Jadoo Ki Jhappy
By Poonam Singh Jamwal
Negative attention is better than no attention to the child. When a two-year-old or a 12-year-old is throwing a tantrum, don’t focus on the behavior. Instead, focus on the ‘why’ of the behaviour. Read between the lines. Stop for a minute. Listen to the unsaid. Reach out.
Sunita’s son was reasonable and a sensitive adolescent boy—an epitome of great behavior and graciousness—until the day he let lose the wrath on her. Her mind struggled to seek reasons of her failure as a parent. After all she was very conscious of the role.
She was a few hours late for the PTA but could still meet the teacher. She was bewildered at his anger and lack of objectivity. As she sat smarting under the onslaught, she could see a child feeling let down and looking for reassurance and acceptance. But, most definitely, he was looking for a jadoo ki jhappy, which she thought he was too big to want. Her mind was too blocked to make such overtures. She withdrew. She stepped out, not in dejection or defeat, but to come back with clearer perspective.
She finally returned with an apology and a hug. He stood stiffly for minutes and she started feeling foolish hugging a tree. And soon his body relaxed and he awkwardly hugged her back. Patting her shoulder he said, “Its okay Mom, don’t ever do it again.”
While sharing this incident Sunita said, “I couldn’t have missed an instant when his entire mind’s doors were gaping open to store away the memory of the moment. I am sure the jhappy made the memory tangible. I just prioritised his well-being over my pride.”
If something is more difficult than being a teenager is to parent one. All of us have gone through the turbulence of teen years. The raging hormones, awkward limbs, spouting hair and peaking pimples can wreck havoc. We, therefore, need to empathise more. Yet, we only remember being obedient good kids who respected elders (did we dare do otherwise?). Or, the fact we never watched so much TV (we had fewer channels to choose from!) or we were never on the phone constantly (we did try sneaking calls though never had the privacy of a cell phone). Jokes apart, teen years are tough as it is, and present times, the pulls and pressures on the young are huge. Right balance of discipline and freedom, insightful and lovesome parenting can help them cope better.
It is essential to hug and show unconditional affection
Did you stop hugging your not so tiny teen? Why did you stop kissing them, hello?
Usual answers are: “Because she brushes me off rudely; He shrugs off my hand; I am awkward around this new gangly version of my son who hovers around, demanding to be fed constantly, chucks clothes, hates baths; She is perpetually grumpy.”
This could be the time they need you most. Be around and let them know you care. When you don’t focus on things that make them awkward and focus on what makes them special, they blossom. Teens have low self-concept and with constant nagging it nosedives. Being tuned into their mood waves is essential. You never know when you get the signal.
Rashmi Verma, a working mother shared, “My son once walked up to me in the middle of the night to ask if he was a good son. My spontaneous reaction was to ask him to shut up and let me sleep. Instead, I smiled groggily and said I was blessed to have him as a son. It felt good to say it but even better when I was bestowed with a prickly kiss (voluntary and spontaneous). I slept better and I am sure he slept peacefully too.” Never be miserly in expressing love, however unearthly the call.
Parenting is to grab the moment and strike the right balance. There is one antidote to all teen issues—A Hug a Day Keeps the Blues Away.
“Lakh dukhon ke ek dava hai-Zaroor ajmao- Jadoo ki Jhappi.”
(The writer is an expert on parenting. You can write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org)