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August 19, 2009

I was reading a novel in which one of the woman characters starts turning her 2 year old child against her husband and her family who had caused her business loss. So by the time the child is 8 years he is full of venom for everybody and he kills his father and goes out to take revenge from his relatives
Who was responsible for it? The mother, no doubt.

Parents ,are the ones who socialize, educate and nurture the children. How they will mould their gullible minds will determine what sort of adults they will turn out to be?

Very often husbands and wives in their fit of temper pass a comment in front of their children, “why did I marry?” (Very common) but ,they fail to realize the impact of such words on the impressionable minds of the children and they grow up believing that marriage is indeed something which causes unhappiness.

I was in for a shock when few days back in answer to one of my comments on male ego, my daughter said , Mummy please spare me your comments on male ego. This is your thinking, don’t press your views on me” I was stunned. I wondered if I was indeed poisoning her against men especially when she is on the threshold of marriage.

Many a bloggers who feel strongly about the pathetic conditions of women, their victimization by the hands of men, sexual discrimination, harassment etc write bold blogs on the same issue (even I express my views on such issues).

Sometimes I feel that although our intention is to highlight the status of women in our society, we want to talk about their rights but unconsciously are we not encouraging the younger generation to harbor wrong notions against the opposite sex.

Are we not inculcating a sense of fear amongst girls regarding marriage, regarding men in general?

I know we are trying to prepare them for the facts of life, we are showing them that life is not a bed of roses, we are preparing them to fights against injustice, raise their voice against inhuman attitudes of certain sects of our society.

But are we not scaring them?
I know all enlightened people are raising their voices against the atrocities being committed on women and the broad minded, pragmatic thinking young generation are intelligent enough not to generalize but then there are remote chances that some of them involuntarily start breeding hatred towards members of opposite sex.

There are tons and tons of jokes, sms against women as wives, as girlfriends which make fun of them, which show them as sex objects, or as persons with no brains, or the ones who always harass their husbands.

Is it not possible that when young boys read them, enjoy them and discuss it amongst their friends they are indirectly getting conditioned to regard woman in that light only. Won’t they enter into matrimony with these preconceived ideas about wives? And wont it affect their relations with their life partners?

Right from birth we start discriminating between sexes. Kitchen sets, sewing kits, dolls for girls, cars, mechanos, etc for boys

We have preset rules for girls and boys, different household duties for them.

Are we as adults not conditioning the children to fall into stereotyped roles?

We, as parents and adults differentiate between our sons and daughters in our own houses and then we are the ones who talk about gender inequalities in outside world.

It is up to us the parents especially the mothers to train the children right from childhood to respect the members of opposite sex, it is up to us to guide them in the right direction and path.

How we behave with our spouse, what sort of discussions we have amongst ourselves, what sort of values we will imbibe in their pliable minds will shape up their future and their adult life?

Moreover to an extent our religious scriptures, our old traditions, our TV serials and our movies all are responsible for this loathsome and irrational thinking of men and their attitude towards women.

And of course we adults as guides, as role models at times unintentionally misdirect our children be it sons or daughters in wrong directions.

i am all in favour of fighting against injustice towards any one , and I strongly condemn the atrocities and violence caused to women but my only apprhension is all this should not have any negative influnece on younger generation. rather they should think objectively and look at the things in a rational manner and follow what is good for them and for others also and we should try to tell the young ones that we are raising our voice against some of the malpractices of the society and they should not adopt those in their lives but take lessons from them

28 Comments leave one →
  1. shilpa permalink
    August 19, 2009 2:18 pm

    This is one of the masterpiece you have written and also differences between sexes well defined

  2. Ms. Neha Gandhi permalink
    August 19, 2009 2:23 pm

    very well said… what u say is very true…a child mind absorbs everything that he is exposed to without filtering things based on whether they were comments passed frivolously or as part of jokes…or just mere impulsively…
    but eventually, as the child matures he develops his own views and opinions based on the surroundings which more often than not is his family environment itself…so yes to ur point the family is very much responsible of what the child's mind shapes up to be…

  3. ~Just me again~ permalink
    August 19, 2009 2:28 pm

    Very good post, it's very true as well. Some people drill stuff into their kids head, whether it's on purpose or not. Right or wrong it gets done.

