety of things, like my neighbor above, did. Often it leads to interfering in the personal affairs and advice on how to deal with the in-laws and husband to keep them ‘in place.’ So even if the marriage is running on an even keel, such advice can easily derail it.

It is nothing but insecurity on the part of the parent that makes them possessive of their children, lest they lose them. Being in their middle years by the time the children grow up, they are already battling menopause and other health issues, making them even more insecure and scared of loneliness.

But in their selfishness, they don’t realise that their suffocating love can work in two ways and both are harmful.

(a) the subject will try to break free

(b) will remain a stunted individual, incapable of taking independent decisions and sometimes even go into depression.

When these children get married, they carry their insecurities into the new relationship and thus become either control freaks or victims, depending upon how their childhood shaped them; or take their new found freedom to unacceptable levels thus becoming unreliable. Worse, they are so impressed upon by one or both their parents that they look for a mother/father in their spouses putting an incredible strain on the relationship.

All this is to say that the latter life personality of a person depends upon the kind of love he or she has got as a child.

Let me hasten to add that this applies to both boys and girls, before I get a spate of only ‘poor girl  married to mama’s boys ‘ comments to this post.

So what kind of love are you giving/going to give your own children?

 (Image courtesy: science.howstuffworks.com)

 

90 comments

  1. You’re right, this is a great post…. such children, esp. mama’s boys, usually remain stunted individuals.

    If the parent is not suffocating or bossy, they are not likely to want to break free either…. such people ought to avoid marrying, at the very least…. who the heck wants to have their spouse’s mommy going out on all your “dates” and honeymoons and sleeping in between the couple!

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    1. This is where I disagree. Why only mention mama’s boys? The post mentions even papa’s girls, who can really spoil the marriage. Unlike the mama’s boys who are directly influenced by the mother, these girls hold their fathers in thrall and adore them to such an extent that they can’t speak a sentence without mentioning them and comparing the hapless husband to them. My advice to such girls is, stay unmarried, just as I would advice mama’s boys to remain unmarried too! What they look for in their spouses is their father and mother respectively.

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  2. We wouldn’t worry so much about our loved ones if we realized that the more they fall, the faster they become wiser and stronger. Life lessons cannot be taught, they can only be learnt. And the best ones are learnt the hard way!

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    1. Very true. When we try to protect our kids from disappointment and the realities of the world, we are making them more prone to falling down and unable to get up when they actually go into the real world. I would rather my kids have their share of hardships and disappointments early in life so that they learn to stand up and fend them off when they grow older.

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  3. ashreyamom · · Reply

    hello Zephyr, i came across your blog after reading RM’s post on letting go.. such a nice topic and sand example is perfect.. it would stay in my mind for ever.. i was always confused how to bring up my daughter.. should she be like me, all free, who decides everything for herself or be like her dad, who would discuss everything with his dad and only then do things.. it has to be a mix of both.. i would want my daughter to discuss important things with me and decide trivial things for herself.. and i am trying to inculcate that by allowing her to play with her toys on her way, just telling her how to use it only once and not insisting on the particular way. i thought this slowly develops her brain activity and also make sure that she doesnt look at me, every time when she picks up a new toy.

    i can just talk about her toys as she is just 12 months old.. :)

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    1. A year old is way too young to let go :) You should only practice mentally letting go of her as she learns to take baby steps. Every step away is for you to slacken the tie that little bit. But the way you have decided to go about it — expecting her to discuss important things with her parents and doing other things on her own — is perfect. Just remember it when the time comes. Sometimes you need to be firm, at other times you might even feel you are being cruel, but you have to take the call in some matters — value education, for instance. So here’s wishing you all the best. Every child is unique and there is no rule that fits every child and every situation. :)

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  4. Agree with all that you have said. Particularly loved the sand test. As a mother to a 5year old I am still in the learning stage of letting go. Dont know how far I will be successful. However i do wish and hope that I am able to let go of her as each phase in her life demands, give her ample space to grow and freedom to choose the life she wants to lead with constant guidance and support of course as and when she needs.

