Handling Children

dyslexia.jpgTaare Zameen Par, the recent film on dyslexia, has added to the already existing but bleak knowledge of learning disorders among children. The inflexible and insensitive education system and the child’s attempt to survive in it, has been portrayed extremely well in the film. It forces us to question the cultural mindset that we possess. The protagonist’s parents are good, and have made it possible for their children to get whatever they want. Despite a strong emotional bond and the child’s best interests in mind, they still fail to connect with the child. It is not just about a child suffering from dyslexia, it is about those numerous children who are not well understood by their parents.

Although, parents today are far more open to newer avenues for their kids, yet they cannot somehow move out of the pressures. For example, the taking up of science as a career, is still the most preferred option with parents. This only causes the creation of a wide space and chaotic relations. Be it brains, health, economic conditions, the idea of being “hep”, etc, all come under the dominion of sarcasm. Children are teased if they are fat, short, dark, and even if they aren’t able to score well. If parents turn a deaf ear to the child’s pleas, then stress builds within a child. Every scolding, tantrum only increases the internal tension. It is only at the time of an outburst that parents realize.

Some children show slow progress. Instead of bearing a defeatist attitude and failing the child by remaining oblivious to his step by step progress, the parents only kill their child. Marks as benchmark of success and intelligence is something, we all need to get out of. The pressures of a boarding school are no less. Threatening a child is not the solution. It might just make the kid diffident. The home is the first school, and a place where the child should feel free, fearless, and loved.

It is only later that the school comes into play. Just like parents, teachers also have a major role to play. They have the responsibility of giving a patient hearing to the child. Those who do not voice themselves in class need to be paid more attention. Our inflexible education system does not give provide rooms for individual expressions and differences. All are expected to run at a predetermined pace, and the system does not have time for the tail-enders. The fact that India is a “able-ist” society, is mirrored in our attitude towards disability. The movie has very well brought out the relative nature of ability and disability by showcasing a boy who is the topper of the class but is on crutches.

Why should children get a raw deal when they do not conform to their parent’s guidelines? The best interests of the child should be seen from a child’s eyes, rather than from the parents’ pedestals. Embrace children as they are!!

Aditi Raman

[Image courtesy: http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/2059225092/]