It is a truth universally acknowledged that we never know the love of a parent till we become parents ourselves. May be its actual but observing your parents as a child is very different. 1.324 billion people and billions of view point. This is my story. I have perceived my parents for over 20 years now , from the time of my birth I have always been loved and taken care of still I was never close with my parents may be that is why we never had a strong parent child relationship. They never understood me neither I understood them which lead to no corporation. I just wanted them to be more involved in my life. Family affectation was missing in my life so I looked for a family outside and called my best friend my choti Ma. That dint work out very well.
The distance between my parents increased and I got more close with my friends. This problem got more troublesome when I was growing up I blamed my parents for all the mishappening in my life. Expectations were from both the sides but none were fulfilled according to us. I had a myth that if my parents give me everything I wanted then only they loved me. All this led to fights. My parents yelled at me I stared spending more time with my friends. I lost track of studies and got bad marks. My parents never understood my problem. Consider a plant that looks droopy, do you yell at it to straighten up and grow right or do you figure out what it needs. I want my parents could listen to me more and have a conversation about my life rather than their work. I hope things are different in the future”
The above passage has been written by a second year college student. As a psychologist I find this passage full of insights and lessons for all the parents of the 21st century.
During my counselling sessions I often come across this statement by parents: “we give her everything she asks for, we have not let there be any lack of anything in her life, yet she behaves this way.” I ask a question immediately after this statement, “I appreciate all the money you are spending on her, but how much time are you spending with her.” The answer to this question is usually filled with explanations as to how busy their lives are and how hard they are working to earn etc. To conclude, the answer is very little to none. Some fathers see their children only on Sundays, as by the time they return from work the children have slept, and when they wake up the children have already left for school. The surprising part is that they consider these Sunday interactions enough.
Then there is the tendency to compare, ‘our parents did not do even half as much for us.’ Most of the parents to today’s youngsters grew up in an environment of scarcity, it was a time when material well being was considered the ultimate well-being, and this belief is still popular in our current society. The fact that our younger generation is challenging this belief system is, in my opinion, a positive development. The problem however, is that they rebel by their behaviour rather than communicating it verbally. Since needs and emotions are not expressed by either of the parties, and anger and misbehaviour is chosen to cover up the wounds created by unmet needs, we have unhappy prosperous families!
When asked for a solution I answer in two words: time and communication. There is no doubt that both the parties care for each other, and are working in each others’ best interest, there is however, a lack of understanding as to what the other person actually needs. I’ll summarise the answer to this in one word: love, and most importantly the display of it. As Shakespeare puts it, “they do not love that do not show their love.” Do not assume that your child already knows that you love him; he needs to be shown that.
How you can show love is by spending time with them, listening to their problems, entering into their world. I would like to take a pause to inform all parents that your child’s world is very different from yours. Their problems might seems trivial to you, but they are very huge for them, do not brush them aside. Also it’s not wise to treat your children the way you were treated in your childhood. How did you feel when you were treated that way? Would you want to be the same parent that your parent was? Since you love them you will not put them through the same difficulties that you went through when you were a child.
As a word of caution I would like to clarify that loving is not the same as pampering. To love is also to discipline, but with kindness and gentleness. The agenda of a punishment should be to teach the child, not to make her suffer for the mistake.
I would like to mention that I do empathise with the parents. The world has changed so drastically that it is difficult for you to cope with it. What you knew as right parenting all along is suddenly being told to you to be the wrong way. I understand that it is very confusing. I therefore recommend all parents and families to seek help from a professional when things get too overwhelming. When help is available it is not smart to not avail it. Our psychologist in RMCC deal with these issues on a daily basis, and families are much happier when they walk out of our centre as compared to how they had entered.
Finally, when the challenge is greater then so is the reward! When your child will have crossed her teens and will step into adulthood, you will one day be proud to look at her and know that you are the person who made her what she is.
– Anugrah Edmonds, Counseling Psychologist.