    Thank you for this post. Parents like me have a lot to learn from your thoughts.

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    1. Thanks Dee. Just remember that she will be close to you if you give her space and a lot of support — to be decided according to the age, for we can’t allow too much freedom to small children. They can only handle so much. I would recommend you the book Outsiders. Do read it.

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  5. Agree with everything, lovely post. And the saddest thing is, the parents, in such cases, miss out on any chances of finding their own passions and interests which could enrich their lives and help them continue grow.

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  6. I love this post. I havent been following your blog, but that is my loss. This post resonated in me on so many levels. Such common sense, yes, its a fistful of sand.

    BTW my anitvirus says there is malware on your site. Please check it.

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    1. Hey Ritu, nice to see you here and glad to know that you liked the post :) Mothers of sons should especially know how and when to let go so that they always remain with them without feeling stifled. Do visit again!

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  7. It is nothing but insecurity on the part of the parent that makes them possessive of their children, lest they lose them.
    So true. And this is even more true, if the subject (the kid) comes from a broken home. The insecurity and possessiveness becomes much higher!

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    1. I am always dismayed to find that people don’t learn from their mistakes/sufferings to make things better for the next generation. If only they had some generosity in their hearts and decide to change things, they would make it easier for both themselves and their children.

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  8. Very thoughtful post. And I liked the comparison with sand in hand.

    Well, I think we become what our parents make us. It depends on what kind of ‘love’ we got from our parents. Over protectiveness actually dulls the capability of individual, realistic thinking in a child and letting go totally is equally bad.
    I know of a mother whose son studies in a different town. He was an artist, couldn’t get marks for Engg. But parents forced him to join Engg wherever he could get admission after paying donation. Now mother has rented a shanty like room just across the road in front of his hostel, so she can cook food for the son. Whole family is suffering now (they call it managing). Young girl who needs her mother for guidance is deprived of it. Father comes home late, grumbles and does household chores including cooking. Most of the time the food is not that edible. Will the girl get same treatment? She is good in studies & wants to become an engineer too but the parents are not that keen. They have exhausted all their money, they say.
    I wonder what kind of mother she’ll become.

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    1. That sounds like a bad case of ‘managing,’ doesn’t it? Surely the girl will become stronger and capable of handling life’s crises but the resentment she feels will bubble up and make her a bitter person and the losers will be her family — both now and later when she has her own.

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  9. Lovely post..All relations are delicate, this one in particular..Parents should know where to draw the line,and balance the freedom given to children.And if the children go wrong anywhere,parents would be blamed…Being born in an orthodox family,I know the value of freedom – even pocket moeny was restricted then. Now I know why :-)
    Not sure if you would do awards,but I nominated you for one. Pls check this – http://zradar.wordpress.com/2011/12/11/yipeee-i-am-recognised/

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    1. Unfortunately we don’t become parents with a handbook on how-to. It is instinctive with some age-old wisdom added. you are right about parents getting the blame if the children turn out badly. But the reverse is also true thankfully :)

      I have recently not been nominated for one, though I have done this tag before. Thank you for the award Zradar :) I will hop over to your blog and see it.

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  10. First of all.. i know one brat who s actually fits into your description of Brat :) lol

    One thing i felt.. u do say what doesnt work in relations. But i guess you would come up with post on what can work or what has worked. :)

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    1. Also.. not just in parent – child relation but this smothering happens in every relation.

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      1. Ah yes, even this one is meant for all relationships but the focus is on parent-child because that is the one that shapes the personalities of children.

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    2. I am working on a series of such articles since this one has got such an overwhelming response.

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  11. Whistle podu…I know at least a dozen mothers who i can send this to!!!

