Gender bias exists. It is very much a truth. However, it is imperative that
this should not disturb the harmony of a family. Men and women have
certain distinct traits, characteristic reactions, differences in thoughts and
actions. It is important for a couple to recognise these differences, work
towards a compromise and to weave their disparate schools of thoughts
into a single, synchronised fabric of a balanced family life.
Men and women are brought up with different ways of thinking. This
becomes obvious within all their interactions, and is, in fact, essential for
their conjugal life. As a concept, this is very healthy, as it keeps the sense
of vitality, logic and balance alive in their judgements and responsibilities.
However, if the balance starts shifting to either side, and instead of being
complementary, it turns confrontational, it will also begin to affect the child
adversely. Petty quarrels between spouses are not a matter of grave concern.
In fact, they add value. Small arguments are inevitable in a relationship;
they help in clearing the air, making your views known to your spouse, and
keeping your mind fresh and uncluttered. As the problems come, so, too, do
the solutions. However, when these arguments become personal, and start
being used as tools for vengeance and bitter insults, rather than opportunities
to find solutions, then you begin to cross a dangerous line.
For a Husband
In the Indian set-up, when a woman marries her husband and comes to
live in his family’s house, she initially gets exposed to a “convention-shock”.
The social and family structure in her new settings might be completely
different from the environment that she has been raised in, and her inability
to come to terms with this new milieu, gives rise to this convention-shock.
Here, it is important for the husband to play a responsible and patient role to
resolve the conflicts and help her adjust in this entirely new, and somewhat
alien, world. However, without offering any help in these difficult times,
if the husband expects his wife to reconcile immediately the differences
between her two separate worlds, it will lead to a degradation of their
relationship and result in creating a chaotic family environment.
It may be generally true that often husbands still regard their wives as
incompetent and intellectually inferior, and the latter’s suggestions are often
seen as irrelevant and thus ignored. It is in such prejudiced atmospheres
that arguments scale up to extreme forms of violence e.g. domestic violence
which merits criminal action against the guilty. Children, rarely having a say
in these matters, end up as innocent victims of this adult apathy.
A family requires a head with a flexible personality, and this role
traditionally belongs to a father, especially in the Asian family set-up. To
be fair, men often have to encounter a different set of problems from their
female counterparts, be it financial or otherwise. This does upset their
composure, putting them under a lot of strain, and thereby often making
them sacrifice psychological needs of greater significance. Again, this
eventually establishes a permanent friction in their family life, emerging as
it usually does even from petty differences. These problems get accentuated
and assume alarming proportion over a period of time; gradually, leaving a
profound impact on the offspring—a setback that remains throughout the
Husband’s inflated egos, which keep them from losing ground, or
expressing their vulnerabilities to their family, make them look out for a
different set of people to vent their emotions on to satisfy their own needs.
This new company of friends acts as a barrier to greater intimacy with the
family, and again distances them from their children. This new, parallel life
may not be accepted by your children, who require emotional closeness with
their father to develop their own self-esteem and balanced perspectives.
It is natural and human for people to be a little rigid in their thoughts
and perceptions. However, an excessive amount of this rigidity turns you
into an authoritarian person, who cannot tolerate changes and will go to
extreme lengths to prevent his viewpoint from being challenged. For most
men, flexibility, sadly, means playing second fiddle to their wives, which
is perceived as emasculating and demeaning. This bloated male ego is
frequently a factor in situations and eventualities which end up ruining the
atmosphere of a family.
8Watching these ego-clashes and often one-sided arguments has a huge
subconscious effect on children and leaves them helpless in their search
for a resolution to the overbearing problems. The vulnerable child is now
exposed to the risk of developing negative and confused views towards
life—a direct consequence of his parents’ conflicting tenets of life.
In patriarchal families, the male is the unquestionable head, with
women being pushed to a weaker and inferior position. The father develops
the habit of taking out all his angst and frustrations, built up inside him
due to everyday anxieties, on his family. The stern tone of authority in his
voice is ostensibly to create an aura of fear around him, and establish his
dominance over the other members of the family. In such families, wives,
annoyed by their husbands’ inexorable and forceful nature, frequently
begin sharing their misgivings with their increasingly fearful and oppressed
children. Thus, the victims of the father’s authoritarian traits create their own
closed group, suitably cutting off the father from it. The father, unable to
comprehend this anomaly, ends up becoming even more frustrated, and the
difference between the spouses continues to grow day by day, adding fuel to
the fire. Ultimately, it is the fathers who become the sole sufferers of their
own inflexibilities, often leaving their desperate family behind.
For a wife
Through centuries of oppression and subjugation of women, there
has been an attempt to subconsciously implant in the mind of women their
physical and intellectual inferiority with respect to men. However, times
have changed very rapidly, undoing a lot of the evil of the past centuries.
In the modern age, an overwhelming majority of the female mindset has
undergone a radical change, leading to an era of woman’s independence and
empowerment. Today, it is imperative for women to realise the importance
of this intellectual liberty, and the pitfalls of falling into the age-old traps of
male domination, which only serves to show women’s inadequacies. Falling
prey to this trap further devalues your existence and worth in your husband’s
eyes. This has to be avoided at all costs. Women mature earlier than men,
and become even more dignified after marriage. As a woman, it is your
right and, in fact, your responsibility to stand up for equality in terms of
respect, opinions and values in your family. Your child especially wants and
needs to see you as a free-thinking, independent individual. It strengthens
his level of confidence and re-establishes his faith in the whole system of
the family. However, as with everything in life, even the opposite extreme
can be harmful. You have to be extremely cautious not to misuse this liberty.
Your independence will always give you ample opportunities to exploit such
situations to your benefit, by dealing with your child’s problems without your
husband’s interference. However, be warned, this will have an extremely
polarising effect on your family, and is as much an evil as is subservience.
It is essential that both parents have an equal say in matters relating to the
family, especially your children. You should discuss these issues with your
spouse in a calm and dispassionate way and any decision you take should
be finally based on the consensus of both parents. Remember, equality is for
A female’s most common trait is to be nagging. She nags out of anxiety.
She easily gets depressed. After childbirth, she becomes more concerned
about her child than her husband. Husbands, generally, are unaware of
this sensitive issue and may take it as a personal insult. Express it with a
good grace. Babbling often creates a vacuum or brings a storm between the
A large number of wives’ woes relate to their husbands’ indifferent
attitude towards them due to their opacity.
When you discover the reason of his being not transparent you will
be able to break the ice between the two of you. You will be a successful
and happy partner if you equate/identify some of your husband’s childlike
characteristics wisely… A husband’s tantrum should not be taken so
seriously. Unfortunately, wives take it like a prestige-issue and become
intolerant. Husband and wife start insulting and ignoring each other which
may take a grim turn.