Are we Brainwashing our Children
Recently a 15-year-old girl, who happens to be the daughter of an Indian movie star has her images splashed all over the country’s social media platforms. At 13, she was chubby and gawky and two years later, her new slim and svelte avatar has inspired millions to young people to become her fans and followers. And closer to home, I recently met a mother who put her young teenage daughter on a strict diet to knock off the extra pounds before she leaves school next year. I am all about looking and feeling fit, but this sounded so wrong. The girl was not fat, and at best, she could use some outdoor sports or run, not a diet.
Whether it’s looking at celebrity photos and their fabulous lives or comparing ourselves to our friends and neighbours, we are constantly faced with parameters set by us and by society. And these parameters we have passed on to our children. Asking a child to fit into a certain mould to be acceptable in college is giving her a message that she is not good enough right now. It’s actually quite a significant message and it made me think about the way we brainwash our children.
Right from the time they were born, we have been brainwashing them through various outlets that encourage conformity. What do our children really learn through certain games and sports? This generation has more intense video games than ours did. Often the objective is to “finish the bad guy” or “win the race”. Most girls have played with a Barbie doll at some point in their life. The Barbie doll sets the stage for materialistic attitudes and also dictates the role and expectations of what a woman should look.
We all want the best for our children and often live our dreams vicariously through them. How many times do we pass on our limiting beliefs to our children? “Money doesn’t grow on trees”, “Don’t colour outside the line”, “Don’t go for Humanities, take up Science”. In our endeavor to give our children the best, we often forget that they have come with their own unique wiring, which may not be the same as ours. This results in children growing into teenagers and adults who are lost, confused and aimless. They may be superlatively qualified academically, but emotionally they do not know what they want, because they were never asked.
If we all endow our children with a sense of purpose, provide a secure emotional foundation, encourage them to develop their talents and discover their lives, what an inspired generation we’d have ahead of us.