    Fantastic post Z! i had a friend in college – a plump punju boy – lets say N whose mom shocked the daylights out of me – when i went to her place – she asked me to ensure that the N ate well as her “munda” weak ho raha tha canteen ka khana kha ke…!

    i have lost touch with him but would love to know if Mrs N is ensuring that the beta remains strong

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    1. So how about sending it to them? The restrictive and constrictive parents belong to all regions of the country. In my post, two are from the north and two from the south. So did you ensure her munda ate well at college? :D

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  12. A wonderful post so full of wisdom.

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    1. Welcome to my blog and thank you Otto von Munchow.

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  13. I agree about the over-controlling parents. It especially bothers me when it is the parents of grown up men.(Men who insist on marrying whoever their mothers choose and not wanting to even talk to the girl).
    I also know some parents whose underage kids tell them that they won’t study unless they’re given motorbikes. These foolish parents give in and get these moron kids the bikes and then those kids go crash much to the disbelief of the parents. Oh wait, maybe that’s how the parents teach them lessons?

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    1. Your anger shows through Anju. It is the result of ‘liberal parenting’ that causes the parents to give in to their children’s whims and then repent. But the other kind, which stifles young people’s aspirations and freedom is due to insecurity. What they don’t realise is that they get the security but lose the children. It is a very high cost to pay.

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  14. Applauds, hoots and whistles.

    Such refined and practical thoughts. We need more and more people like you :-)

    I wrote something about it ages ago-

    http://celestialrays.wordpress.com/2009/12/28/letting-go/

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    1. *Takes a bow* Thank you Celestrialrays. Actually there ARE many more people like me, only we get drowned out by the others who fall in the varieties I have written about. And with bloggers only highlighting them we look as if we are in a minority which is far from the truth. In my opinion, unless we highlight the good ones, things won’t change. Do you agree? I will look at your post. I like your writing :)

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  15. Great post !!
    We see so many such parents who just suffocate their kids , all in the name of love and affection.
    Liked the sand in our hands example.

    Will be reading all your recent posts one by one now , came here after a long time n i see a lot that i would like…

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    1. Thank you Sangeeta. Insecurity in parents takes two forms: hypochondria and control — both equally bad. It is important for parents to develop some hobbies, interests and objects of love like a pet. That would keep them occupied enough to let go of their children. :)

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  16. Your post couldn’t come at a better time. Here I am, going through a whirlwind of emotions trying to figure out how and why do mothers behave so freakishly controlling with their children, even after they’ve grown up and have kids of their own. It begins with a big conception that they know and are doing exactly what’s right for their kids, while in reality their behaviour only stands to bind their kids and aids in further distancing them. My kid’s too small to be left on his own for now, but I do agree that to make him a friend and a responsible and matured individual, I need to give him freedom enough to know that he can’t be reckless and is answerable for every wrong thing he does.

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    1. Letting go does not mean leaving them to their devices and giving them too much space. Just let go emotionally so that you are not affected disproportionately by their growing up and away, which is a natural thing. If they cling beyond a certain age, one should worry. Curiously, many parents are happy about it, feeling indispensable to their children in their lives. You are doing the right thing by making him feel responsible for his actions, good or bad. Don’t worry, your fear itself will be your guide and not make you over protective or over indulgent. :)

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  17. Very insightful post, Zephyr.

    Loved the analogy of a handful of sand! Parenthood is a walk on a tightrope, I think. Can’t lean too much on either side.

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    1. Tightrope indeed it is. But it is still so rewarding isn’t it?

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  18. Lovely post ! Relationships indeed can be compared to a handful of sand(loved that analogy -so apt), the harder you squeeze(read cling or hold on to), the faster it slips out of your grasp ! Awesome write up !

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    1. Have done it? It is so spooky, you know? That alone should be enough to scare the wits out of clingy parents, but it sadly doesn’t :(

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  19. AlkaGurha · · Reply

    I just read it again…U r so right when you say that mothers of married daughters should restrain from calling frequently…It is a big menace.
    Enjoyed it.

