The lack of affection in Pakistani households is becoming problematic by the day. From a very early age, a child is exposed to such a setting where there is a minimum expression of a feeling that should come so naturally in such bonds – love. While there is a lot of emphasis on the importance of the familial bonds, there is barely any expression of it. This is not just limited to the bond between the parent and the child but also between the parents themselves.
Let’s first examine the bond between the couple. In Pakistani households, a child is brought up with the idea that the ultimate goal of his/her life is to settle down. So a lot of individuals look forward to that part of their lives because that will be the time that they will get a life partner – keeping in mind that not everyone in the population has space to date, anyone.
The conservative, anti-affectionate setting of Pakistani society is such that there is no space for a couple to display affection for each other
The man is expected to show his control over the wife, in which affection certainly does not fall in, whereas, the wife is expected to be the one who perfectly complies with his demands. And even if she does, the affection should just be limited to their bedroom. The idea that a couple can show affection for each other is looked down upon so much that people will call out others who try to express any emotion for their spouse.
Here’s a scenario to make it clear. A husband is going out of the country for an official visit. His family is there with him at the airport to see him off. Everyone is emotional because they are going to miss him and everyone gets to show that emotion except for his wife. Everyone will be alright with anyone in the family hugging or kissing him goodbye but not his own wife.
The lack of affection shown by couples has a very adverse effect on their children not becoming accustomed to, or sometimes not even being accepting of when they grow up, physical affection being displayed
The same treatment continues even after they have kids. The kids are exposed to such a setting where their parents are completely comfortable with expressing anger at each other and fighting with each other in front of the kids but not show any affection for each other.
This limits the kid’s understanding of the relationship of the parents to be strictly business and fights when there is a breach of understanding. Many even grow up to emulate the same setting because this is all that they have been exposed to.
20 years old Ifra lives in Lahore and belongs to a conservative family. There is no concept of affection between the parents. “They play their part as parents but we have never witnessed any emotion they have for each other. We have certainly seen them fight on multiple occasions. When these instances are not balanced with moments of affection, it is bound to scare a child. No one wants to lose their parents and the first thing that comes to mind when they fight is a divorce. We have all heard stories of an evil stepmom and that scares me more than anything. So whenever they fight, I pray to God that the matter is settled.”
Similar is the relationship between a child and his/her parents. There is a lack of expression of affection. Kids are constantly schooled about the right way of doing things but the absence of hugs and kisses and cuddles creates a huge gap between them and their parents. Fathers generally do not express their emotions because of the kind of role they are supposed to play and the constant nagging by family members to not even pick up your child because that’s the mother’s job. Mothers tend to carry on the tradition of the lack of emotionality because mostly they do not have the space to set new precedents.
The expectation in such parents-kids relationship is that the kids develop feelings of love despite the lack of emotionality in the household
Desi parents won't hug or kiss each other in the presence of their children but wouldn't think twice before having a serious fight very likely to scar their children for the rest of their lives
— Kiran (@TheOneWithCats) July 11, 2018
16-year-old Misbah says, “My parents have never told me that they love me. There are no hugs and kisses. We are expected to act like adults and somehow develop feelings of pure love for this relationship”.
However, what the parents do not realize is that all the precedents they are setting oppose the idea of love and rather push only and only for a rationality based on the ideals of the society. This is exactly what kids take away from these homes – they inherit this absence of expression.
While many may also argue that not every child inherits the same characteristics and it varies from setting to setting but a vast majority of the Pakistani society is inclined towards carrying forward the same ideals and principles, which is why not many can escape this reality. So let’s start setting the right precedents. People should not be alright with fights and violence over the display of affection.
cover image via inextlive.com