Wow! What a read! Gave me goosebumps....! Please do read till the very end! Do comment like or share what you felt about the story?
It was 6:30 in the evening and I had just picked up my son from daycare. By the time I reached home, it was 7. Traffic was too bad. As I opened my bag to take the keys out, I realized that that keys were not there…I had forgotten to take the keys! “Oh God”, I grumbled, feeling angry at myself. “What should we do now?” I asked my son. He readily provided a solution, “let’s wait at Rhia aunty’s house”. Not a bad option, I thought to myself, Rhia is a good friend of mine. My son and Rhia’s son Samar were of the same age and loved to play together.
So I took my phone out, and called up my husband, “Hey I forgot the keys! Will wait at Rhia’s place, can you please get some dinner packed? It will be too late to cook by the time you will reach…”. I heard an “OK” on the other side and ringed Rhia’s doorbell.
She opened the door, “Hey…”, and she smiled at my son. “Hey I forgot my keys today”, I said. “Please come…I will just be back”, she replied. My son was already inside and had made himself comfortable on the couch. I smiled at him and took a place next to him. His eyes were searching for Samar. As Rhia came out of the room, my son asked, “Can I play with Samar? Where is he?”
She said, “Sorry beta, you can’t play with him today, he has been a bad boy the entire day and I have punished him, he is doing his homework and then he has to eat his dinner”. My son was obviously sad, and I tried to console him, “its OK, play some other time, homework needs to be finished first otherwise he will not get a star tomorrow”. My son sat quietly, thinking what to do next.Samar peeped out from the room and Rhia shouted, “No Samar, you are not coming out, otherwise you know what’s going to happen”. Samar was too excited to see his friend and came out running, Rhia held his hand and stopped him a few feet away…”what did I tell you? Can’t you hear?” she yelled. Samar shivered and so did my son.
She was definitely not in her best mood today and I felt bad for being there. My son stared at me sadly.She took Samar inside again, and he kept saying, “mamma please, I will be a good boy, let me play only for 5 minutes” but she just wouldn’t listen. I asked her, “What happened? Bad day?” She spoke venting out all her frustration, “This child, wouldn’t do anything as I want him to, he takes hours to do everything. I couldn’t sleep properly last night and from morning he is showing tantrums, he doesn’t want to get ready for school, he wouldn’t have his breakfast, I also got late for office because of him. It was such a hectic day, and now he wouldn’t finish his homework. Then I have to feed him and he will take hours to do that as well and then he wouldn’t sleep on time. I am so tired and fed up of him”.
I thought, “which kid or even a grown up does things as their parents want them to? We only listen but in the end we do it our own way. Grownups understand the urgency but kids don’t. On normal days when Rhia is in good mood and not so tired, she laughs at same actions of Samar. But today, the stress was making her think that her son is the worst kid of all”.Samar finished his homework and came out, and climbed on to Rhia’s lap, “mamma please be happy, I finished my homework, please mamma be happy. Don’t be sad”. He kissed her on her cheeks and forehead. “Oh he is so sad to see his mamma so upset” I thought. But Rhia said, “No, I will not be happy, you have to show me that you are good boy and only then I will be happy”.
Samar was in tears and Rhia shouted again, “now don’t cry, or else you are going out”. Her words made him cry even louder. Rhia held her head in her hands, then looked at Samar, tightly held his hand and pushed him out into the dark balcony. He tried hard to pull out from her grip, and kept shouting, “No mamma please, no mamma, I will be good, please mamma.” But she was not listening. She pushed him out and locked the door. He kept yelling and crying, and she kept yelling, “stop crying and I will let you inside”, but he was too scared to listen to her, “mamma, it’s too dark, please open the door”. But she didn’t budge.I stared at her, many a times Rhia had told me that she has a rule of not hitting Samar like in many other households where parents’ slap their kids for every mistake. Rhia used to say, hitting or slapping doesn’t help at all, it’s the parents’ frustration that causes them to hit their kids and is not justified at all. But is pushing your son out, in the balcony, justified? It was worse than slapping.
Even though the balcony was covered and safe, she was instilling the fear of darkness in her son. Later on, she will complain that her son is scared of dark. Is threatening your kid and making him do things in your own way, justified? I looked at my son and could feel how nervous he was. Yelling soon turned into sobbing and then into murmuring, “please mamma please”. I tried to calm Rhia down and she finally unlocked the door. Samar came in running and hugged her tight. He was in a state of shock. Rhia sat down with him in her lap, and said, “Now you know what happens when you are a bad boy. If you want mamma to be happy, you need to be good and listen to what I tell you, you need to do your things on time…” and she went on.I could clearly see that Samar was not listening. He was just hugging Rhia tightly, he wanted to be close to her. As the doorbell rang, I opened the door and saw my husband, my son ran to him. And I said bye to Rhia.
I was still thinking, “Does yelling at kids help? Or does it make them too adamant? From what I have observed, when kids cry, it’s impossible to explain your logic to them, their brains are shut off. Only message that they get while crying is that my mom or dad scolded me. Moreover every kid is different, we can’t expect them to be fast and punctual all the time. And most of the times, it’s not the kids fault, it’s our stress level that makes us do what we do to our kids. Just notice this someday when you are really mad at your kid, your kid will do things at his own usual pace, but still it will trigger the bad mommy and daddy in you because YOU are having a headache or YOU had a bad day at office, or YOU are tired.
Same behaviour of your kid on YOUR good days doesn’t change you into a bad mommy and daddy, right? As parents we find our kids as easy targets to vent out our frustration because we can’t do that to our spouse, or parents, or grown-ups in general, because we will have to face the consequences. With kids, it seems easy!
”Discipline is important but too much scolding and yelling is surely not the right way to discipline your kid.Well, it was not of the best days but I had a great learning. As we finished dinner and finally lied down on the bed to get some sleep, I looked at Samar, kissed him on his forehead, he murmured, “Are you happy mamma”, I nodded my head, “please be happy always”.
Tears rolled down my cheeks and I said to myself, “Oh Rhia, please don’t do that again”.I am not sure if I will be able to maintain my senses all the time, but I am determined to try.
P.S. Rhia is nobody but me, through this story I wanted to put in two perspectives of what goes on in a parent’s mind, at different stress levels. When you are stressed, you act like Rhia and when you are happy, you act like me in the story! In this entire story, Rhia was also thinking rationally like me, but her bad part was too strong all the time! Only later, when she finally gets some rest, she understands that she was wrong.
Author - Saumya Agarwal