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Should we handle our children with care?


A 'lota' for the uninitiated!

A ‘lota’ for the uninitiated!

 

I was having my regular weekly chat with Mrs. K. She informed me that she had just returned from the doctor.

“Doctor? Is everything ok?” Just the name of a doctor fills one with an unnamed dread. As my grand – mother-in-law used to say, “God save us from the white coats and the black coats.”

Anyways coming back to Mrs. K.

“Oh it was Abhi’s scheduled visit to the eye doctor”

Abhi was born with what is euphemistically called the “weak-eye”, much aggravated with long binges of TV watching. As a result he was saddled with spectacles at the tender age of four.

Sometime back the doctor had suggested applying an eye-patch over his weaker eye so as to lessen the strain. So Abhi used to go about with a pirate-like patch on his eye.

“Ok what did the doctor say? Are the patches to continue?”

“That’s it. I very proudly told the doctor that I put on the patch religiously, even to school. But instead of praising me, he gave me a lecture.”

I was mystified, “A lecture? On what?”

Apparently the doctor chastised Mrs. K for making little Abhi suffer a lot of ridicule from his peers because of the piratical eye patch. Kids would poke fun at the poor boy and this was putting him off the offending patch. According to the ophthalmologist, it would be better to apply it once he returned from school.

Hmmm. Now this was funny. If you ever were a child in company of other children, you would know that there would always be some teasing kids who would make fun of anything. Unless you are invisible, you would be tortured about something or the other.

It also brought to mind a half forgotten memory of my childhood days.  I was about six or seven years old and quiet podgy for my age. My teacher, Violet Ma’am, was very fond of me. “You remind me of the cartoon character Lotta”, she said one day in class. Thereafter she would often call me Lotta. Now this was about forty years back and there was no TV to speak of (Chitrahar and the Sunday movie were the highlights). I lived in a small town and access to comic books was limited to libraries and people with relatives in the metros.  So while the milieu was aware of Mickey and Donald, Lotta was an unknown factor. Not being familiar, the kids misconstrued the name for Lota, the pot like utensil now relegated to pujas. it also fitted my overweight body to a T or shall we say to a L.

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Sia Mitra is a freelance writer and blogger with more than a decade of experience. She has written for most major publications like Femina, Prevention, Complete Well-being, Child, Mother & Baby, Parent & Child, Womens Era, etc.


5 thoughts on “Should we handle our children with care?

  1. Aparajita Bose

    I loved this post. It made me smile, grin, laugh and look back at my childhood days. Yes, of course, I too was subjected to different kinds of teasing at times and even though I was an introvert, all that did not impact my self-esteem. Sometimes, I did get a little bewildered with some epithets showered on me, but I never carried them back home!

    Of course, alert parents/guardians/caregivers need to keep the communication channel open with the child to see if some damage is happening deep inside. If so, the child can be given a few tips to cope with it and handle it cleverly to not allow it from happening to herself again and again.

    Again, on the other hand, when there is much ado about some harmless teasing that a child is not resenting or is not uncomfortable with, she unwittingly begins thinking that something is definitely wrong with herself, which could affect her self-esteem. Regular talks with parents, during which the child is listened to mostly, without any judgement/rebuking, can do wonders to the self-esteem of the child.

    Reply
  2. Shobhika Jaju

    Although the article has been summed up very well and we all have stories about getting over the childhood teasing and bullying, one must not forget the scathing mark that such incidents may leave on young minds and shape their personality as adults. It is good to know that the writer came out of it as a stronger person than before. Most children may not be able to cope up woth similar incidents. The extent to which parents or others may or may not interfere with such incidents in their child’s life, is a matter of debate.

    It is always good to read and learn from other’s experiences but we should refrain from generalising a personal experience as one that should be applicable to all.

    Reply
    1. sia

      The inference is not that one person is able to cope and the other not. As parents it would serve the children better if they are taught to ignore such barbs. The world is full of nay sayers and each person has to learn to ignore them and not allow them to affect.

      Reply

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