Md Tamhidul Islam
Perhaps one of the few universal stages of events that almost every person on the planet goes through irrespective of their country of origin, socio-economic status, and subscribed ideologies is issues with one specific authority: Parents.
If an uncontrolled casual survey was carried out, asking individuals if they associated feelings of constraint, forcefulness, imposition, dependence, or exploitation at least ten times in their teen years, resulting from their parents, the results would be unironically unanimous — a 100% positive outcome.
Despite our parents loving us unconditionally, our families wanting only the best for us, and us being extremely emotionally inclined towards our parents, what exactly goes wrong to make it all end up in a never-ending blame game to which no answer is found?
Primarily, all arguments between teens and their parents end with one conclusion: Teens demand more freedom and flexibility in their choices and state that it’s their life, while parents defend their ignorance, talking about how they’re more experienced and always know what’s best for their children.
The problems of such lines of argumentation are threefold:
a) If parents keep making decisions for their children, they’d inexorably end up making their children more dependent as each day passes, considering the teens will never get the chance to test different water temperatures.
b) The irrational emotional attachment void created by parents, paired with the exponential hatred children show towards authority figures, will make it much harder for both parties to come to a compromise, which is the only alternative path to peace.
c) The eternal loophole of unanswered questions will only densen the fog around parenthood. Children will keep asking that, if they were meant to be treated as puppets, why were they brought to earth in the first place without their consent? Parents will keep replying that without their empathy, unconditional cooperation, and sacrifice, the children wouldn’t even survive to ask this particular question.
With a neutral assessment of the situation in mind, let’s first consider the premise of the parents’ situation. They are unable to answer the question of the child’s existence simply because oftentimes they didn’t actively make the decision to bring a child into this world in the first place. That is, in many instances, the parents themselves were coerced into marriage and the social construct of starting a new family, and the only door left open for them was to satisfy their own families by bringing a child into the world. Hence, the blame is honestly not applicable to the parents.
What about the children, then? None of the factors, such as “passive choices” or “arbitrary situations”, justify bringing into the world an independent, living entity, only to pin it to the wall as a time-piece that’s meant to expire after a certain period. The everlasting imposition of expectations, responsibilities, and certain complexities of worldly bureaucracy is something too hurtful to be completely ignored.
This is more or less the surface of all problems stemming from parenthood: Questions of how much freedom is freedom, what consists “taken for granted”, and what’s the necessity for justification behind an arbitrary decision all were, are, and probably will be unanswered echoes.
Regardless of whether there’s a metric to quantify whose misery is “more”, the person who owns the life shall have the trump card. Regardless of whether there’s a path to dig at the root of how the world and its norms turned out to be as they are, the person who owns their life shall decide for themself which norm to subscribe to.
That neither makes the newborn life selfish, nor does it mean that the parents lose the business contract of familial politics and go back empty-handed. In return, what the authority is bound to get in return is a true sense of loyalty, appreciation, respect, love, and most of all — a real “Person”, a dimension hard to spot nowadays.
The writer is a part of the TDA Editorial Team.