Parents can be blinded by love for their kids
We make various choices for them, until they're ready to make their own. If we have the financial power, we make the purchases for their sake.
American actress Felicity Huffman recently became the first parent to be sentenced in one of the biggest college scam investigations in the US. Last week, she was sentenced to prison for 14 days, asked to do 250 hours of community service, and pay a $30,000 fine.
Huffman admitted to paying $15,000 to have her daughter's exam answers secretly corrected in 2017. "I would like to apologise again to my daughter, my husband, my family, and the educational community for my actions. And I especially want to apologise to the students who work hard every day to get into college, and to their parents who make tremendous sacrifices supporting their children," said the Desperate Housewives actor. In a letter to Judge Indira Talwani, Huffman wrote:
"In my desperation to be a good mother I talked myself into believing that all I was doing was giving my daughter a fair shot." Judge Talwani said she believed Huffman has accepted full responsibility for her actions, but "trying to be a good mother does not excuse" what she did. As one follows the news development closely, it is natural to introspect. Do we cross the line when it comes to looking after our children? Yes. How frequently? More than we'd like. Do we realise so? No.
We know what's best for our children. We often shield them from harm and guide them to make various choices in life. Chocolate ice creams can be bad for dental health. A course in artificial intelligence could be a better choice compared to a traditionally popular choice. Attending to homework alone is more effective than study groups.
We're all trying to be good parents, after all. And in most situations, we do know what's right for them.
So, we make various choices for them, until they're ready to make their own. If we have the financial power, we make the purchases for their sake - from securing college admissions to flaunting latest iPhones. In the middle of all this, is there a possibility that we get blinded by our love for them? On the stage, whilst each kid does the same dance steps, we're quick to announce that our ward shone through the performance. Many of us are guilty of leading heated discussions at parent-teacher's meetings in schools. We make phone calls to an organiser, who is a friend's friend, to get our child selected for the debating society. It's our way of providing them with the leg up and also our belief that we do indeed know what is in their best interests.
However, as our children grow up, they evolve, mature, and become capable of handling things on their own. So, it is up to us to respond appropriately. Do we trust our children to make the right choices for themselves? Not always, and rightly so. Do we have a right to put them in awkward situations? No.
Is it our duty to make them understand the consequences of their actions? Yes.
I received many calls from the students, each week, seeking internship opportunities. Often, one can hear the background sound of a parent advising the hours a child can devote to the same. And then there's the meek voice of the child explaining himself/herself and the interests, duration time, etc.
It's this voice that should be allowed to weigh the merits and demerits of a situation- be it a bribe or a brickbat. By all means, provide for them and stand up for them - just take a moment to hear their voice before you decide for them.
Huffman apologised to her teenage daughter for not trusting her to get into college on her own.
So then, the biases are not just about who has the power to pay, but also of the trust we share. American author Robert A. Heinlein rightly said, "Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy."