Blaming mothers for a child’s mistake is prevalent in societies across the globe, including Indian society. Parents are known to be the primary social contacts and in a patriarchal setup, the childrearing responsibilities are ascribed to women while men’s contribution is always restricted to them providing for material needs. It comes rather naturally because of this conditioning to question the mother when a child does something wrong.
“That child is such a menace, his mother hasn’t taught him anything”, “teach her some manners will you; you are the mother,” and countless such phrases are always thrown at mothers asking them to discipline their children when they behave inappropriately or makes a mistake. Never do we think whether it’s just a mother’s duty to teach the children responsible behaviour. Is it really just a mother’s job? Why do we blame the mothers instead of correcting their behaviour? Why do we bring mothers down? Is it not wrong to just blame one parent for a child’s mistake?
The child is supposed to learn social etiquette from the first social institution: family. Then why is the entire burden of child-rearing on women?
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Mothers Blamed For Child’s Mistakes
“Mother is the first teacher of a child,” is an age-old saying universally common. The phrase may be true to an extent, however, a mother is not the only parent responsible for their upbringing. This notion is used to hold mothers as the sole responsible party for their upbringing. And if we ever see the child misbehaving, the blame is pinned on the mother swiftly.
The notion stems from an archaic school of thought which held women responsible when anything and everything went wrong with a family. As we evolved as a society, the demands kept doubling: people wanted women to get educated and yet remain unopinionated and hands-on mothers. You can say that blaming a child’s mistakes on the mother is an easy way out of accepting your own shortcomings or finding a person to blame. This is also a way of completely keeping the father and the other family away from taking responsibility for their child’s behaviour.
It is, in fact, the responsibility of all family members to look after a child and their habits. Children usually mirror the behaviours they witness around them and initially, it is that of their families and not just mothers. During their growth, children later are influenced by happenings in their small social circles, the content they consume, and so on and so forth.
Family plays a major role alongside parents and friends in deciding the child’s behaviour and habits. Mothers cannot always restrict the child. Children’s misbehaviour is rooted in many reasons including their fears.
Society needs to realise that it will do no good to anyone in keeping the father and the family away from their responsibility of raising a child. While children in nuclear families have limited persons to socialise within joint families there are many more people, they pick behaviours from. If the family can proudly accept children’s accomplishments, then why not their mistakes?
Views expressed by the author are their own.