Children, source of family happiness
by Amal HEWAVISSENTI
Today's family institution is beset with the problem as to what should be given the top priority; children and their needs or marital unity and happiness?
Many people labour under the mistaken belief that giving priority to children's needs amounts to almost forgetting the duties of married life. However, a sound marriage relationship will only illuminate the child's world and build-up an unfailing personality and self-confidence in the child. Therefore, the parental success is sure to guarantee the first practical step towards better upbringing and welfare of the children. But where are the modern families heading for?
Though we love our children and regard them as our treasure it is too strange to hear that their problems spoil, to some extent the happiness and unity which sustains married life. Why do some couples grumble that the happiness of married life begins to leave them from the moment the first baby is born to their nest?
However, it is obvious that with the unbearable volumes of responsibilities towards their children devolving upon them many a married couple finds their relationship fall apart gradually. This happens simply because a husband or wife naturally channels his or her emotions, love and concern towards the child apart from his or her concerns for the partner. It may increase the feelings of jealousy and a sense of non-recognition.
Relationships under change?
Prasanna (43) who is married for 6 years, says "I have planned to see a film and have our dinner out in a hotel. But the problem remains with our baby to be left to the care of a relative. To speak my heart out, I haven't got any chance to go out with my wife and enjoy ever since our first baby was born about three years ago. However, my wife strongly protests that our child should not be left to the care of an outsider though she is a relative of ours. I really find something unpleasant in her attitudes towards me. I don't approve of her behaviour towards me. Now she is more toward our baby than to me. I feel that the very basis of our marriage is cracking". This acknowledgement of personal experience clearly reflects the impact the children's problems on the success of family life. This is purely psychological. It is proved that comparatively inexperienced parents often get trapped in this difficult situation of marital life, just after having children.
Freedom for children - Problems for parents
Some parents infuse their children with high expectations of life but are backward in fulfilling needs that may sound simple but urgent. At the same time there are parents who have a good understanding of the needs of their children and practically fulfill them without leaving room for the confidence to collapse. Experience in Family life has shown that a child's needs, and behavioural patterns have become instrumental in undermining their parents mutual relationship. Once a couple was highly worried about their 11 year old bright daughter who suddenly showed a marked setback in her studies. Her mother wanted to bring her back to normalcy after remedying her strange ways and giving her a sound counselling to enable her to build up self-reliance. On the contrary, her father wanted to take tough action against her behaviour.
The end result was that the husband frowned at his wife's attempts to guard their daughter against the increasing harassment by him.
Such an atmosphere at home inevitably aggravates a child's problems and damages the mild relationship between husband and wife.
In another case, Shaman, an eleven year old boy had the habit of buying fragile but attractive toys from the pocket money his father gave him in the morning. Whatever he bought he undid it to checkout its inner mechanism!
When the father got to know this, he took Shaman to task and said he would stop giving pocket money to him.
Suddenly the parents were faced the bitter truth that they were living a life more of differences than happiness and mutual understanding. The father's argument was that his son would not learn the value of hard-earned money if he were to be given it for the mere asking. Such problems at these that involve economic management of a family may give rise to family splits which affects the future of children.
Can it disrupt married life
Unpleasant situations arising from the activities and behavioral patterns of children have an ill effect on both children and their parents. A mother burdened with the task of keeping family harmony once complained that her husband was continually troubling her due to her attitude towards the 10 year old daughter. She said whenever she found fault with the daughter's wrong behaviour, her husband became aggressive towards her. Ultimately she had to take recourse to a third party intervention to solve the crisis because it posed a threat to the family unity. But intelligent and foresighted parents take special care not to disturb their family life because of minor discord over their children.
Unfortunately some married people tent to unleash their negative personal moods on their parents and try to escape from the relatives. On the other hand, a husband's behaviour and attitude towards his wife's job might have multiple implications. For example an employed wife might be accused by her husband, of being negligent of their children;
The motive behind this allegation is pretty clear because the husband doesn't like her doing to job. A husband's blaming his wife for returning home late in the evening is shows his strong dislike for her job.
No more problematic
Discerning parents must understand that unwholesome situations arising in their families are natural, to be expected by almost every family. Experts are of opinion that it is obligating for husband and wife to reach mutual agreement in conflict situations created by activities of children. Friendly discussions narrow down family splits.
If a small child alleges that his father is wasteful and if the mother mindlessly approves of it, conflicts are certain to keep the whole family dishevelled. So, a child or his problems should not, in anyway, be used as a cat's paw by the parents to capture "power" in the family.
A husband or a wife should not adapt themselves to suit the unnecessary demands or behaviour of their children. Instead, they should attach some significance and recognition to their grown up children's views on how to keep up the economic management, of the family. Discussions among the members of the family on issues pertaining to their progress is perhaps the most convincing solution for family crises.
Parents must not have serious, arguments or verbal exchanges before their children over problematic situations arising from children themselves.
Children feel guilty of being the cause for any family tragedy, they are likely to sink into mental depression and develop long lasting defects of personality. It is difficult to draw a district line between the father's or mother's responsibilities to maintaining the family. Both have equal responsibilities in the family institution to keep up the marriage relationships and fulfil their duties towards the children.
Finally it is most important to remember if the parents have family discords or conflicts and if they are not concerned about solving them their children would invariably fall victim to tragedies.