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    1. You said the right word — menace. In the age of single children, parents are becoming even more possessive of their children. And children want out in the same proportion, making it a tug-of-war between the two.

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  20. Sadly parenting does not come with a parenting manual..and parents feel they have full right over the life of their children..Thanks for reminding that our job is like that of facilitator and we need to think lon…g term.

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    1. Yes, Looooong term indeed. From the time they come to earth till they are ready to leave home to find their wings. But the problems start when you refuse to let them go literally as well as figuratively. I liked the word facilitator. :)

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  21. An excellent post and the subtle message of detachment it conveys. It was like a read from Bhagadvad Gita, where the message of doing one’s duty without seeking rewards is conveyed.Root cause of most problems is the unending desires…

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    1. Whoa Rahul! Bhagavad Gita? That’s high praise. But I never write anything on such matters unless I have either experienced it, done it or seen it with my own eyes. So when I say let go, I have done it and it is not difficult at all.

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  22. right on the money! I come from this distant planet of males and have observed that mothers (perhaps naturally) have a harder time letting go compared to fathers:-) but well said. Glad I discovered this blog. Do keep writing and will keep reading

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    1. You are wrong about fathers letting go easily. There are any number of men like the one in the second para of my post, who clutch with all their might to their offsprings :) Glad you liked the post and the blog. Do visit again. You have a wonderful blog too and I have subscribed to it already.

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      1. Merci beaucoup! I’ve subscribed to your blog too, what a coincidence! :-) On the my being wrong bit, I know better than to argue with someone named cybernag :-) cheers. I plan to keep this blog as long as you keep writing. that’s a deal!

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        1. What a lovely decision for my blog! Thank you LG and i am glad my name has made you sufficiently scared not to pick an argument with me :D

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  23. Papa was apprehensive when I had to go to hostel for engg but Maa stood firm and look where I am now :) And of course it also cleared the way for my sister when she left for hostel three years later. Maa does occassionally complain that “the nest is empty now that the birds have flown away” but she’s gotten used to it I guess after 5 years.
    I am pretty certain it must be a gut-wrenching experience for parents to send away their kids to hostel and such stuff after having cared for them for the last 18 or so years but then I also feel that the particular experience is necessary for a child to grow up finally into an adult. A lot of his ideals and beliefs (not necessarily good) are formed in this phase and somehow I feel keeping the kids at home stunts their growth somehow.
    Oh and I wait with bated breath for Maa to comment on this ;)

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    1. I have mentioned several times that your mother is quite a lot like me. We care, but are practical to a fault. :) And let me tell you, one can never get used to an empty nest, only learn to fill it with other things that might be of some interest. While it is true that a child needs the experience of going away to hostel is a rite of passage for him/her, it is in a way necessary for the parents also to do it, in order to make a different kind of life henceforth. I am waiting for her comment too :)

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      1. Pratibha · · Reply

        I feel important that the two of you are waiting for my reply.
        I am glad that the birds always found an excuse to come home at frequent intervals.
        I am also for ‘hostel’ for children. But it also teaches them to be lethargic and TO LIVE IN A DIRTY ROOM.
        Once I told my son, not to come home every weekend as we would get used to it. And later when he wont get time due to family commitments we would blame his wife. Can you believe, he stopped coming home thinking that I did not like him coming home.

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        1. Still you took so long to comment :P Is it lethargy or ‘freedom’ as per them ;) But I must admire his loyalty to his future wife :D

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  24. Good one. This sand thing will remain in my mind forever. :)

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    1. Thanks Bharathi! I am glad you liked the post.

