Sunday, March 17, 2019

Don’t rob your children off their right to love you!

Yesterday had a talk with one of my patients, who had brought her teenage son of 15 years for some behavioral problems. Upon questioning, the problem as often seemed to have connection to the upbringing in the previous years of his childhood.

There started the thought process about which I am writing today. As it is related to our children, certainly it’s going to have far-fetched implication in tomorrow’s world. Quite an important issue actually. Even though I will refrain from narrating the above instance as it is, on a general note, I feel, today there is problem not in the feeling of love between the housemates but it’s the expression of love that needs to be thought about. Especially when it comes to the bond between parents and their children or a child, there are certain aspects that one needs to look into—

1) We must know that pampering and material association of pampering have no relation. New age has sadly diluted the meaning of pampering to a new low. Of course, that does not mean not to gift them or present them with goodies but it means creating a firm thought in their minds not to associate gifting with love! The child, who grows up believing only in costly gifts from parents, in later years, associates not-gifting with lack of love, which is very dangerous.

Only pure love from parents can create an understanding in the minds of these young people that whatever my parents do is in the best of my interest. There is no equal to this kind of faith in the child’s mind about his or her parents. And the journey of creating this faith starts during the toddler years of the child.

2) Importance of physical affection – One of the most profound sentences by one of the leading masters in the field of adolescent problems, Carl Pickhardt, is, “Lack of hugs and cuddles during the growing years and even in the adolescent years is like letting go of a powerful non-verbal intimacy between the parents and their children.” In typical eastern societies, such show of affection even within the home is considered inappropriate at times. And truly it is one of the most important factors for ill-shaping your child’s mental and emotional quotient. It is a myth that if the child is refrained from showing emotional affection to his or her parents (especially counter-gender), he or she will have lesser sexual fantasies. The study shows exactly opposite results. The study says, if a teenage boy naturally loves to hug his mom or a daughter loves to hug her dad, they have lesser complications in their later years with their life partners. The reason is simple- They are loved and are taught to love gently!

And this journey of having natural, loving hugs and cuddles with your child begins in his or her childhood. Many times, mothers complain that their growing son no longer likes to come near her or avoids the hugs. The study concludes it differently. Even if we agree that certain traits are carried since birth, loving gently is a trait one can acquire from his or her parents through the growing years. More the parents spend quality time with their kids, understand when to move away from them (in public settings), when they actually need to be cuddled and patted, how to take care of their needs without letting them overtly pampered, and when & how to discipline them.

3) So here’s the third important point that the parents must discipline their children. We as parents must understand this simple fact that disciplining does not mean not-loving them; rather it means loving them wholeheartedly. Every man or woman who grows up under optimally disciplined parents lauds his or her parents for not letting them go astray in the later years of their life. But the word optimal is very important. It implies the right way to discipline, following what we teach, keeping all the communication channels always open and rooting a firm thought in their minds – “I am with you, come what may!”

4) Backing the expression of love by loving words – Almost all men or women who love unselfishly, at some point of time in their life are loved unselfishly by their parents. Cultivating the natural flair towards being sensitive to others starts in the childhood. We as parents define our roles as parents especially when we are bogged down by our day to day routines. These are the times when the child actually learns how to cope with stress and still be loving. There is certainly no harm in shouting at times but that shouting should be backed by the explanation and love. Shouting to take out our frustration is a big no!

There are many such small things we as parents can imbibe in ourselves first and then in our kids, only to have a great society later. Most kids that go the wrong way in their adult life have its seeds sown in their growing up years. We as parents cannot shrug off our responsibility and blame today’s bombardment of outside influences on the kids as the sole reason for the wrong path.

The change begins at home first. We should remember that the marks, grades, degrees etc may not matter in the after years but a loving gaze, a pat, a hug and a sensible grown up man or a woman does make a big difference to the society at large! And the one who is happy is successful. Period.