“You write articles on equal rights for men and women, while in real life you can’t even treat your kids equally. You are such a hypocrite.” My fourteen year old daughter stormed out of the room, leaving me speechless.
History repeats itself and I could see myself (30 years back) in my daughter.
I had spent most of my life, hating my father for not allowing me to go out with my friends while my brother spent most of his nights at his friends’ places. Dad always promised to love us both equally and yes, we had equal rights when it came to pocket money, education, career and everything but permission to hang out with friends.
Today, I did something that I never appreciated when it was done to me. Ria wanted to go trekking and I told her she can go only if her brother goes with her. Ria is furious and I am startled. I have been a daughter so I understand what she must be going through. Now I am a parent so I understand what my father went through.
“I made pasta for dinner” I entered her room.
“Thanks. I am sorry I shouldn’t have used such language”.
“But you were right, we are hypocrites and you shouldn’t be sorry”
“Am I not going to get the lecture on how I should respect adults?”
“I am glad you had courage to say it on my face”
She looked confused but removed some clothes from bed, making space for me to sit.
“It’s our fault, we always tell you that we love you the same way we love your brother, when we don’t. We love you differently, not more or less, just different”
“I am not getting anything”
“Ria, parents always love all their kids but differently. Sons are dreams to be lived while daughters are gifts to be taken care of. You feel we don’t give you enough freedom, when we are actually protecting you from the world.”
“Sons, dreams, daughters, gifts” She said mockingly.
“I came in just to tell you that, I don’t want to be a hypocrite so I will never say that I love Ayush and you the same way. “
“Yes, you told and I heard” Ria replied in typical teenage tone.
“Also, that you are the most precious gift yet you are a human being and I want to get over my obsession of protecting you. I want you to learn from your own experiences, therefore pack your bag for trekking, if you really want to go.” I started to go out.
“Thank you Mom” she hugged me tight
Teenage kids say hurtful things at times, but they are not always wrong. Plus, I am happy to break the chain.