    True, the typical stereotyping of getting our kids the gender based toys…that to me is a minor detail.

    To me its more the aftermath, the bad things said. In the 7 years since I've been split from my ex husband, I may have said one bad thing about him. And that was not to the kids, but to a friend, they just heard it. He on the other hand, has filled their heads with so much crap….that eventually I knew they would grow up and see it. Which they are starting to now.

  4. AnjuGandhi permalink
    August 19, 2009 3:53 pm

    thanx Shilpa, Neha for your kind words. it is true that once the child grows he forms his own views and opinions but the remains of past incidences are always there in his unconscious mind which may surface sometime in future

    Hi Just me again. your children will surely realise the truth but i am sure it must have been very stressful for you to see their minds filled with all crap against you.and you did right by not turning them against your ex husband.

  5. Apanatva permalink
    August 19, 2009 5:17 pm

    our children are smarter than we were.They are more independent.
    They are transparent in their behaviour .They are worldly wise and has the courage to correct us when they think we are wrong . It does not mean they don't respect us ,or love us .All we have to do is give proper guidance when they need it .When i was young never even dreamt of correcting my parents as a token of respect .

  6. Ooglers Googlers permalink
    August 19, 2009 5:20 pm

    Well written thought and indeed it's all how we bring up our kids and that's how they end up being what they are today.

    Not only in our culture, but in every culture (be Roman/Greek or Chinese), there has always been this inculcation and differentiation of sexes between the male and female. I guess, this is how God created the world and wanted ADAM and EVE to be.

  7. The Panorama permalink
    August 19, 2009 5:30 pm

    Ok Anju, you have a point. However, am a bit confused about one thing: do you mean to say we should not criticise any men? I understand your daughter. She has not experienced life yet in the same way so she may not want to believe some things. However, life is not fair. That doesn't mean that we should just keep quiet about the atrocities committed towrads women, simply because a young girl may not like to hear the brutal truth. Sorry,I wish all of us could go through life wearing rose coloured glasses but how realistic is that? Young women are being brutally raped and put through all kinds torture today. Should we not say anything lest it poisons a girls mind?
    What you read is a novel. A piece of fiction. However it is true that parents sometimes do end up influencing their children negatively but an 8 year old that goes on a killing rampage is bizarre. How often does that happen?

    I think the important thing is to teach our children how to sort out the differences. Tell them about the harsh truths but also teach them ways to recognise signs of abuse or bad behaviour so that they do not put up with it. By never talking about male ego will not make it disappear.

  8. Queenmothermamaw permalink
    August 19, 2009 11:16 pm

    Quite a discussion Anju as usual. You are a very good writer of controversial things. I raised all my children the same, but our youngest is of a different generation I think. She did not live in the country and raise veggies and can and freeze like my others did and she does not think like they do. Sometimes she surprises me with things she says. She is a social worker and says whatever comes into her mind. Very opinionated.

  9. AnjuGandhi permalink
    August 20, 2009 3:50 am

    @ Apanatva yes today’s generation is smarter and more practical than what we were at their age. Even I never had the guts to criticize or correct my parents but these days the children don’t think twice before giving their opinions, at times without realising that their comments may upset the parents
    @ Ooglers Googlers Yes there is inborn differentiation between sexes but then one sex should not try to rule over the other sex or insult, humiliate or torture the other one just because he is physically strong. When we talk about gender equalities then both the sexes deserve equal respect and importance

    @ Panorama No I don’t say that we should not criticize. A Wrong is wrong and we should condemn it. Rather I am very vocal about the injustice towards women
    I am all in favour of fighting against injustice towards any one, and I strongly condemn the atrocities and violence caused to women but my only apprehension is all this should not have any negative influence on younger generation They should not start generalizing that men or women are bad and they should be cautious when they enter into a relation. Rather they should think objectively and look at the things in a rational manner and follow what is good for them and for others also and we should try to tell the young ones that we are raising our voice against some of the malpractices of the society and they should not adopt those in their lives but take lessons from them and they should also condemn such acts.