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  25. Oh yes. Oh yes! Completely agree. Love but don’t possess or control. Let them fly; let them explore. Always let them know that you are around but don’t stifle them with your overload of concern and expectations. I have seen so many of such people around. In our society, for some reason, people continue to treat their grown-up children as kids. They expect to be always consulted even for smaller matters, to be kept in the loop about personal issues. They wish to give unsolicited advice for everything. Why are so many elders so clingy, insecure, possessive and overbearing, all in the name of Indian culture? Luckily, the elders in my life are not this way. My father never ever “advises.” He never says do this. He says that in this situation, he might have done this. Then he leaves the actual decision on us. Never once does he turn around and ask, “so, what did you do finally?” I revel in this freedom of being treated as an adult (even when I was a teenager) with brains and sensibility and also feel guilt free of making my own choices without someone’s expectations riding on it. We are indeed blessed when we have mature adults around! The sand analogy was great, btw! I will be reading this post again and sharing it too. Thanks!

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    1. You have said it! The parents who cling are the ones who are insecure and need their children for emotional sustenance. I feel that their own marital happiness is not ideal and so they are looking to their children for emotional fulfilment. Parents like you father is one of the fulfilled ones which is why he can leave his children alone :) And please share the post if you feel it would help other parents. Thanks Rachna!

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      1. I have already shared it on Facebook, so hopefully more people will read this post and so many others too. I actually love reading about and exchanging views on relationships. It is my favorite subject, very intriguing. And, I’ve really enjoyed your blog posts on similar lines and even otherwise :).

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        1. Thanks Rachna. I am encouraged to write more about relationships now. I always felt that it might sound too nagging and so did them only occasionally :) If only we paid more attention to relationships of every kind, life would be such a wonderful place to live in!

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  26. Parent was easy during our generation. Although parenting was a challenge then too, but it has become a much bigger challenge for this gen. Every parent wants the best for their child and yet sometimes unconsciously make mistakes.

    I personally feel discipline should be a par of parenting , and here the peer pressure comes in, making the task difficult. so the best option would be to follow your heart, and do the best. Each gen has its own funda ,a s we know change is part of life. As for being posessive, that is a mistake we shouldnt indulge in. be it a boy or a girl, post marriage they have their own lives.

    i personally India is one country where the family bonding, respect for elders is ingrained in children. but even so…. things change with every gen.

    In my case, since i have girls, i have always known they’ll go away once they get married. I agree girl’s parents / Mum shouldnt be too interfering as that can lead to pobs in married life.

    A good post

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    1. You said it Abha. Follow your instincts and hope for the best. And instincts are never wrong and so is the heart :) Boys or girls, we have to let the kids go because life is not one big Ekta Kapoor serial anymore and we have to be practical to remain happy and let the kids be happy too.

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  27. It takes a sorted out person to let go and not get weighed down by attachments. After all it is nothing but Mayaa.

    I hope when time comes, I will be able to let go. But then I can always call you up and seek your advice.

    Loved the tone of this superbly written post.

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    1. Thank you Purba for making me your future consultant :) But I am sure you will be perfectly able to handle it. Don’t ask me how I know :) Incidentally, letting go is the best way to stay connected.

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  28. Very thoughtful post…I am lucky in that regard…we are three sisters and my parents brought us up in a way so that we become independent and confident in what ever we do.

    I too have seen many parents stifling their children with too much love and attention…there has to be a balance in everything…

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    1. Hey Vinita, where are you these days? Have you stopped blogging? My generation of which yours is part of, knew the importance of independence and that’s why so many of the commenters to this post reiterate that their parents were the best :) *lifting up collar*

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  29. Wonderful!! But then its a tightrope. To know how much to hold and how much to let go is difficult and then it depends on the child too. Like my son is so sensitive that he resists any change, so any change has to be slow and gradual.
    I see some of my friends around. They are not able to take any decisions or even to think out of the box. For each and everything they run about for solutions or help, no doubt because they were spoon fed growing up.
    This post will be bookmarked and read every now and then mami, thank you

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    1. As I have replied to Anu, you don’t let go of the child, but the restrictive bonds that tie him to you. By consciously distancing yourself mentally a wee bit at a time, you will be able to see them in a dispassionate way and that would help in taking practical decisions, like steeling yourself to his tears for instance when he cries his heart out to play that computer game for another 10 minutes, when you have already given him enough time on it. When kids are sensitive they need more exposure to the rough and tumble of the world and not vice versa, but do it together, not push him into it. I am encouraged to write more on relationships when I see all the comments this post has got :)

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      1. Please do … it will help a lot of confused moms like me :)

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        1. I will repeat the same thing I wrote for A-Kay — please find a publisher for me and I’d be delighted to.

