There are so many stories hidden within the four walls of a home. I sometimes wonder, what if walls could speak? As the skeletons tumble out of closets and those who don a radiant smile on Father’s Day will hide in their pillows and cry their hearts out. It’s true, the worst abuse takes place within families. Many individuals battling depression or have attempted suicide at least once attribute their sorrow to the entire family or a family member who was toxic. More often than not, this family member is a parent.
So, which are the worst secrets that Indian homes are hiding?
In this blog post, I will share a few scenarios from households I saw over the years. I have highlighted some of these cases from the many sociology and psychology books, articles and papers that I studied. We usually speculate why certain individuals react the manner in which they do. A lot has to do with the circumstances within the home of a human being.
Indian culture is hiding these fathers under the garb of civil society. Noone likes to talk about these issues and families secretly sweep these issues under the carpet .
The ‘Always Angry’ Father
A 40+ man who always bears a frown or has a face devoid of any expression. He goes through life’s routines as if they were a duty and burden. When asked what is bothering him, he flies off the handle and replies with an indignant retort. His partner worries about his sudden outbursts and terrified when he enters the home. Usually a homemaker, she ensures that her home is spic and span before he reaches. A typical family scene when he arrives from work is that where the children are studying. A kitchen that has the most amazing smells emanating from it. The door is answered by a neatly dressed wife with a beaming smile and fear in her eyes. Ignoring it all, he plonks himself on the sofa and pours a drink for himself. He stomps around the house, just like an annoyed tiger who is pacing in his cage, waiting for his prey. Though he doesn’t speak a word, the entire home trembles like a lone leaf in the storm.
The ‘Forgetful’ Father
The father is always unavailable. Even if the papa is home, he is busy with his work or social activities. The mother scares the children by threatening to report their misdoings to the father. Whenever the old man needs to introduce the youngster, he forgets which class the kid is in and worst still, sometimes forgets the name of his own offspring. Such a a parent is a great provider. The child will never face an issue with materialistic glory. The child grows up feeling insignificant, unworthy and still accountable to the father. The child watches how his friends’ fathers play an active role in their son’s lives. That’s when the seeds of revolt are sown. As a grown-up, this offspring detests the father but continues to tolerate because of the pressures of Indian society.
The ‘Egoistic’ Father
Given that every father goes through hardships to reach the acme of success, but to use that as an excuse to be mean to their children is not cool. Such fathers are always describing their journey and showing off their money. They bring up their children by making them feel guilty about their privileged life. These fathers yearn for praise and adulation from their kids. Their egoistic manner of speaking and their boasting attitude is a cry for help – they secretly wish that their kids will idolise them because of their life of struggle. Unknowingly, their boastful and egoistic behaviour is becoming a breeding ground for hatred. History is strife with sons who let go of their fathers or took over the empire and left the father penniless. The media and society judge the son based on the action without realising that the father sowed the seeds long ago. It is the egoistic father who nurtures an egoistic, careless child who wouldn’t think twice before getting rid of the parent.
An ‘Over expecting’ Father
A father blinded by his own and other children’s achievements falls in this category. This kind of father calls the child and shower unnecessary praise while setting goals & milestones. The pressure is tremendous. At parties, gatherings or any social occasion, the father announces the child’s future plans. This is his way of reinforcing his own expectations. He never bothers to check whether his dreams and expectations match with the child. Such a father loves to talk about the ‘freedom’ and ‘nurturing’ environment that is being provided to the offspring. The kid may turn submissive towards the parent and dominating in other circles. Sometimes, there may be a rebel at home followed by entering into evil company just to prove a point to the dad.
I could have covered many other types of fathers like the alcoholic, abusive, straying, plotting etc. However, I have restricted this blog post to the behaviour of fathers that are untold secrets of Indian families.
The days of respecting a parent just because they gave birth or paid for education are over. Giving birth results from a biological act and paying for schooling is a choice that the parent has. To hold a child accountable based on these two factors is no longer taken lightly.
To summarise, to gain respect, love and support from one’s kids, the father will have to work very hard. Today’s generation has a myriad father figures to look up to. In order that the biological father gets the place he deserves, egos will need to be shed. The New Normal will require fathers to rethink on their parenting styles.