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Parenting: A Guilt Trip

Parenting has been hard, especially for parents of millennials and more so for parents of Gen Z. With the onset of the information age, socio-economic upheavals, and breakdown of the family structures, parenting has become a domain of strategic planning and management. In the movie Taare Zameen par, you could see the child being put through intense routines, training and discipline to prepare the child for a fairly competitive and cut-throat world; and if the child was unable to adhere to the rules, parents saw it as a failure on their part and that of their child’s. A guilt trip was inevitable on both ends. Child was made to feel guilty for not being good enough and later on the parents were blamed for the emotional turmoil and trauma the child went through in the formative years. It has not been easy for either of them. Being a parent of the millennial came with much more practical responsibility than that of the previous generation. Millennials on the other hand, had the responsibility of breaking through generational barriers, trauma and family unconsciousness. 

However, having gone through this style of parenting, parents of Gen Z are being more cautious, conscious and aware of their parenting approach. 

Parenting is a much more complex process than understood. In metaphysical terms, parent-child relationship is equal based on karmic equations. One could choose an authoritative father to offset the debt of power and control from a previous life; one could choose a victimized mother to finally be the saviour one couldn’t be in the previous life; parents may choose a disabled child to learn their life lesson of that of caring, vulnerability and unconditional love. The karmic theory does influence a parent-child relationship but it is not limited to that. There are several other factors involved in parenting, of which, CHOICE is the most important. 

Choices are not subject to rationalisation. This is a departure from the general understanding of ‘choice’ as logical, based on facts or deterministic. If and when we find ourselves justifying a choice, it no longer carries the texture of a true choice. It is then a judgement; and judgement creates limitations. 

 ‘What choices have you made in the past that has led to this relationship with your child?’ Is a question that can give a lot of clarity to what might be happening with you. What choices have you made as a child that has resulted in the kind of relationship you have with your mother and father? What choice can you make now to have more ease in the parent-child relationship? A good idea would be to make a list of these choices and see for yourself if they work for you now. If you can create a choice, you can very well uncreate it and make another one. Situations cannot change if you don’t look at these and consciously decide to change what doesn’t work for you

We had a 7 years old boy in our day care centre whose parents held a high position in one of the top notch multinational companies. The child felt neglected most of the time, to say the least. He was the last one to be picked from our centre. Usually, he had to wait an additional 30-40 minutes every day. He had chips for breakfast and lunch owing to the parent’s hectic schedules, which didn’t allow them much time to pack his lunch. This child, on the other hand, chose to guilt trip the parents into buying the most expensive toys, ridiculous amounts of pocket money, among other unlike child demands. They made it work both ways till it didn’t. One can argue the rightness and wrongness of this way of parenting, leading to further complications of guilt, regret, blame and shame. However, if one acknowledges it as just a choice without judgement, one can choose a different reality from there onward. 

As parents, you are doing the best you know how to and as children, you are coping with it the best you know how to. If we were to get out of the blame game, what can show up for all of us? If we could see our parents as just beings and not the direct manifestation of divinity, the relationship would be so much more expansive. For parents, it would be much more contributing to give your children an equitable seat at the table and at the same time prepare them for the real world. In other words, give them roots to ground and wings to fly. 

Sonali Mittra (Therapist and Transformation Coach) and Navita Sharma (Nutritionist, Access Bars Practitioner) 

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