Friday, 11 January 2013

The hand that rocks the cradle

The full saying goes – “the hand the rocks the cradle, is the hand that rules the world”.
Every child shares an unbelievably close bond with their mother. What a mother eats, drinks, thinks or feels all go into shaping a child’s physical health, mannerisms and thought process. Mothers are asked to surround themselves with positive thoughts and friendly jovial people so that they are always in a happy state of mind when they are carrying their child in their womb. This theory is well substantiated by proof and hence we have no reason to disbelieve it. So if a mother can influence her child’s mental state while he is still within her, there is no reason why she cannot be a positive influence on his life throughout.  The hand that rocks his cradle can indeed be a great influence in ensuring the child grows up to be a law abiding, conscientious citizen.
Of course, there is no way that a person’s conduct depends solely on his mother, parents, upbringing and environment. Human beings are free thinkers and are exposed to numerous stimuli in their daily lives – which cannot be controlled by a parent or anyone else. But yes, largely, a mother’s influence on a child in his formative years can play a huge role in shaping the way he thinks.
Right now, society is at its lowest point. It has become increasingly unsafe for women to leave their houses late in the day, or even when there is bright sunshine. So mothers -  this is specifically targeted at you. Make sure, that right from the time your son is born, you teach him how to respect himself and others, especially women. We speak of respecting women primarily, given the state of women in society today.
Do not teach them that they are superior to their sisters; do not give them the idea that they are better because they are boys. Make sure your son learns how to share and does not grow up with the misguided notion that he is allowed to take what he wants because he is a man. Talk to your son when he makes remarks slighting women and their capabilities or their intelligence. Teach him that considering women to be inferior is a mark of weakness. When he is a young child in school, curb any intentions to bully others.
When he grows older discourage him to treat women as use and throw toys. Don’t accept his intentions to have many girlfriends. Teach him to commit and to take responsibilities. Women are not there for dates and physical pleasures alone.
Show your distaste for item numbers – when a child is growing up, if he sees his parents showing their disgust at underdressed women dancing to a tune, he will learn not to appreciate it either – even if it is in jest. Yes, boys will be boys, but the notion that this is not quite right will help him draw the boundaries when he has to.
Talk to him about women and sexual pleasure. Not of course, delving into the gory details, but ensuring that he views them both as parts of his life that are natural. Not to consider them as objects to wield power over or use as a tool of dominance. Teach him about moderation, so that he learns to not over indulge in excessive pleasures of alcohol, drugs or sex.
When he learns about sex and gender in his school, or when he is curious about Khajuraho, don’t behave as though these topics are taboo – speak to him and clear his doubts. Left un-channelled, this curiosity might have grave repercussions. Above all, do not laugh in your discomfiture, your son will imbibe the outlook that these are topics to be laughed about and hidden away.
Ingrain in him that his actions are his alone. That if he badmouths, abuses, hurts, assaults others he cannot explain it away by saying he was under the influence of alcohol or that people were asking for it. That the girl was “asking for it”. Tell him that if he is capable of such heinous crimes then he will have to suffer the consequences and no amount of money will be offered to bail him out.
If he participates in gender stereotyping, discourage it – if he makes fun of transgender, make sure you show your displeasure so that he understands it is wrong. Just because people are different that does not mean they do not have equal right to society and a decent life.
Above all, teach your son the values of a good human being. Tell him that the world and its people are there, not for him to exploit, but for him to learn from. Teach him that his mother too, is a woman and that if he respects her then there is no reason why he would not respect other women.
Guest post from

Glad2bawoman is an online media company with a growing community of over 75,000 members. For women and about women, the articles on the site encompass a variety of topics including Health, Empowerment, Leisure, Fashion and Relationships.


  1. I have a 20 months old son and I completely agree with what you've written. The trend of objectifying women just seems to be rising by the day. I've seen parents not even blinking when there's an item song on the TV, let alone changing the channel. Mothers definitely play an important role in shaping the character of her child but then so does every member of the family. If the child sees his father, grandparents treating his mother well; his parents treating his sister and him equally he too will learn to treat women as equals.

  2. dats a fabulous article :) loved all ur insights glad2bwoman :)