A woman plays several roles in her life. She is a daughter, a sister, a wife, a daughter-in-law, a mother, a friend… the list goes on. Every role brings with it, its own set of challenges and issues that are unique to that particular role. However, there are some roles and some stages of life in the context of those roles, which are a bit more challenging than the rest.
A woman has to be prepared to not only face such challenges but to deal with them to the
best of her ability. It is never easy; it can be very tricky. It may take a lot out of the woman, but eventually, she can and will be able to put those challenges behind her having dealt with them efficiently and effectively. Such challenges represent another one of those tests which a woman has to face in her life and which I believe make her stronger and resilient. And of course like most things this is just a stage of life which once crossed becomes a bittersweet memory, a memory, an experience that enriched life.
What I have observed is that most roles are not too difficult to play as long as they are played in isolation. But where two of them have to be played simultaneously, they could collide and cause confusion. This is especially so when the woman has to be a wife and a mother at the same time and that too the mother to a grown-up son. A son who for the parents is still somewhere a child but who considers himself to be an adult with a personality and a mind of his own. This happens when the son is getting to be at the stage of being his own person and raring to go in life.
More often than not, the conflict arises between the father and son with the mother getting caught in between. She unwittingly brings to bear the brunt.
While both parents may find it tricky to deal with a son who is no longer a child, a father will find it more difficult. The reason I feel is that all of a sudden, the father finds himself in a situation where he is being questioned by another male in the house, something that he is not entirely familiar with. He sees his position in the house getting challenged, and he cannot come to terms with it. What is even more unsettling for him is the fact that the challenge is coming from his own flesh and blood. He can’t entirely deal with it.
As I see it, there is a clash of personalities between one man who is moving past his prime and the other one who is moving towards it.
As the boy becomes a man, he starts challenging and questioning things and is not prepared to accept them at face value. He cannot be forced, cannot be steamrolled into taking things. He wants to be treated like an adult and convinced about things. He refuses to accept them just like that. His ego, self-confidence, self-esteem all come into play.
The father, on his part, is concerned about the son and his future and largely views everything in that context. On top of that, there is also a bit of insecurity, some bit of anger at times, a bit of fear coupled with the need to protect the man/boy lest he makes a mistake which may have far-reaching consequences. The father from his experience may feel that the son is going wrong somewhere, and will want to stop him from doing that. He will want the son to learn from his experience and not repeat the mistakes which he may have made. That is normal and expected of the father.
The issue is not that he has these concerns; the issue is in the way these concerns are expressed. The father may adopt ways which may be resented by the son. The son, despite the grown-up demeanour, is still somewhere a child who may not be able to perceive the intent, his focus being on the manner. Therefore the father has to be very careful while expressing his concerns. He needs to be patient and calm while dealing with his now grown up son. If the son is criticized, ridiculed whenever he makes a mistake, he is either going to clam up and not share anything or at some point, he is going to answer back which may lead to a full-scale argument. That could cause feelings to be hurt, boundaries to be crossed, all of which I feel is highly avoidable.
The father I feel has to take the lead in handling the situation and in a mature manner. After all, he is older and wiser.
He has to realize that the critical thing is to get the message across and therefore, the tone and the manner have to be subtle. They can be firm, but never dictatorial. He has to remember at all times that he is not dealing with a child but with a young adult who now has views and opinions of his own. The earlier ways have to be discarded. I have always seen that anything put across as a mere suggestion has a greater probability of being accepted as compared to a direction.
So while the feeling cannot be doubted or questioned the modus Operandi
of expressing that feeling can be and should be.
What needs to be remembered is as to what is important—the message which aims to benefit the young man or the show of authority. My experience tells me it has to be the former and can never be both. But I also understand that for the father who has always viewed the son as a child, this could be difficult.
This is where the spotlight turns on to the woman. While I firmly believe that the woman should stay out of most of such things sometimes, she cannot. If the father and son can resolve things/ conflicts on their own, they would not need her, but more often than not, they cannot do that. The result is that the woman gets involved which involvement may not be an easy one. The mother and the wife will find it almost impossible to keep her wits about her, but there is no choice. She has to face the situation.
The woman who is crucial to both gets caught in between. For her, too, the situation presents a dilemma, but she has to be objective and calm when the clashes happen and not let them affect her. She cannot afford to take sides or seen to be doing that. At all times, she has to ensure that her emotions do not get the better of her.
So what does she do? How does she deal with this? How does she strike a balance?
To my mind, this is one of the most challenging roles a woman may have to play in her life. The underlying need is the peace and harmony of the house, the future of the family.
The woman wants all of that. She wants the two men who are so dear to her to get along and not cause stress to each other. While the men also want the same but they may want it in their own ways which may not be acceptable to each other.
Their taking of a stand on an issue may be difficult for the woman to handle.
The issue is not important here. It is what the problem can lead to.
The thing is that both will be correct from their perspectives but will refuse to see the other one’s view and the woman will have to struggle to make them do that.
I feel is that it is critical for the woman to first diffuse the situation. She has to patiently listen to both sides while making it clear that they both will have to adopt a reasonable attitude and be prepared to accept the other person’s point of view. They will have to let go of their egos and be ready to resolve the issue. She will have to assess the situation and come to a conclusion impartially. The assessment has to be objective and rational. Once she arrives at her evaluation, she has to convey it, but before doing that, she has to get the two to the table. She has to be like a judge who in this case, cannot pass judgement but can only express her opinion.
The woman will need to be tactful, patient and keep her presence of mind about her. At all times, she needs to remember that she holds the key to this door. While it may take time but she is the only one who can diffuse the situation. The situation may take time to get resolved, but she has to believe that it will get fixed eventually. She has to be bold and have the courage of conviction, to be able to get past this transitory phase.
The two men may be strong, but she has to be stronger.