My Virtual Mother

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Times have changed and without a doubt the millennial era has modified everything in our lives; from being an epoch of advancement in science and technology it is an epoch of mass nuclear destruction, the era of spread of education is also the era of disagreement and indifference, it is a season where parents are striving so hard to provide their children with everything that their hands can grab, yet,  it is has  also become the season where  parents fail to be on the same wavelength as their children. 

With the advent of women folk working in almost every sector, the focus on children has shifted and now things like career and equity and equality of genders has taken the primal seat in the areas of attention, it might have softened the edges rather than dismantling   the mountainous ‘Patriarchy’, but to us it has come with a heavier price. Call it ‘massive development, the lacunas it has rendered us are innumerable. And why wouldn’t it?  Has human construction ever been as majestic as the design of Almighty Allah?

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If there were a scale to measure  the magnanimity of relationships in the world, without a doubt  the weight of ‘parent-child’ relationship will out do every  other relationship on this planet. The ascendancy of parents in the lives of these infants is significantly valuable. The newborns are like young moulds, feed them love, they will spread creativity, give them care, they will show genuineness of character and contradictorily give them everything worldly sans emotions they will become emotionless robots, empathy less and absolutely dispassionate. This is the design of nature; man comes from a womb, is fed in the womb and needs the milk out of the flesh of the mother to remain healthy. Change the breasts to plastic bottles, cancer will run supreme, and change the comfort of mother’s lap to the technologically advanced cribs and sofas, children will turn out of to be audaciously brash. Evidently, the infants development is based on secure attachment, the primary caregiver, is that the mother. These are the most crucial years of development in a child’s life and if this stage is interrupted they will suffer emotionally and socially, which has become the present scenario, rise in juvenile crimes, the growth in old age homes, the requirement of stringent laws to make the children accountable for their parents proves the blatant reality of this world.

An interruption to the attachment can happen for many reasons, like, divorce, death of the mother or the long term daily separation of the mother. While the first few reasons are constructions of nature the last reason enumerated is the sad and brutal aspect of mutilation of motherly love that has happened over these years. Primary care-giver has changed to institutional-care-givers called ‘Crèche’, or ‘day-care centres’, whole this one child is difficult for the mother to handle, the efficiency of these institutions in handling 100s of children, understanding their psychology leaves me thinking. In 1986 American Jay Belsky ignited a controversy when he released an authored piece called, “Infant Day-care: A cause for concern”, it warned tentatively that babies who were looked after in day-care were showing signs of increased level of aggression and disobedience. They show weaker social skills and higher communication problems. Clinical psychologists also come up with the similar research stating  that upto the age of three, children need to be primarily taught is sense of security in their attachment. Children admitted to these Crèches end up with residual stress, depression and anxiety. The stress of going to these centres elevates cortisol level, which is a (stress hormone) in their bodies and there is a massive decrease in these levels when the child is back home. The admission of babies of every age group from infants to bigger babies, to wobblers to toddlers, makes this structured arrangement an absolute place of chaos and mess.

 The fear of ideology clash between the child and the caretaker is also a cause of prime concern, the care-takers don’t take enough effort in understanding the  psychology of each child, again deviating the child from the authenticity of his self. No single attention to the child strikes an important question in my mind, do these children get the reassurances and love the way their parents would have given it?

We can’t run away from the fact that in this quest of equipping our toddlers with competent  traits of creativity, boldness, public-speaking we nourish them like robots. It must be shocking to these parents that world still produced the greatest scholars and scientists like Shakespeare, Einstein and Newton without  sending them to crèches. We need to understand that there is a natural place to the development of children. When we hot house children within the glasshouse of crèches and day care centres, we superimpose a learning environment in order to make them learn faster. The truth is that children learn the best from play and interaction with their environment and from interactions with people, and not from structured academic programme.

What used to be ‘panun shur rachan bae khoon saeth’ has changed to ‘panun shur rachnawan bae duniyas aaeth’. . In  the pursuit of fulfilling the materialistic dreams of our children we have silently created a love vacuum in the  hearts of our children. It’s high time that we understand that nothing can replace love. And we give affection and care a primal importance in the lives of our children, after all as humans we seek love more than anything.

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