Wednesday, October 26, 2011



My late father-in-law was a wonderful man, a cherished mentor to me, and I pray that may his soul rest in peace.

He once told me, I think just after my wedding, a time tested age-old parenting theory about bringing up children.


From birth till a child is five, the mother should pay maximum attention to nurturing the child, in fact, the baby should be under the full care of its mother, and the father should be generally around as a source of amusement and joy, playing with the baby, entertaining him or her, fostering, as a father figure in a supporting role, since as designed by mother nature, the baby biologically needs its mother’s physical affection [nurturing, breastfeeding, ablutions] and emotional love the most.


Between five to twelve years of age the father should play a vital enriching role in the child’s life, supporting, buttressing, reinforcing and inspiring a sense of security and confidence, though the mother still plays the major role as the more loving and principal parent.


It is only after the child turns twelve that the father begins to play an increasing major role in the child’s development. Now the father must take charge as the principal parent while the mother recedes into the background [playing the role of what the father did in Stage 1] and, of course, performing the cardinal role as principal parent looking after the younger children who are in Stages 1 and 2.

Dear Reader, do you agree with the parenting paradigm?

Maybe I am an old fogey, with outdated views, but recently, I was shocked to learn that a young mother working abroad had sent her three month old first born baby to India with the baby’s grandmother [the baby’s mother’s mother who had gone there to assist in the delivery] to be brought up here by the old lady.

Is it morally correct from the baby’s point of view?

Is it in consonance with the biological laws of nature, to willfully deprive a new-born baby of natural physical and emotional maternal love for the sake of externals like career ambition? 

Is it not cruel on the hapless child?

Is it fair for the mother to deprive herself of the joys of motherhood?

I find it unimaginable that a mother, and even the father, prefers to willingly remain away from her small baby.

Can a grandmother, or anyone else, fulfill the natural role of the mother better than the birthmother?

How will this lack and willful deprivation of natural physical maternal love, and absence of a father figure, affect the development of the child in later years?

Will it affect their interrelationships as parent and child?

And the interrelationships of the child with others, in later years, like the child’s future interelationships with friends and spouse?

We are born wanting a loving, nurturing attachment to our parents [particularly the mother].

Within the first year or two of life we all develop an image of our "love object" and our relationship with that person.

These images comprise feelings, fears, needs and wants – the mental-emotional yearnings of an infant baby for his or her parents [especially the mother].

Suppose the birthmother fails to meet the baby’s natural needs and yearnings, can someone else, like a grandmother, take her place in lieu as the “love object”?

And, if so, what are the repercussions of this on the development of the child?

A grandmother playing a mother’s role – won’t this cause an ambiguity in the child’s mind?

Well, I don’t know the answers to all these questions. Do you?

I'll end on a lighter note. Now-a-days, in contrast to the parenting theory enunciated above, modern couples talk of shared parenting

Well here is a Mulla Nasrudin Story on the subject:

Late one night, Nasrudin’s baby started crying. 

Nasrudin’s wife turned to him and said, “Husband, go take care of the baby. After all, he is not only mine — he is also half yours.”

Nasrudin sleepily remarked, “You can go stop your half from crying if you want, but I choose to let my half continue to cry.”

Wishing all Parents and would-be Parents a very Happy Diwali.

Copyright © Vikram Karve 2011
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work. 
© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

Did you like this article?
I am sure you will like the stories in my recently published book COCKTAIL comprising twenty seven short stories about relationships. To order the book please click the links below:

If you prefer reading ebooks on Kindle or your ebook reader, please order Cocktail E-book by clicking the link below:

About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and he is currently working on his novel. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories and creative non-fiction articles in magazines and journals for many years before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 14 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts. 

Vikram Karve Academic and Creative Writing Journal:
Professional Profile Vikram Karve:
Vikram Karve Facebook Page:
Vikram Karve Creative Writing Blog:

© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

No comments: