Parents who are unable to self-regulation, for example, prone to showing anger or deep sadness, are unknowingly teaching the child about acceptable forms of behavior. Excessive emotions are normalized in the child’s mind due to which they may adopt uncontrolled forms of behavior, making it difficult for them to adapt to the society.
In a classic case of role reversal, the child is forced to adopt the role of parent at an early age due to the sharing of feelings and responsibilities by the parent. These situations lead them to become problem solvers, negotiators and caregivers. Because of their people-pleasing attitude and repression of their own needs, they often find themselves in abusive situations as adults.
‘Sharmaji’s son’ is a common phenomenon in Indian society. We have all seen instances where parents constantly compare their child to someone else. This could be a brother, cousin, neighbor or classmate. Self-doubt and resentment are common among such children, as they are never made to feel worthy.
When parents cross boundaries and spy on their children, great trust issues arise. Checking a child’s mobile phone, reading their diary and revealing secrets are examples of serious breach of trust. These children either grow up to be rebellious or may even become victims of bullying later in life.
Challenging situations parents face: non-toxic ways to deal with it
Often when parents are faced with unhealthy behavior, they overreact. Many times when children try to tell their parents about their problem, they may not be taken seriously. Judging, punishing and ‘I told you so’ behavior only pushes children away. Parents should create a safe space for children and listen without judgment. When parents are calm and empathetic, it helps children communicate with little hesitation. Share a set of rules and consequences while helping children understand unacceptable behaviors while maintaining trust.
Mobile addiction has become a common thing in this digital age. Obviously parents are concerned about its effects. However, resorting to intimidation and punishment will not be of much use. Parents are advised to have a consistent approach towards discipline. Children often become addicted to gadgets when they want to forget about the world around them. If a child is going through significant changes or difficult experiences, connect and help them deal with the situation.
Children need love, protection and guidance to grow into healthy adults. Common toxic behaviors associated with working parents include a lack of connection with their children, a lack of temperament and affection. Parents should invest quality time to build a meaningful relationship with their children. Encourage children to communicate and share their feelings. Consistent display of affection while disciplining by setting boundaries helps children understand expectations and feel loved at the same time.
Parenting can be a difficult task. There is no Bible or complete manual or training course that can make parents perfect. Being aware, compassionate, trustworthy and consistent are qualities that parents must imbibe in order to ensure a healthy childhood for their children.