Parenting is complex. It sometimes seems like a selfless sacrifice and sometimes a give-and-take bond. But whatever it is, parenting joins two people like branches of a tree with the same root. Both grow together or even shed.
“We try our best to provide you with the parenting that we didn’t get,” my parents often say. They often tell me stories about how their parents never emotionally supported or were available to them. For my father, there was no one to encourage him to continue his study rather than jump into the family business. There was no one to fulfil his silly needs as a kid and his necessary emotional needs as an adult. While, for my mother, her parents never taught her to be independent but to be a wife. She was educated and brought up as a modern woman only to fit into the frame of a good bride.
I am sure I am not alone in this. Many of our parents have received traumatic parenting. If not traumatic, then at least incomplete parenting. And our parents are kind enough to fill the gap in our lives by providing us with the support they didn’t get. Our parents try their best to provide us with everything- a toy car to tissues for tears.
But how many of us thought about the gap that still glares in our parents’ lives? It is not that by providing us with everything their childhood improved. It remained stained with a lack of support and love. So what can we do to fill that gap?
Parenting might be sacrificial but at one point it becomes a give-and-take relationship. No matter how much our parents invest in us, there comes a time when we have to pay back through our love, support and even money. And it is this giveaway that I am going to focus on.
Certainly, we cannot time travel and sort things in our parents’ childhood. Or even if we could travel back in time, it wouldn’t have been easy to change the mindset of people in the older times. Here we are talking about a double generation gap and hence double the backwardness of thoughts. So changing our parents’ childhood is certainly not a practical idea.
Parents Need Emotional Support, Lacked In Childhood
But, it is not necessary to go back in time to fill the gap if we can add more in the present. If we provide equal care, love and support to our parents today, the gap will automatically be filled. If we dive deep into our parents’ lives and see the child yearning for support, we can understand where our parents come from and how we can fill in for the emptiness.
Not just kids but parents too need support and love. We cannot be selfish enough to let our parents give us things that they didn’t receive without even caring about how they felt when they were deprived.
That is why I said, parenting is branches of are with the same root. Both parents and kids live on the food and water that the root makes. And that root in our case is mutual love and support.
I am sure when you become a parent, you will be different. You too will try to give things to your kids that you yearned for. But wouldn’t you feel good if your kids care for your yearnings? Wouldn’t you feel like a hug when they hold your hands and say 'I am with you?'
Our parents don’t really ask anything from us. And genuinely they don’t feel the need. But it is our duty as a part of a relationship to provide them with equal love and support. It is our duty to give them what they never had.
Views expressed are the author's own.