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It was a pleasant month of December. Breeze and windy day. I was relaxing as I took a short break from my work. I didn’t opt for tea but I walked to the window stood for some while enjoying the weather and boosting my energy back as I had an appointment with some parents in another 10 minutes.
As I was expecting; the middle-aged parents entered my cabin. Mother was looking furious and father was looking nervous; reverse of what we usually see. I asked them to take their seats.
They were parents of 15 years old girl. And were referred by the school coordinator. The girl had come along too. she was standing and her parents were seated.
It was silence in the entire room. I broke the silence and started conversing with the girl. She seemed to be very scared and stressed.
I made her calm and relax by assuring her that she can be herself here. She need not worry about anything and she can talk to me freely.
Before she could say a word; her mother interrupted, saying “don’t you dare start showing your tantrums here; I am fed up with you and your drama. Because of you see we have to come here.”
I was observing the mother and her tone and how that girl felt. She muted herself after her mother warned her. I started now talking to parents.
Looking at the father, I asked what the issues were addressed by the school coordinator and what they had to say; before that I made the girl go to the activity room and read.
While instructing the girl what she can do in the activity room; I was again interrupted by the mother. This time she ordered the girl to sit quietly and read some books or just do nothing and warned her if she didn’t listen and started moving around then she will be punished.
I was startled by seeing how this lady was only warning her child again and again. I then sent the girl to another room and looked back to the father. And the father was about to say; but as expected the mother stopped him and she started answering my questions.
She started with a very stern voice. Complaining about her daughter. I was shocked when she never took her name but always mentioned her as a trouble giver.
It broke my heart the way she was treating her daughter. She was continuously talking. She said right from wrong age she has always disciplined her daughter. She was never allowed to play with other kids in the apartment nor was she allowed to play with toys.
She felt all this was waste of time for children. According to her, they should utilize this time in reading books, watching documentary films, should learn etiquettes, should learn the keyboard and they should start learning how to take care of themselves.
I was startled again by her thinking and how she is been bringing her daughter up. She was sounding very strict and she herself mentioned very proudly that she is a very strict mother.
She cannot tolerate it if her daughter missed to obey her. She also mentioned that the father is a very soft person and he doesn’t know how to be strict with children so she often runs to her father to escape but she never lets the daughter do as she wishes.
The mother said on enquiring they have another child; son, he is 10 years old. She then added proudly that she never compares her children and treats them equally. So I was wondering same strict parenting with both kids.
She continued about her parenting; she never takes kids for any family functions or gathering as she believes they misbehave when they meet their relatives especially the grandparents. She also never allows them to go to their friend’s birthday party.
Finally, I interrupted the mother and reminded her what my questions were to which she reacted, “oh! Yes, the complains.” Then she started saying that the girl is not at all listening to teachers in school.
She never participated in any activities, nor she makes friends. She also never completes her notes as she always is distracted in class. She avoids to seat in a group and prefers to sit alone in class. She gets angry if any of the classmates approach her for any kind of help.
She cries suddenly and trembles in the middle of class without any reason. She has also stopped eating well. She hardly comes out of her room when at home. And now recently she has been aggressive, she also hit her younger brother at home and her classmate in school.
When asked the reason she screamed and ran to her room. The mother then added, she was punished for this, she was not given her dinner for the day and was asked to eat only raw salad for the next whole day.
I paused the mother and asked her, she did that to her daughter who is just 15 years old. A teen, who must be going through so much. She must be feeling stressed and traumatized. She must be feeling as if she been jailed and has no freedom in her life.
I told the mother that her concern about disciplining her children is good but to an extent. She is overruling them and has been a very strict mother. The child is no more able to take this and off late she has started showing it out.
It’s coming out in one way or the other. I continued, children need love, care, affection, and trust from parents. It is very good to make them learn how to behave and to be well-disciplined but not always.
Being strict parents will only make them aggressive because they feel being controlled always and they feel they have no one to understand them, they feel they have to always listen and never ever allowed to feel free to express their feeling and thoughts.
Children should be given that freedom where they can at least express themselves freely to their parents. Parents should always have open arms to receive their children anytime when they approach.
I then looked at the father and spoke to him, asking him to at least support their children. I requested him not give deaf ears to their children.
If one parent is being strict then the other should show love and care to the children. If both of them behave like this, where will the kids go?
I then looked at the mother as told her about her thinking, I told her, that her thoughts are very wrong. Children should meet other people and learn to socialize too. Children should be taken out constantly.
They will feel happy. They will know about the world and environment around them which is very essential. She should be strict but not so much that makes her to away her children’s freedom to live life happily.
Mother seemed to have realized her mistake as, I could see tears rolling down her cheek, but she never mentioned it in that session. I told them to take the daughter and they can go. I requested them to start changing their behavior towards the children and see the difference.
The child doesn’t need any kind of session, she only needs care and love from her parents. I also asked them to meet me after 15 days. The follow-up session was a big surprise for me. Mother has changed her behavior completely and they were seeing differences in the daughter too.
I wish just them other parents also understand their parenting and try to be really good and loving and caring parents.
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