Children are what the parents teach them. It is the parent's responsibility to channelize the child in the right direction because children will learn what is taught to them. Here are some tales which tell a different aspect of a child's behaviour.
While it is a practice to equate children with God, there is often an undiscovered bleak side to every child's personality. Children have inborn seeds of the good and the bad. And it is the duty of the parents, first to understand the child's mental make-up and then to channelise him/her in the right direction. Recent studies in modern-day psychiatry have shown that children should not be taken for granted as angels. That does not mean you suspect the child from the early years. But as renowned psychiatrist Dr R K Anand says in his book (The Penguin India Guide To Child Care), ``You shall accept your `angel-cum devil ' as an individual having his own personality and out of this acceptance shall follow the loving tender care. Limits will be set. Firmness will come naturally to you.''
Quite interestingly, it is not just modern science, but our own Indian folk literature which stresses the importance of checking the possibilities of your child's mind. We present you four such examples:
Beware of the child:
Kashmiri Pandit Someshwar compiled the folk tales as part of the collection Katha Sareet Sagar in the 11th century AD. One of these tales throws special light on child psychology. A man had two wives, of which the senior one died a premature death. The responsibility of the dead woman's son was then entrusted to the junior one. The lady did not quite like the step-son and obviously favored her natural sons. The discrimination showed on the motherless child's physique who turned out to be very skinny and emaciated. But the father was very worried about his child's health. However, the child thought of a trick. Once he told the father, ''Dad, I have two fathers." The man was taken aback. He dismissed the boy's statement. However, the child was successful in injecting an element of distrust in the father's mind. The man started doubting his wife's character and illtreated her. The woman was quite puzzled about the change in the husband's behaviour. She then approached the step-son to ask him if he had said anything against herself to his father. The child's answer was very telling. He said, "I have not said anything. So far. But, I can.'' That gave the right message to the woman. She understood the step-son's potential in creating the rift between the couple. Instantly, she changed her attitude towards the steps-son and showered affection on him. She also requested him to do the patch up job. Happy with the results of his strategy, the child obliged to bring the parents together. Once the man deliberately came before the scheduled time, with a view to spy on his wife. The child led him to the inner room saying, ``Now that you have come early, I will show you my second father.'' The eager man followed the little one. The child then showed him the mirror. The man saw his mirror image and was happy to the core. While he patched up with his wife, the wife patched up with the step-son. The story shows how a child can manipulate the situation in his favour.
A child can be ungrateful:
A small girl lost a coin and started crying inconsolably. Taking pity on her, a passerby opened his purse and gave her his coin. Taking his coin in her custody, the child immediately uttered, ``So, you were the one who stole my coin. And now you are returning the same to me.'' This statement left the gentleman shocked for life. This story teaches parents to inculcate the values of gratitude in their children.
The blind child:
A blind child always thought that he was being served less meat as compared to the pieces given to the other members of the family. Therefore, the parents once decided to give him a full roasted chicken. After touching the big-size delicacy, the child said, ``If I am getting this share, what are the others gobbling today.'' This folk tale shows that children should be taught to trust their fellow human beings.
Catch them young:
This folk tale endorses the most important parental duty of curbing criminal tendencies in children. A criminal was being taken to the gallows. He was asked his last wish. The man called for his mother. After giving her a warm hug, he bit her ear. The mother screamed due to pain and asked the reason for such an action. The man explained, ``Fifteen years ago, when I had stolen a ball from my neighbourhood friend, you did not scold me. If you had reprimanded me for that theft, I would not have become a hard core criminal in later years.''