As much as we find change liberating in terms of its novelty, there is no denying that we all need a constant factor in our lives that will never change, which acts as a secure foundation from which we can explore newness.
The very first objects that we come to know as a secure base are our parents. It was while sitting on Mum’s lap as a two-year-old you first found the nerve to pull the hair of the nice unsuspecting lady sitting next to you on the bus. Many kids always manage to catch a fleeting glimpse of their dad’s face before turning a corner and going into their classrooms at school.
We have always needed the assurance that there is a capable adult who’s got our back so that we are safe to explore new environments and accumulate rich experiences in our lives.
This quintessential bond between children and their parents suddenly morphs into a battle as the child comes to sprout the 10th tooth. Suddenly the same adults whom we adored and admired become a source of embarrassment.
The father whose strength you showed off about to your primary school friends is now ‘that man’ who refuses to understand why you need a mobile phone as a reward for completing your Class 9 examinations without incident.
We get tired of sentences that begin with “When I was your age...” and they get burnt out from hearing “I hate you!” and “Why wasn’t I born in the neighbour’s house?!”
It is not easy to which among these sides is right. We all have our valid reasons for feeling the way we do and saying the things we say.
Do you sense a ‘but’ coming? You won’t be disappointed. But don’t we all deserve a time-out from these accusations and challenges that fly to and fro and instead just smother our Mums with a hug and put a temporary stop to the arguments in favour of an ice cream break?
It is not as hard as it sounds. In fact, you will be very surprised at how tension diffuses like vapour and how great it feels to give your overworked parents and yourself a break and just chill out talking about inconsequential things. Many parents may feel left out of their children’s lives as they grow up. Talking to them about your friends, funny incidents at school, movies, books and other stuff that you would usually discuss with your friends can get them to look at you as a companion or a friend rather than just a child who should be spoken down to.
Having a heart-to-heart talk in which you extract a promise from your parents that they will not over-react with anger or annoyance and that they will let you speak your part without interruption can help understand each other’s perspective and rediscover the simple joys of each other’s company.
It takes anywhere between just a little effort and enormous grunting effort for different people to listen to their parents’ side of the story. Once both sides have had their say, it is a matter of mutually respectful negotiations and eventual resolution of disagreement.
It is very important to have a light side to your relationship with your parents. Among school and work pressures, chores, homework, friends, partying, achieving and breathing we tend to make those relationships that give us the greatest joy and security a really painful ordeal.
So this new year, take your parents out for a movie, spring a spontaneous game of caroms or ball on them. Break the monotony of surly looks and sulky expressions and have a wonderful time with the beautiful lady and gentleman whom you grew up thinking were the best parents in the world.