  10. Varsha Shrote permalink
    August 20, 2009 6:50 am

    Great post, Anju! My first time here and I'm impressed like anything!You have the ability to speak up your mind very clearly which most of us can't.
    Well, this happened to me too, and I hate any kind of discrimination.And yes, as a parent we should be very careful about what we say in front of them.
    I have a five-year old son, and I'm really careful about this stuff.I'll keep your point of view also in mind.

  11. Solilo permalink
    August 20, 2009 7:11 am

    Anju, Totally agree with you. This social conditioning is so ingrained that people now even doesn't know when they discriminate. Even in our NCERT books you can see 'Geeta, paani lao'. 'Ram khaana khaane baito'. It is always a girl serving and boy sitting and eating. If we see advts. we have moms cooking and dads at the table. Kids who see this are conditioned to think that this is how it should be.

    As parents it is most important to teach our kids on rights and wrongs and on equality. A small mind is like a sponge and earlier you start, the better. Once again a nice post and I blogrolled you so will never miss you.

    BTW there is a new post on 'No gender equality' blog on same topic.

  12. BK Chowla permalink
    August 20, 2009 7:27 am

    Well,to an extent you are right when it comes to smaller towns.It perhaps is different in metro cities.We brought up both our children,one girl and a boy,in exactly the same way and never differentiated when it came to choosing their toys,studies,careers and finally choosing their partners.Yes those parents who differentiate are responsible.

  13. AnjuGandhi permalink
    August 20, 2009 7:56 am

    @ varsha thanx for your visit.young children have this ability to absorb anything and every thing from their enviornment so we have to be very careful in front of them.
    @ Solilo I am a regular follower of No gender equality and also of the blogs of its founder members. I just wonder how we can break the stereotyped roles passed from genertion to generation?
    @ BK Chowla your children are very lucky but most of us do tend to differentiate may be unconsciously beacuse we have also been conditioned to the same old traditions.more than differentitaion what is important is what sort of values we pass on to our children

  14. hitch writer permalink
    August 20, 2009 8:50 am

    Solilo almost said each thing I wanted to say… !! i totally agree with her…

  15. Mustaf permalink
    August 20, 2009 9:23 am


    This is my first time here & I am impressed with the post, with your straight talk. This was not an easy one to talk about, but you did it splendidly without fearing what the reader's reaction might be.

    In today's context, the way a girl should be taught about the safeguards to be taken, similarly a boy should be taught the same too,be it false rape charge or be it wrong dowry charges. I know a man victimized by a woman is not as common as it is for the opposite sex, but is not such incidents increasing day by day? I am not defending the men community, but if we talk about true equality, should not we teach the same lesson to both of them (the context just might be different)?

    Secondly, I firmly believe that we can teach positive without talking negative. I mean we can teach them the importance of education, independence, financial security etc without telling them how miserable other's life is who did not have education/financial independence. Talking negative only scares the individual

    Thirdly, you are just right about the parental behavior.I could not agree more with you 🙂

  16. AnjuGandhi permalink
    August 20, 2009 10:28 am

    thanx hitch writer and Mustaf for your visits.
    Mustaf i totally agree that true equality means same sets of rules for both the sexes. that is why I always say that parents should teach the same things to both the sons and daughters. even if it is not useful for the son at the moment but it will surely come handy when he gets married 😉

  17. Aparna permalink
    August 20, 2009 10:46 am

    I think it is the duty of the parents to teach children right from wrong.
    They have to be taught to respect individuals for their qualities. They can be men or women. If they know what qualities are admirable and what are not, they can make up their own minds without any interference from us.

  18. Cilla permalink
    August 20, 2009 12:53 pm

    Hi Anju, this is very true…I agree about these why did I marry comments…a friend was once relating how two parents had some fight over one of them letting the child eat something that the slightly unwell child shouldn't have eaten…the child in innocence and excitement happened to blurt out that she had eaten it and the parents fought over it…the parent then blamed the child for telling such things and wrecking their relationship and you know the kid is under 7…we do so many thoughtless things with kids and don't even realise how this could mould their lives…I completely agree on the point of sexist jokes and young boys…in case of girls they are always told that boys are unreliable, indisciplined and useless and hence the girls are always, always skeptical of boys…so it works both ways and eventually leads to a complete disconnect

  19. August 20, 2009 6:49 pm

    good post
    i agree with you parents are responsible also as well as society.

