Recently I came across a video on Twitter. It left me speechless. In this video, a middle-aged woman was thrashing two people with her slipper. A couple of things in this video made me cringe.
- It wasn’t a scene unfolding in a busy street. Rather, it was occurring on the terrace of her home.
- Her behaviour was not an act of self-defense. Rather, she was demonstrating obnoxious control and resorting to physical abuse.
- The woman was not a victim of snatching and was not fighting strangers. In fact, she was the perpetrator of this gruesome act.
Let me tell you what was happening in this particular incident.
A teen girl and a boy were being beaten by the girl’s mother. Their fault–they were celebrating Valentine’s Day. The mother stormed to the terrace. While the boy fled despite being grabbed by the woman, the poor girl was left alone to face her mother’s fury.
The people who recorded this video must have been watching the events from the opposite terrace. The recording was accompanied by their raucous laughter and snide remarks about how the girl “deserved” it. The Twitter thread was filled with hate comments targeting the girl, love, and love marriage. And there were quite a few who found this entertaining.
“aunty ji ne beti ke valentine’s day plan par paani fer diya”
“Idk what is wrong with me, I’m sick or what, but this makes me so fucking happyyyy”
I have no comments on these trolls. They are not worth my time. My concern revolves around the mother and daughter.
While I understand the mother’s desire to “protect” her daughter, her approach left me baffled. I showed the video to my daughters too.
We started talking about it. This is a quick summary of our discussion –
- There’s no trust in this relationship. The way the mother stormed onto the terrace shows she came with a suspicious mind.
- All this could have been avoided if the daughter was comfortable sharing her feelings with her mother.
- If the mother had confidence in her child, the girl and boy could have met each other with her knowledge.
- The daughter started shivering and flinching the moment her mother turned toward her. It feels as if the daughter knew she was going to be beaten, too.
- If the mother was worried about society’s perception and loose talk, her immoral behaviour has caused far greater damage than her daughter’s.
- The situation could have taken an ugly turn easily. I dread to even imagine the various ways it could have ended.
- Violence is never the answer. It should never be the answer.
I am certain the mother means well and is concerned about her daughter. I do not doubt that at all. But what I am worried about here is her style of parenting and approach.
What is the message being conveyed here? Will the daughter grow up believing violence is acceptable? Can the mother and daughter ever have complete faith in each other? Will the daughter be submissive if tomorrow her partner treats her the same way? Will she ever have the confidence to share her worst experiences with her mother?
Being a mother of two teenage daughters, I know how challenging this phase of life is. We want to protect them from all evil, and ensure their safety and happiness at all times. I believe our role is to be facilitators, and not dictators.
I want my children to make mistakes and learn from them.
As parents, we have to have faith in ourselves, in our children, and in our parenting. Doubting them or not trusting them weakens this precious relationship.
Talking to our children is essential, but even more important is listening. Listening to what they are saying, what they really want to say, and what they might hesitate in sharing with us.
I don’t like the concept of “perfect parents.” I, for one, don’t ever want to be a perfect parent.