Passing On trust or Fear?

More often than not, I hear parents saying:

'Don't do that. If you do that, they call you bad boy. You are not a bad boy. You are a good boy. So you shouldn't do that.'

'If you finish your meal, you are a good girl'.

'Don't behave like that, they will call you a bad boy'.

'If you go to bath right now, you can be a good girl, else a bad girl'.

But, Why?

Is it a phrase to get things done by the little ones?

Does the parent think that the child falls into place this way?

Well, I cannot think of any reason!

Shall we ponder on what thoughts are passed on to the child in various statements of ours?

You ARE a good girl no matter what. I trust that you are a person who does things out of no negative intentions. Even if you do not step into the bathroom right when I ask YOU to, you remain a good girl. Even if you do not finish your meal, you are a virtuous person. Even if you do not come to me right when I call you, YOU are an awesome person.

How does it feel when you read the above statements? We pass on to our children, the TRUST, that we trust them, their ability to listen to their heart and their sense of autonomy. This directly leads them to trust their inner voice more than the outside threat or authority.

Whereas in the cases where the threat of name-calling or punishment was used to get things done, we had succeeded in passing on our FEARS to our children.

They begin to understand that they need to succumb to outside power and authority, else, it would lead to shame. They will begin to learn that, it is important for them to listen to the outside authority rather than their inner voice.

And how long can this drama of 'threatening to' continue? Maybe, a 6-year-old would answer the adult that the threat is a hoax and it is not real. Then the child is labelled as talking-back.

Did the adult try to make a gentle conversation with the child when she was younger?

Where first, could the child learn her language from, if not for immediate family members?

Can we revisit how our relationship with our children is?

Can we start to trust them?

Can we pass on our trust to them, rather than the fear?


-Sujaya Chaturvedula