  20. August 20, 2009 8:13 pm

    i agree with you on the parental responsibilities.

    In fact the formidable age is when one spents around your parents and they mean the world.

    I constantly worry about how my daughter, who is only 5 months old will grow up, and how i might influence her in a negative way.

    Good post.:)

  21. August 20, 2009 8:15 pm

    About marriage and steriotypes, i guess no matter how much we make them leaRN, THEY ARE GOING TO LEARN ONLY BY EXPERIENCE AND WHAT THEY SEE IN THE FAMILY.sO LEAD BY EXAMPLE. I THINK THATS THE ONLY WAY TO MAKE THEM LEARN. 🙂

  22. Gayathri permalink
    August 21, 2009 6:50 am

    well..i dont think parents force children into a stereotype..children form their ideas themselves..may be parents could influence to a small extent..but in a world of greater exposure and wider spheres of influence,children are greatly responsible for their perceptions and perspectives..

  23. indianhomemaker permalink
    August 21, 2009 5:23 pm

    I am not sure if Male Ego is just a hyped stereotype trait, because all men do not have it, only those men who have been brought up to be 'in charge' and have probably seen the men in their family rule over the women might have issues with always wanting to be right (which is impossible)and always wanting to 'win'(can anybody?) and occassionally you hear a man say "But someone has to be the head of the family!"

    Once this man we know argued that a family needs a 'head' because there will always be times where everybody disagrees, then one 'head' must take some decision!

    I find most men (and women) are perfectly comfortable with being companions and friends 🙂

    And no doubt parents play a vital role in forming their children's opinion.

    I once heard a friend say,'Don't try to be a boy, you are a girl, behave like a girl.' I thought that was too general, if she disapproved of something the girl did, she could have just asked her not to do that… why define behaviour as boy-behaviour or girl-behaviour?

  24. AnjuGandhi permalink
    August 21, 2009 5:47 pm

    @ Apana We all make such why did I marry sort comments without realizing the repercussions of them on young minds. Unconsciously we send a message across that marriage is bad and one should avoid it.
    Regarding jokes we just cannot do anything about it except sit and enjoy some of them at our own expense and see the prospective husbands and wives sponge up these comments in their blood.
    SM yes, we are responsible but our responsibility doesn’t end here. We have to do something about it.
    ZB you surely will be a very good father , so don’t worry
    But we parents need to set up good examples in front of our children as till a certain age parents are the role models for young children
    Gayathri parents don’t force the children into a sterotype but when the children see and hear the same things again and again they assimilate it in their body and then it becomes a part of their life.
    That is what I am trying to say that although the parents don’t mean it, may be they pass geneal comments but young children don’t have experience to differentiate between a general statement or a specific statement
    Up to a certain age parents words are the gospel truth for the small children, i.e. why parents have to be very careful otherwise children will follow them and will commit the same mistakes which their parents did.

    August 21, 2009 10:23 AM
    Post a Comment

  25. Queenmothermamaw permalink
    August 24, 2009 4:01 pm

    Anju, will you check my post of August 24 and see if you can identify the type of art on the pictures I have from India, made with tiny slivers of wood? I have been told, but forgot.

  26. Queenmothermamaw permalink
    August 24, 2009 4:05 pm

    I thought I sent a comment.
    Will you check my post of 8/24/09 and tell me what the art style is of the 2 pictures from India. They are made from tiny slivers of wood. I was told the name but forgot it.

  27. ramya permalink
    August 26, 2009 5:45 am

    Award-shaward! You have recieved a G-Rammy award, do check out my new post 🙂

  28. Smitha permalink
    August 27, 2009 9:56 am

    Wow! That was such a wonderful post!

    You are so right in everything you've said. And you are right about how children pick up everything that parents do in front of them. And as parents, it is certainly our responsibility to bring them up as sensibly as one can. Warning them of the dangers and yet, letting them understand that while there are problems, there are always solutions too.

    Wrong things need to be condemned and thr right applauded. All we can really do is try and teach our children to differentiate between right and wrong and justice and injustice. And give them the courage to stand up against wrong.

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