Parental Love – Tales of Love and Struggle
The love of parents towards their children is always unconditional and transcends all boundaries. And a parent's love for their child; no matter a test score, a life changing decision, an argument, or a strong belief, the amount of love that remains between this bond is seen as unchanging. Before we explore into the depths of this concept, I would like to put before you two stories. They are tales of both, love and hardships.
The Bright Side
In the month of June, we rescued three boys who were used by their parents to sell few small scale handicrafts and bangles in the capital city. Hailing from Mumbai, the family had no idea that Trivandrum is a 100% child labour & beggary free district.
For the past one and a half months, the children have been under our care and protection. But it has definitely not been easy for their parents. The latter have been knocking every door and running from pillar to post requesting the release of their children. Even after our assurance that the children would be produced before CWC and transferred to their hometown; both the father and mother were relentless in asking for their children. According to them, without the boys, they had absolutely no reason to live.
We even received a phone call from a representative of a prominent nationalist political party in Mumbai enquiring about the details of the children and asking for their swift restoration. Last week, the formal procedures for the transfer were complete. All three of them, are now reunited safe and sound with their parents.
The Dark Side
Two days back, CHILDLINE got a call from a desperate mother pleading help for her child Bobby (given name). We visited the home, conducted a home study and asked both the child and her mother to come down to our office the very day. As per the mother’s statement, Bobby (9th Std) has developed a chronic severe addiction to both smoking and substance abuse. He’s irregular at school and loves to hang around all day with his friends. She’s a single mother as her husband abandoned the family, when the boy was five. Working at a pharmacy, she earns enough to take care of the family. The child’s addiction and related mood swings have been the center point of several disputes between the mother and child. Fed up with the arguments, she called up CHILDLINE informing the issue.
Upon further probing, we came to a sad conclusion. The mother did love her child, but was not ready to take up the responsibility. The boy has been deprived of his mother’s love and affection from a tender age. This has scarred the boy’s mind quite deeply. This also led to some mental health issues as well. And there began Bobby’s gradual fall into drugs. Being a single mother definitely has its fair share of fights and struggles to be won.
But the mother insisted us to take in the boy, provide him scholarship and get him away from drugs. But when we suggested an option of letting him stay home and go on with the process, she was hell bent against it. The mother believed that the boy was too hard to handle. She definitely loved and cared for her child, but the pressure was a bit too much.
Children in single-parent families
The effects of a single-parent home on a child’s behaviour can be far-reaching and impact several areas of life, including academic achievement and social behaviours.
· Emotional effects of growing up in a single parent household may include feelings of abandonment, sadness, loneliness and difficulty socializing and connecting with others.
· Most single-parent households are run by mothers, and the absence of a father -- coupled with lower household income -- can increase the risk of children performing poorly in school.
· It is often difficult to contains growing male children especially y for a single mother.
Although Single parenting can have positive effects on children as well, but depends purely on other factors such as personality types and parenting techniques.
1000 days to get it right for every child
The early years are critical for optimal child development and the realisation of the child’s full potential as a loving, socially engaged, well-educated and trained adult, contributing to national social and economic life at their full potential.
Children in their first years of life are the most vulnerable to the long term damaging consequences of deprivation from love, affection and proper nutrition. Deprivation impacts upon child development through the inability to access needed goods and services (including healthcare); through disruption and stress of family life; and through social alienation.
Significance of Breastfeeding in bonding between mother and baby: - Breastfeeding promotes bonding between mother and baby. It stimulates the release of the hormone oxytocin in the mother's body. "It is now well established that oxytocin, as well which help in uterine contractions and milk ejection, promotes the development of maternal behaviour and also bonding between mother and offspring.
We believe that a positive, social and economically sustainable future for our country is only possible if:-
· Children are placed at the centre of government policy and planning Child poverty is eradicated
· Child maltreatment is reduced
· Every child is given a good start in their early years
· The status of children as well as the child-rearing roles of families, educational institutions, care homes, etc are increased.
Access to affordable early childhood education is a critical form of public investment leading to positive returns from good child outcomes. For vulnerable children this will be more effective when combined with support and education that enables parents to be involved and also up skill themselves.
According to Robert Firestone Ph.D. (The Human Experience) Parental love includes genuine expressions of warmth—a smile or friendly look that conveys empathy and good humour; physical affection; respectful, considerate treatment; tenderness; a willingness to be a real person with the child as opposed to acting the role of “mother” or “father"; and a sensitive attunement and responsiveness to the child.
To conclude, children whose parents have, for the most part, resolved their issues of trauma and loss from the past have a better chance. Regaining the feeling for themselves seemed to be the key element that enabled them to enjoy closer, more sensitively attuned interactions with their children and altered their child-rearing practices in a more loving, positive direction. Parenting is about being the best mother or father; one can be to his/her kids. Sometimes it's simple. Other times, it might not be what we anticipated or imagined. But not willing to take that risk is never an excuse.