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  30. words of wisdom!
    agree!! :)

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    1. Thanks Magiceye! :)

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  31. Wow – that was as usual awesome! I was 21 when I first moved out of my house to a new city (Bangalore), my dad came with me to get me settled in etc. A day or two later he left and then, I called home later that week. I was talking to amma about, well, nothing in particularly and after a few mins, I asked her why she never bothered asking me how I was doing (or fussing over me which I kind of expected her to do as, err, I had just moved out of the house) and her response was a crisp “I know you are happy just from your voice, so why I should bother ask” and was taken aback. She reacted the same way when I got married and moved continents. So, yes, your post brought back memories and tears…

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    1. I love your mom! So practical and down-to-earth! And tell me honestly, you were happy to be on your own, weren’t you, at least to prove to the world and yourself that you could do it? And what is the wonder if your mother could detect that? She must have felt the same I had done when the boys moved away — you know you have to do it, but it hurts nonetheless.

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      1. Oh yeah… I was waiting to get out of the house, to be honest :) I always dreamt of living alone, being independent and managing my life and guess, as you said, amma knew it even before I did, perhaps!

        Am sure, she felt hurt but as you said, knew she had to do that and at that age, I never realized it. I was just wondering how is it so easy for her to let go of her kids (anna moved out at 17) and now I realize, it was not easy but she made it look like one.

        I agree with Alka above, it will be awesome if you get these published…

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        1. I would love to publish it if you help me find a publisher! Mothers are omniscient, didn’t you know? :)

          Like

  32. Wow. Happy to see this kind of a post after a little long from you! True, love can be stifling, from parents, but its a give and take relationship quite honestly. Might sound harsh and too practical, but looking around, I see parents being used to raise babies of their kids so they can work and kids getting their parents to do stuff which they ideally should be doing themselves having taken the onus. So, really I would say, each is dependent on the other for care, love and other practical things such as venting out!

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    1. I can write a lot many of such posts but I don’t because I feel you guys would desert the Cybernag then :D Anyway, thanks for liking it. It is very true that every generation is depending upon the other, but once that becomes parasitical, it becomes a big problem and can screw up relationships big time and this applies to both the X and Y generations.

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  33. Agree with everything!! Such insecure moms and their sons remind me of Anil Kapoor in movie “Beta.”

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    1. Don’t tell me you watched the movie. I felt like throwing up When I saw a little of it and couldn’t bring myself to watch the rest :) There are worse mothers, see Umashankar’s comment :D

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  34. Such a beautiful post! and so true! loved ur allusion to sand! what a wonderful way to describe the situation and so apt!!! and this is something i keep thinking of, so often these days,, in fact every time i let samhith have his way or stop him from doing something… every time i look over his shoulder as he sits on the comp…. my greatest fear is that i will become an over-possessive mom! and god knows i dont want to be one! i have in laws just like the woman u describe, talking of going away ‘someday’… and they still live with us.. or rather the better way to put it would be’ we still live with them!’ and i do hope i dont end up the same! there are so many things i want to do and so many places i want to go…. but more than anything i want him to be responsible and self reliant! and its such a challenging task! which is why i love reading ur blog, and hope i will be able to pick up tidbits from ur experiences!

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    1. I so know what you mean. One can never be sure of what one is doing for the children and like Abha has said, we can only do our best and hope it is the correct thing. But a rule of the thumb is to let go, not the children but the bond that might begin being restrictive and constrictive. I would be very happy if my blog posts are helpful in some way at least in preventing the mistake i or the people i have come in touch with

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  35. AlkaGurha · · Reply

    I have enjoyed these last few posts on relationships, growing up, raising boys……
    Its like my thoughts and your pen….I wish I could curl up in bed and read these posts again and again. ….Why dont you publish them in a book?

