For five years one’s son should be pampered, the next ten years he should be beaten (meaning he should be disciplined) and once he turns sixteen he should be treated as a friend
I am curious to know what would have been Chanakya’s reaction when a certain celebrity and his father partied for long and then the father cleared the road so that the son could ‘run’ his car. You might say that it was good that the road was cleared or else there would have been casualties. True but then why did the father allow the son to get high??
I mean isn’t there a difference between being friendly and being friends. Does being friends mean to share the same mug of beer or puff the same cigarette?
Long ago when sending girls to college was not an ‘in’ thing, a girl was sent to do her postgraduate in a far-off well-known college. When she came home for the first vacation, her mother asked, ‘koi ladka mila kya?’ (Did you meet any boy). Obviously meaning that do you have a boyfriend?
The girl’s answer, ‘Ladke kya aloo pyaj hain jo sadak pe mil jayenge’ (Are boys onion or potatoes whom you can meet on the road?)
Apt answer I feel. Later she had an arrange marriage and remained in that marriage.
No, I am not propagating arranged marriage either.
The point I am making is there is a difference between being friendly and being friends. In the first case; the father was being friends and in the second; the mother was being friendly. In the first, the father should have realized that stopping his son from being high was his responsibility. In the second, the mother was gently asking whether her daughter had found somebody.
Do you share everything with all your friends. I don’t think so. Maybe you tell everything to one or two, with others you reserve a bit, don’t you? For all practical purposes it isn’t possible to share everything even with your spouse. There is a little bit you hold back from him/ her too.
So it is with children. You be friends and yet not be. The relationship should be comfortable and yet it should not be that comfortable that you are on back-slapping terms. The sanctity of parenthood should be maintained.
Let me illustrate with an example. As teenagers we love adventures or like to take risks. Lets assume that you filch an apple from the grocers. Not that you are hungry but just for the fun of it. You may go and brag about your accomplishment to your friends but however friendly you are with your parents you would be hesitant to tell your parents. Because after all what you did was wrong.
Even if you go and tell your parents about it, it is the parents responsibility to correct you and tell that you are wrong. Not say ‘wow’ and do a HI5.
Being friendly with our children does not give us the liberty to forget our duty of raising responsible children.
Krishna and Arjuna were good friends. But in his heart Arjuna always knew that Krishna was not an ordinary being and always respected him as a father. And so we see when Arjuna refuses to fight on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, Krishna guides Arjuna on to the right path. And yet when Bhisma attacks Arjuna full on, Krishna takes a broken wheel to fight Bhisma. That for me is the ideal relation between a father and son/ daughter. That of being a friend, a guide and a protector.
Disclaimer: the views expressed here are entirely my own and not meant to hurt anyone.