Question: Acharya ji, what happens when parents are in conflict? What happens to the child? How can two people, the husband and the wife, love the child very much, but between them there is a lot of conflict?
What is the impact on the child? And how can the parent help the child to be a stable adult?
Acharya Prashant: It’s a double calamity. You see, first of all, there is this basic thing regarding company. Let’s say there is only one child. So, there are three people – the man, the woman, and the child.
The child has the company of the man and the woman. The man and the woman, constitute, let’s say fifty to eighty percent of the child’s company. Except for the neighboring playground, and the school he goes to, who is the one who provides him company? These two, the man and the woman.
So, it is these two, that he principally, got for company. And when you are in the company of people, who are always fighting, what effect will it have on your mind?
Forget that those people are your parents. Any two people. If you are in a railway coach, and that too, in an enclosed cabin, with two fellow passengers, and it’s just a journey let’s say ten hours long, and those two people are constantly squabbling, what would it do to you?
Listener: Irritating, Frustrating.
Acharya ji: If you are very patient, you will try to sleep. If you are little less patient, you will try to calm them down. If you know even lesser patience, you will pull the chain. And if you are totally fed up, you may as well not decide to wait the next station.
If even ten hours are intolerable, with two quarreling people, how does it feel to live with two quarreling fools, for an entire lifetime? Forget that they are your parents, any two persons. I said that even strangers, fellow travelers in a train. It’s a very-very bad thing to happen, to anybody. And worst, if it happens to the impressionable mind of the child.
When you are fighting, you become very-very self-centered. Extremely selfish. When you are fighting, then ego is aroused to unimaginable levels. You forget all about anybody else. In the moment of aggressive excitement, you are totally yourself, you are totally the little self, you are totally the petty ego. And then the others’s welfare, the other’s concern, cease to matter.
When the woman is fighting the man, and vice-versa, then it becomes immaterial to both of them, what is happening to the child. The woman has to win, the man has to win. And in the process of winning that petty battle, what is happening to the kid, becomes insignificant.
Listener: What is the solution?
Acharya ji: We have to see what is happening. Next thing, is the issue of identification. First thing was of company. Next is of, identification. Not only is the kid in bad company, he is deeply identified with these two quarreling people.
One is his or her mother. The other is his or her father. And what does identification mean? I am – that. This is what identification says, right? That am I. In the heated moment of the quarrel, what is the mother? The mother is pure aggression. What is the father? The father is pure hatred. And the kid is saying, “That am I,” because the kid is identified with the father and the mother.
So what does the kid become? Aggression and hatred. And the mother and the father will not even realise it. They will say, “We were fighting. We didn’t do anything to the kid as such.” You did do, and you did a lot. You destroyed the kid.
Listener: So, is it better to separate?
Acharya ji: And take the kid along.
Listener: The kid will live with at least one of them.
Acharya ji: Would one of them live and survive loneliness? No. That one of them, will surely, pull into his life, somebody else. It may not necessarily be somebody from the opposite sex. But that fellow is surely not going to live a vacuous, and vacant life. He would find something, to get involved in, because the fundamental, petty ego, remains the same, even after separation.
Separation does not transform the ego. Divorce is not enlightenment. Or is it? So you are still the same. Kid is still with one of these two fools. In fact, it might make it worse for the kid, because now there is nobody else to fight with. So the kid gets all the aggressive attention. You know, you can’t beat up he wife now. And the hand is itching. So, it’s the kid.
Divorce, and separation, are obviously not the solution.
Solution lies in basic, inner transformation.
And that inner transformation will become easier, if the parents see that they have some love for the kid.
You know, sometimes it is easier to do for others, than for yourself. It is easier to say, “I will accept defeat, not because I feel like getting defeated, but for the sake of the kid.”
“For the sake of the child, I am prepared to accept the defeat.”
The important thing is to realise that it is not for no reason, that most of the world’s population, is already distorted, by the time it reaches adolescence.
This organisation has worked a lot, with teenagers and young people. And let me tell you, by the time a boy or a girl reaches seventeen, there is ninety-five percent chance that he or she is already a very difficult case, almost beyond redemption. Such is the distortion of psyche, that happens due to a bad childhood.
In fact, if there is one unpardonable crime, it is bad parenting.
You are not even killing someone. You are disfiguring someone, and sentencing him, to live an entire life. How does it sound? It is like chopping off somebody’s limbs, and ensuring that he lives. And lives an entire life, without limbs.
In fact, it is probably possible to live an entire life without these physical limbs. But it is far worse, living an entire life, with a distorted mind. And the parents, and to some extent, the society and the education, they very badly distort the minds of young people.
And it is also something very curious, very regrettable, that often it happens, that the more ignorant a person is, the more desirous he is, of having kids. It is not always the case, but it is found very frequently.
In fact, if a proper scientific survey is done, may be a statistical correlation can be established. The ignorance quotient, will be directly proportional to the number of kids one has.
Excerpts from a ‘Shabd-Yoga’ session. Edited for clarity.
Watch the session: Conflict among parents, and effect on child || Acharya Prashant (2019)
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