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    1. That is a very sweet compliment Alka, thank you :) As for publishing them in a book, you know the publishing scene in this country, don’t you? :(

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  36. A thought provoking post. The allusion to sand is a revelation. I’d like to tell you about a friend who had only his mother in his family. This fellow, otherwise a reasonable man, would ask his mama’s permission for going to the loo and the mama loved it so! After he married, mama would sleep between the son and his wife -one sweet family! She’s remain lodged like a wedge on their bed night after night. The marriage ended in a divorce soon. But did the mama learn anything out of the mess that she reduced her son’s life to? NO, man, NO!

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    1. I would scoff at the man you have talked about, had I not felt immense pity for him and his mother. What monumental insecurity! These are the examples on which movies are made and we say that it is ‘filmy’. the thing is all such cases remain behind closed doors and are not made public. But the thing is to learn from such things and be better parents ourselves, isn’t it?

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  37. Wonderful post as usual, Zephyr. I can’t comment on the love I am giving or going to give my kid as I don’t have one, but I can definitely share the kind of love that I and my brothers received from my parents. My mother was strict, but very loving, who made us take responsibilities for our actions very early on. Decisions to play or study were ours and ours alone. We were never forced to do a task, except perhaps our homework and no matter how important an exam we had the next day, we were encouraged to go out and play. She may not have initially approved of our career choices, but she is encouraged us nevertheless and is proud of our achievements. My father was the fun parent in a quiet way and travelling with him was an absolute delay. We may have lacked in many material things, but we were never short of love or encouragement.

    If I ever have a kid, that’s the kind of love I would give.

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    1. It sounds easy to give the kind of love your parents gave you, but it is damn tough — to see your child go through rough patches and holding back your comments and advice. But such parents are great in that they not only are secure in their own belief that their kids will pick themselves up but also feel secure in themselves, not to expect that from their offspring. I mean emotional security here, of course. As far as material things go, they add to happiness, and are not the means to it. Ask me! And I am sure that you will be that kind of parent if you ever choose to be one :)

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  38. *STands up and appaluds*

    What a post Zephyr…absolutely amazingly great for young moms like me for whom when to let go and where to let go is getting to be difficult

    My dad always told my mom ‘Let go’ thats the best way to bring up your kids..give them enough freedom as long as they dont take it for granted…

    Thats one thing I need to thank my parents..they did give us love like that handful of sand :)

    and about calling up your daughter everyday! WEll I have tons of stories on that which I cant really blog about..but I know what you are talking about…

    and oh! let me admit I talk to my mom and MIL EVERYDAY! we discuss mundane stuff like R and her nosey and of course with my mom its like what did dad do today and should she be really reading that book..with MIL its more like did you see that program today and hope you are all fine :)

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    1. *takes a bow* Thank you, R’s Mom! Talking to one’s one’s mother or mother-in-law everyday is wonderful, but only if they are not the insecure kinds who demand it of you and then give advice that you can do without! I have seen so many girls becoming depressed and angry at their ‘plight’ when the mothers incite them into fighting. I have one special instance about which I will soon be writing. Take care!

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      1. I join in the standing up and applauding :D

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  39. Thanks for the lovely post. loved the comparison with sand. reminded me of a school friend who was perennially spoon fed and protected by his mother and grandma. agree that love should nurture not smother. there is a malayalam saying ‘theeyil kuruthathu veyilathu vadilla” roughly translated as, ‘those tempered by fire would not wilt under the sun’. Thanks again for sharing. :)

    Like

    1. That was beautiful saying. Unfortunately the tendency is to protect the child from all harm and make life very cushy for him/her in the misguided thought that that is good nurturing, but it only makes soft human beings, who are unable to face the realities of the world. Glad you liked it, Zach.

      Like

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