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Against all odds

Is there really a fine line between concern and ego that we, as parents, cross unknowingly? Vikram Bhatt wonders.

sex and relationships Updated: Oct 13, 2008 19:53 IST

My daughter, like all children, has gone through the usual gamut of things of what she wants to do in life. It started with wanting to be a musician, followed by a brief flirtation with being an actress.. and now she wants to become a director.

I, like every parent, have an opinion on what she should do and help her to do well in life. I was telling her about the pros and cons of being one.. and then something happened.

I realised that whenever she had an opinion of her own, and insisted on going through something that would not find favour with me, I would get slightly irritated. Very strange I thought.

Separate ways
Watching the waves lashing against the shore in the moonlight, I stood at my window and put on my thinking Bhatt cap.

Parental concern is great and is probably what makes a parent a superhuman in bringing up a child. But is it possible that parental concern could grow into parental ego? Is there really a fine line between concern and ego that we, as parents, cross unknowingly?

For example, a lot has been said in the media about Ameesha Patel and her parents. Even I have found myself completely embroiled in the controversy. But today, months after Ameesha and I have gone our separate ways, I can sit back and study the situation.

No freedom
I’m sure her parents had a lot of concern for her. They have given her the best in life and also a foreign education. I have also been privy to a scene where, Ameesha, despite her stardom, did not have the freedom to even buy a car of her choice.

This is not a gossip column and I’m not writing about her parents’ accusations at me. That is immaterial and does not matter any more. I’m just wondering if their concern stretched so far that it crossed the line and became parental ego.

You can fight with your child when he or she comes of age but I think it’s the responsibility of the parent to keep their concern in check. It could ruin everything between them and their children.

Quarrelling with your children is okay but is it right to not call them up to wish them a Happy Birthday or inquire about their health, only because they did not agree with your assessment of the situation?

Adamant nature
True, parenting is about teaching your children to assess situations on their own and not about enforcing your assessments.
In a strange way, Ameesha’s parents should be happy about the fact that they raised her to be a woman of the world, someone who has stood against all odds on her own.

She runs a house and earns her daily bread without anyone’s help. She’s a success story. But the irony is that it is a success of her parents and herself together. Yet, I wonder if her parents would see it that way now.

Parental ego is the worst illness that a parent can suffer from. You don’t know when the hand that teaches a child to walk tightens the grip and begins to lead the child with a firm grasp to a place, which the child does not want to go.

Pick up the phone and say hello to the children that you are estranged from, because their adamancy is a victory of your parenting, which makes them fiercely independent. And yet your parental ego has done you in.