‘United we win’

‘United we win’

Chandrashekhar Ojha

Visiting a friend’s place a few years ago, I witnessed a heated debate between his daughter and wife on the girl’s desire to join one of her friend’s family for a small trip. The mother was not very comfortable about sending the teenager with a family barely known to them, but the daughter was insistent. When the girl couldn’t convince the mother, she went to her dad, whose heart melted instantly and permitted her.

Once she happily left for college, the wife objected to her husband’s decision and they had a long argument about it. She also felt that she was belittled in front of her own daughter, who might not respect her and her views in future. I am not aware of how the young lady’s trip went or how the daughter’s relationship with her parents further unfolded, but the instance made me think about this aspect of parenting.

You all must have witnessed occasions where if the mother doesn’t allow something to the child, the child appeals to the father and he grants it magnanimously. The opposite also happens, where the mother reverses the decision of the father. In our generation, there was a grandparent angle too to this issue, but now it hardly exists as either they live away or even if they live with their children, they hardly interfere with such decision-making.

This is a very common phenomenon and people don’t think much about it. I think parents unknowingly get into a competition to become the more favoured parent of the child. Instead of competing with themselves or any other pair of parents, they unknowingly compete with their partner only. To hear from children that ‘Mummy is better than Papa’ or the other way round, is the reason behind it.

Partners get so immersed in competitive parenting that they don’t leave any opportunity to overrule their partner’s decision, without even considering the merit of the issues. This way they succumb to many illogical demands of the children, spoiling them and setting the wrong precedence. The snubbed partner also feels hurt and jumps on the next opportunity, to get back to their partner by overruling their decision, once again without evaluating the merit of the case. The implication of wrong decisions taken due to competitive parenting is one thing, the parent must consider. If something went wrong with my friend’s daughter due to the trip approved by him, overruling his wife, they would all have to face it.

The biggest problem arising out of such behaviour is the erosion of the collective authority of the parents. Parents consider children innocent, however, children, however young they may be, have an uncanny ability to use the same to their advantage. They are good at sensing the power struggle and use it to their advantage.

This practice will lead to many arguments between the parents, in the presence of the children, as the overruled parent would feel wronged. This will further deteriorate the situation.

I would urge parents to plan their course in a way that in front of children, they are a solid single unit. They should decide in advance the authority and the system of appeal and decision. Even if there is an appeal, which needs to be considered, it should be discussed between both partners, in the absence of the children and a joint decision should be taken. I feel no parent should ever, overrule the decision of their partner, or get into an argument on this issue in the presence of children.

Whatever may be the policy, children should always see parents as a strong united team, without any fissure or rift. This will not only ensure better decision-making in the family and no confusion about the authority, but it also makes the children happier and more confident. A happy child makes a happy family, which in turn ensures a happy nation and a happy world.



In this article, we discussed the innocence of children, which is evidently present in most of them but on some occasions, they exhibit contrasting behaviour by behaving maturely. However, let’s admire and appreciate this painting about terrorism, which had great impact on the children growing up in the last two decades of the 20th century.

In the painting, a young child has a story to tell, greatly inspired by the happenings around the country and grandma’s fairy tales. She shows a school picnic to the hills where the buses are carrying the children for a day full of frolic and fun. But there is a problem. Some terrorists have planted bombs in these buses and the children are at risk. But the Good Fairy, who loves children, comes to their rescue and deactivates the bomb to save her beloved children. How fantastic! Isn’t it?