Corona reflections! Children need Indian family systems and the quintessential village
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The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed social isolation and social disconnection within Western societies and in India it shows the vulnerability of the urban family – Children being orphaned and individuals struggling in the absence of support social, hospitals and homes without children. Foster care, parental care, community capacity building, these institutionalized systems of caring for the broken family and their children are struggling in the US and UK in normal times.
Often, children who leave these systems are at risk of homelessness. In this crisis, India’s policy and program planners will need to think quickly about children who have to fend for themselves. We must understand that there is no substitute for the great collectivist norms that have facilitated the education of children as a joint responsibility of adults. It has also facilitated the natural systems of care during a personal or social crisis or calamity. Even with state support, given the disconnect between parents and parents and levels of corruption in institutions, how will children survive? Special schools and institutions will be needed to fill this gap for now… but for the future of society and our community, we will have to rethink.
The family is the foundation of the Indian social system. By default, all those who live in a house linked to each other by family kinship – nuclear or mixed have both functional and symbolic value for urban and rural society. The limited responsibility of our seventy-five-year-old state infrastructure and three-thousand-year-old civilization has also contributed to the traditional role and importance of the family. While at the same time, ultramodern spaces also exist in cities marked by social disorganization leading to single-parent and single-parent households, with older family members living alone or in retirement homes. The emerging pattern can also be seen in the sociological transformations of American urban society. The American family has changed dramatically from a two-parent, male, multigenerational unit in the 1950s to 40% single-parent families in the 1980s to a widely varying understanding of what constitutes the family as a unit.
Beyond structure, however, the values of the “Western” Caucasian family, rather of the upper middle class, have rapidly transported over the past thirty years and become the abstract context of family functioning in cosmopolitan settings. . The dominance of “expert ordered” and “market-friendly” parenting models in the United States has taken its toll on ethnic minorities and low-income groups in the United States; resulting in a large part of these family groups being represented in the social protection system, and their children in foster care.
Among the key standards that have gained traction through popular media and sponsored social research are the parenting “training manual” paradigms. These models encourage high social, economic and psychological investment in children that becomes unsustainable over time. At the same time, a Freudian clinical approach to undoing parental attachment means a symbolic cut in the cord when the child reaches the age of eighteen, and the wait for emotional and financial separation is the hallmark of healthy parenthood. . Another layer of this phenomenon is the advancement of theories of conflict, mistrust and disappointment between parent and child as a natural corollary of growth. Ever-increasing divorce and separation rates for all genders, ever-changing definition of family, ever-flexible childcare responsibilities – caregiving itself has become a controversial space in the child rights debate. kind. Children and young adults therefore experience both personal, social and economic instability throughout much of adulthood. There is no concept of a community collective because “adult solidarity” has become an undesirable value.
Models and programs designed in psychology labs to create new values are ultimately just ideas that serve more than the goal of improving society or people or children. Its foundations are an expansion of consumerism in market economies like the United States and state allegiance in communist regimes like China. The market has ensured that, in individualistic mindsets, goods offer as many possibilities for forming an attachment as any interpersonal relationship, which makes it easier to prioritize personal satisfaction over social obligations. On the other hand, in state-dominated societies, keeping the state above all affiliations has made it an ultra-unit that controls and limits family loyalty.
In the Indian context – the shared sanskar or generational values guiding behavior meant that many people provided and nurtured the family. Thus, ensure the survival of loved ones and absorb individual responsibilities and weaknesses. Basically, the feeling of family is that of belonging, it is a personalized experience of being loved and of being needed, which no institution, state or mandated group can reproduce. It gives children a sense of security and identity. As we learn about the impact of Covid on our world; the safety and development of our children who are left without caregivers must be a priority … Also, this is the right time to revisit, examine and expose the performative norms automatically transposed from developed societies to developing societies. The Indian sense of a village that brings up the child needs to be resuscitated. And the “ideal” parenting and “lab” textbooks for children need to be deconstructed and their goals debated.
Dr Shweta Singh is a guest contributor. The opinions expressed are personal.