November 29, 2013

Is Indian parenting failing to help children cope with puberty and adolescence?

Re-quoting from my earlier post (link):

// I really want to know: What would you do if you find your adolescent daughter in a compromising position with a servant? Do you see killing or physically abusing her out of rage as an option? Do you see this as your daughter's fault because she shamed your family or do you see this as child sexual abuse perpetrated by your servant? Can any sexual interaction between a child and an adult be seen as anything but child sexual abuse? Or do you consider other factors like how she dressed, whether she agreed to or not, like this judge who blamed a 10 year old for her own rape (link)? Do we as a society at some level see children as property in which parents have invested to uphold the family 'honor'? Isn't our parenting system lacking in helping children cope with puberty and adolescence? Here's what I think you ought to do: 

1. Fire the servant and register a complaint against him for child sexual abuse.2. Talk to your daughter openly without intimidating her and understand what she is going through. Help her deal with her puberty phase. Counsel her about the emotional and biological consequences of having sex before reaching certain maturity. 

3. Let her know that she can always trust you to support her and that she is most welcome any time to complain about any uncomfortable behavior she is facing from any person, however powerful she thinks that person might be. If she doesn't trust you to complain to you about abuse, how can you ever protect her? //

Here are some more questions for Indian parents to dwell upon:

  1. Is your child in teens/pre-teens comfortable enough to discuss with you questions and confusions about sex, puberty and/or menstruation and other biological changes they are going through? Have you built that level of comfort or openness with your children?
  2. Does your child trust you enough to report/complain to you about any uncomfortable he/she has encountered from anyone (including your family members and acquaintance)? Have you informed your child about any signs of abuse he/she can look out for?
  3. Will you be an unflinching support system for your children to help them cope with their adolescence/puberty? Will you pro-actively educate them about the biological changes they'll go through during this phase so that they are not confused?
  4. How are we going to ever deal with child sexual abuse if we never utter the 'sex' word in front of our children?
Here are some helpful links for parents to go through. The entire posts are worth-reading. Please do go through them:

// One day my kids came from the park and wanted to know if what their friend A, then 11, had told all the kids in the park was true. What A had told them would have put a B Grade movie director to shame. My first thought was to call her mother and give her a piece of my mind. I had told my kids how the baby first looks like a bean, then a lizard… and I had shown them pictures of a fetus growing in the womb, even talked about the Sperm and the Egg, and but I had totally avoided the question, asked once and then forgotten, about how does the sperm reach the egg.
Well, now someone else told them, and this was definitely not how I would have chosen for them to learn!I had talked to them about child abuse. They knew they could say NO to anybody picking them up, touching them or talking to them in any way that made them uncomfortable....// Read more: link


// What is child sexual abuse? 
Child sexual abuse is defined as “utilizing a child for sexual gratification by an adult or older child in a position of power, or permitting another person to do so.”
Non-touching sexual offenses:
- Indecent exposure/exhibitionism
- Exposing children to pornographic material
- Deliberately exposing a child to the act of sexual intercourse
- Masturbation in front of a child
Touching sexual offenses include:...// Read more: link


// In last one week I have been bombarded with question at least 5 times by four different people and then I read this on a message board. "Hi, I have a very loving and caring boy friend. We were in relationship for the past 4 years. I’m from south and he is a northie. Our marriage is fixed to happen after 2 years. As he is in north,i havent met him for the past 1yr 9 months. He is coming to meet me and i’m so excited. Though we have stayed lot of times together, i never allowed for sex. But this time, he is so adament bout sex and he is compelling me. I dun want to have sex before marriage. I said NO, and frm tht time he is upset and he said he ll cancel his tickets. Just to console him, i said yes now. But i really dont want to. How i can tel him NO so that we wont have any fights... " // Read DesiGirl's response to this query here: link
Related posts:

1) Reactions to verdict on the Talwars - Some people think parents can't help but kill their child upon finding her in a compromising position with a servant:

2) Please do find out what UNICEF has to say about the gender bias in Indian parenting and child marriages:

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